Arches National Park
|In the Devils Garden|
Though biking in Arches is limited, the surrounding area, centered on Moab, is one of the most celebrated mountain-biking destinations in the world. The slickrock that forms the surface of the trails here is uniquely suited to mountain bikes. Its hard, abrasive surface is almost like pavement through the wilderness, and knobby ATB tires stick to it like glue. The riding is fast and fun. It also requires you to be a little fearless.
In the Park
In Arches, bicycles are permitted only on roads: There is no singletrack or trail riding within the park. Use caution when biking on the main road. Be sure to ride single file and stay to the edge of the lane. Most of the dirt roads here are sandy or washboarded; however, the Willow Springs road offers an enjoyable two to three hour ride.
You can also incorporate Willow Springs into a nice loop ride that includes the main park road. Start at the visitor center and travel south to Utah 191. Turn right for a short stretch on 191, then right again onto the Old Highway dirt road. Through a gate, Old Highway becomes Pipeline Road and begins traveling northeast. Turn right again when you reach Willow Springs and head east six miles to the main park road. Take that road south again to complete the loop. Total distance is about 26 miles and is for intermediate to advanced riders.
For more information on roads in the park, see scenic driving in Arches.
If the rides in the park haven't given you your fill, simply head over to the Moab area to find the most renowned mountain biking in America, a gorgeous playground of slickrock riding in an area that defines the Wild West.
The most popular trail is unquestionably the Slickrock Trail. Slickrock is a 10.3-mile loop trail, which generally takes a half day to complete. The trail starts on Sand Flat Road, 2.3 miles from the BLM Grand Resource Area Office. It possess a terrific combination of challenging riding and scenery. The practice loop (2.3 miles) offers an introduction to riding on slickrock. The trail is rated hardest.
Other bike trails in the area include:
Monitor/Merrimac - 13.2-mile easy loop that starts from the Moab visitor center at the north end of town. Drive north on US 191 for 14.8 miles. Turn left onto a dirt road that crosses the railroad track just before the railroad bridge. Follow the dirt road for 0.6 miles to an intersection, which is the starting point and ending point for this loop. The trail follows a jeep trail, wash bottom, and slickrock. It features close views of the Monitor and Merrimac buttes, Determination Towers, and the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail.
Kane Creek Canyon Rim/Pritchett Canyon - 20.3-mile point-to-point ride starting on Highway 191, 12.5 miles south of Moab. The trail follows a jeep road and leads to the scenic Behind the Rocks area, as well as several large natural arches. The start of the route is at a higher elevation than its ending point.
Gemini Bridges Trail - 13.5-mile point-to-point ride on a dirt road. The trail begins on Highway 313 at a point 0.9 miles west of the Mineral Bottom turnoff (12.6 miles west of the Utah 313/US 191 junction). The Gemini Bridges, a pair of natural rock spans, as well as colorful rock formations and the spectacular views of Behind the Rocks are the main attractions of this trail. Like the Kane Creek-Pritchett trail, the start of the route is at a higher elevation than its ending point.
Hurrah Pass Trail - 33 miles round-trip starting at the junction of Highway 191 and Kane Creek Boulevard in Moab. The ride is over paved road and graded dirt road and features views of the Colorado River, petroglyphs, and scenic canyons.
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication