The 8 Best Stand-Alone Bike Trails in Utah for Outdoor Adventurers – MAPPED!
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Utah is one of the best states in the US for biking. In fact, I voted it as the best state for mountain biking for its epic slickrock riding, incredibly varied terrain, and unrivaled trailside scenery. In addition to world-class mountain biking, Utah is also home to scenic bike paths and top-notch bikepacking routes, making it one of my favorite biking destinations, for sure. But what are these best Utah bike trails? In this post, I’ve rounded up a handful of what I consider destination trails that stand alone as amazing rides. Each of these trails is worth its own trip and you can plan a vacation around just these rides.
Of course, there is plenty of incredible riding around the state, so if you need more ideas and inspiration for putting together your trip, be sure to head over to the Utah destinations page for more posts about Utah biking.
Ready for some Utah riding? In this post, I cover 8 of the best Utah bike trails for every outdoor adventurer from scenic paved bike trails to full-day mountain bike epics. Pack your bags and get rolling!
Utah Bike Trails – Mapped
The 8 Best Utah Bike Trails
1. The Whole Enchilada
The Whole Enchilada is perhaps the most iconic Utah bike trail in all of the state. Hundreds – if not thousands – of mountain bikers flock to Moab every year to ride this 27-mile shuttled descent from the top of Burro Pass all the way down to the Green River – an almost 7,800ft plunge from top to bottom. TWE (as it’s commonly known) is a link-up of several trails including Burro Pass (a burly climb), Hazard Country, and Porcupine Rim. Along the way, there is a little bit of everything from high alpine meadows, amazing views, chunky descents, flowy slickrock sections, and some steep climbs to round out the experience.
Learn more: The Whole Enchilada, Moab
2. Wasatch Crest
The Wasatch Crest is a must-ride for any mountain biker living in or visiting the Salt Lake City area. Located in the Wasatch Mountain Range, the Wasatch Crest is usually ridden as a shuttled ride (although you can, technically, pedal up there if that’s your thing). It’s known for its incredible views, spring wildflowers, ridgetop riding, and flowy singletrack descents. Just be aware that it’s not all downhill. You do have to climb up Puke Hill.
There are a couple of ways to ride the Wasatch Crest depending on how big of a day you want, but I recommend the 22-mile Park City to Salt Lake City route that drops over 5,500ft from Guardsman Pass to Mill Creek Road. Alternatively, you can do a 10-mile route that goes from Guardsman Pass to Canyons Village and descends 3,500ft.
Book a shuttle: Big Rack Shuttle
3. The White Rim
The White Rim is, in my opinion, a must-ride for any cyclist. Whether you do it in a day, as an overnight bikepacking trip (like we did), or with a support vehicle to carry all your water and food, the White Rim is a one-of-a-kind Utah bike trail that should not be missed. The whole loop is about 100 miles with a total of 6,500 ft of climbing, making for very mellow and casual pedaling. The route is primarily on easily-navigated doubletrack with a short stretch on paved road. Along the White Rim trail, there are epic views of Canyonlands National Park (a big portion of the road is within the Park boundary), scenic campgrounds, and glimpses of wildlife like bighorn sheep, antelope, and kangaroo rats. It’s absolutely a must-ride!
Learn more: Bikepacking the White Rim Trail
4. Bears Ears Loops
Bears Ears are a set of two adjacent buttes in southeastern Utah that, together, look like a pair of bear’s ears standing upright. But these two buttes are much more than geological monuments. Bears Ears is a sacred place for Native Americans and has been an important cultural site for thousands of years. In 2016, Obama designated Bears Ears a National Monument to protect its cultural and archaeological sites that are sacred to Native Americans. In 2017, Trump reduced Bears Ears protected lands by 85%, a disgraceful act that is currently being litigated.
Politics aside, Bears Ears is an incredibly special place, and a network of bikepacking routes and trails has been developed in the area so that visitors can experience its beauty and history. