The 8 Best Mountain Biking Trails in Utah
Are you a mountain biking enthusiast? Then Utah is your answer. Once you visit Utah you will get a chance to ride through the majestic Canyons and famous slick rock while having a bird’s-eye-view of ancient desert floors. However, you need to know that this is just the beginning of Utah’s MTB landscape.
Adventure seekers are drawn to the state of Utah every year. The state has national parks, 45 state parks, over a thousand mountain biking trails that span close to 4,000 miles. When you travel to park city areas and Salt Lake City you get the best of both worlds.
You can mountain bike across the state with trails all over. Utah is home to Park City which is the world’s first International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) Gold Level cycling destination. As you head towards the Colorado border you will get to Moab in less than four hours from Salt Lake City. Moab has plenty of technical routes for the more experienced riders. What’s more sandstone and the copious red rock makes it feel like you are on Mars.
The mountain biking season in Utah is long depending on your tolerance towards the varying weather patterns and temperatures. The best time to visit is during fall and spring as the temperatures are moderate. During summer the high altitude areas including park city are a great reprieve from the desert heat.
1. Mid Mountain Trail Park City (IMBA Epic Ride)
Mid Mountain Trail Park City covers an area of 22 Miles traversing two grand ski areas and is found behind Park city. There are several options for shorter loops. Mid Mountain has some of the best riding tracks in Utah. A flowing single track will guide you through dense stands of pine and aspen trees. Once you are through the trees you go into meadows that are filled with wildflowers.
The greatest difficulty in the trail is for you reaching the main trail that is why it is known as Mid Mountain. Once you are on the trail, there are many short climbs and descents that have a few technical sections. This makes it an ideal ride for intermediate riders who want a spectacular experience. The views of Park City that is below will contribute to the thrill and the feeling of oxygen deficiency.
Many riders prefer to access Mid Mountain from Armstrong trail and link mid-mountain with several other trails to make loops in the 10-mile range. Armstrong is a good connector though it is uphill only. For the experienced riders, the thrill that comes with going uphill will sure get the heart pounding. Though challenging it is satisfying as one goes up enjoying the beautiful scenery of the park.
Another route that is recommended is one where you cruise across Deer Valley, passing through the silver park area as you descend down via the Deer Crest trail and ride the pavement as you return to Park City.
The Big Mountain Trail has some fresh upgrades and improvements for this summer. Riders will enjoy and appreciate the improved flow as they enjoy the new features. The views of the trail are Vertigo inducing and as you look down the sheer Canyon Slopes into the tiny ribbon of Highway 210 below.
2. Wasatch Crest Trail
Wasatch Crest Trail began its operations for mountain bikers back in 1992. It is found just outside of Salt Lake City and it divides the Salt Lake Valley and Park City. It makes for a spectacular all year playground for snowboarders, skiers, mountain bikers, and rock climbers. Visitors flock to the trail for stunning vistas, superb trails, and easy access to the city.
It is one famous resort that caters for riders all year round. Since its inception, the evolution of downhill mountain biking has provided endless diversion with more than 70 miles of trail. Additionally, it has three new flow trails that are designed by the whistler based gravity logic crew.
The Wasatch Trail is thin and encompasses a single track that sneaks through the mountain range. Lingering spring snowpack and early winter storms might complicate your plans. Most of them flow through alpine meadows and aspen glades through single tracks which are easy to navigate. The technical areas of the trail will not disappoint.
Riders have many options for riding the trail. The most popular for the riders is point to point from top of Guardsman. You pass through Wasatch Crest before you link with the trails in Millcreek Canyon. Other riders choose to climb the steep grade from Big cottonwood canyon in order to access the start of the Crest trail. Moreover, riders have to negotiate a climb known as “Puke hill” before they get to the main part of the crest. The suffering and the enthusiasm that one feels while negotiating the climb makes the ride even sweeter.
3. Captain Moab
Your trip to Moab would not be complete if you did not visit Captain Ahab. The trail (Captain Ahab) is found next Porcupine Rim Trail and is one of the most talked about trails in Moab. There are those who opine it is the jewel of the new Moab trail-building system.
However, it is important to note that it is one of the most technical trails having numerous drops and steep technical sections. Nonetheless, there are warnings along the route to help you navigate easily. Moreover, there are alternatives routes but do not mistake them for go-around.
There are secondary lines that will lead to bigger drops or sections that need trails-style bike hopping in order to clean. You need not be dissuaded from riding Captain Ahab because of the technicality of the route. The lower half of the trail drops into single track just above the Kane Creek. It has very good flow and very little on the way as you climb. The final stretch drops down a beautiful rock garden.
4. The Slickrock Trail
The Slickrock Trail is one of the loveliest trails that is located in Moab, Utah. There are seven different places you can ride all over the extensive park, and this makes sure that no one place is crowded with hikers and bikers.
The Trail has camping sites complete with restrooms, making it convenient and easy for you to stay for several days as you check out all the trails in the area. Additionally, there is boating and other things in the area in case you want to take some rest from biking. Having this kind of variety makes the park one of the best places to visit with family and friends.
The trails are nicely marked and have some technical rocky sections around the camping grounds. You can decide to visit the park offices for a map of the trails or you can print one out for yourself to have a clear idea of how the route looks like ahead of time.
Moreover, there are wooden bridges and maintenance roads, and a few technical steep areas. One thing to note is that some of the park’s trails are for hikers only and that rule has to be respected. It is one of the greatest places to start riding as long as you are in shape. The many creeks and lakes in the area make it enjoyable to ride.
However, you should ensure that your bike is tough enough to do rocks. Though the park has some steep parts, the majority of them are moderate but rocky. The landscape is full of trees and this means it is not easy to spot other riders especially during winter. Most of the trails are well marked though there are a few that are hard to follow.
There is a small fee that you have to pay before you can enter the Sand Flats Recreational Area where the trail starts. You will have to part with$ 5 for a vehicle and $ 2 per person for a shuttle or bike. When you are done for the day you should grab some grub at one of the many nearby restaurants. One of the most famous restaurants is the Trailhead Public House and Eatery.
5. The Bobsled
If you are a downhill lover and a free-rider you will enjoy the challenges and gravity defying berms of the Bobsled Trail. You access the trail via the Bonneville Shoreline Trail. If you a novice rider you will find the loose rocky descent into the meaty section of Bobsled very challenging. If you are not comfortable with rocks and loose gravel then you should probably skip this one.
There is a lot of climbing involved to reach the Bobsled from one of the most popular access points at Popperton Park. After the initial fun down the loose rocks, there are a couple of miles of incredibly bermed and banked turns. After the second turn you will realize why the trail is called Bobsled.
You should be aware that that the trail changes often and it can become damaged after storms with heavy runoff. Visiting the track you need to be open minded and have technical riding skills. You need not be surprised by the freeride maneuvers towards the bottom of the trail.
6. The Whole Enchilada
The whole Enchilada is a difficult mountain biking trail in Moab and it stretches over 34 miles. Depending on what time of the year it is, the trail starts in the La Sal Mountains and ends at the Colorado River. If you want to avoid snow and the wet trails you should start at the Miners Basin.
Technically, all of Enchilada is a complete loop that starts and ends in town. Nonetheless, it is important to remember that it requires over 34 miles of riding and this makes many of the bikers to use a shuttle. From Sandstone Canyon to Red Slickrock, a paved bike path, an alpine pass, you will get to enjoy every view and type of riding all on one trail.
You will want to have an easy access to your camera at al times because the views of the trail are something to behold. After you are done with the trail you will be tired and will need food, water, and most importantly rest. Luckily, Moab offers several food options including Vietnamese-inspired soups and sandwiches, Mexican Cuisine, Seafood and much more.
7. Gold Bar Rim
Gold Bar Rim did not attract much attention and it used to be a nameless renegade trail. However, after it was re-routed in spots it has been added to the networks of Moab Trails. It follows gold marks painted on the rocks.
One special thing about Gold Bar especially if you are coming from a trail like Ahab is that everything is ride-able. The constant technical ups and downs and routes through the different rock lines keep your attention high and there is an exposure that helps you to stay diligent. Moreover, it is a great place to take your less technical friends. They will enjoy the few technical challenges that the trail offers.
8. Wheeler Creek to Coldwater Overlook
The Wheeler Creek is just a few minutes from Ogden. The trail climbs steadily out of the valley where the main trail intersects with several possible trail variations. One of the popular routes branches off onto the Art Nord trailhead, becoming single track and joining the Maples Trail to guide you through the open meadows.
There is also a dense stand of aspen and oak that are beautiful no matter the season. However it is most bursting and beautiful with vibrant colors during fall. After a short distance the trail intersects with Snowbasin Resort trail system and others in the wheeler Creek drainage giving you options to extend your ride. If you are looking for flow, length, layout, and quality then Wheeler Creek is the place to be. For a perfect MTB trail then you should visit the site. Some of the trails at the site are bombers, some are tame, some have rock gnar, and some are butter smooth, which will offer a perfect MTB trip as you enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
Whether you are an expert or a beginner looking for one of a kind mountain biking trail Utah is the place to be. The courses here will test your mettle and most of the trails will sure surpass your wildest expectations. Grab your calendar and start planning for a visit immediately to some of the most Epic Mountain biking trails.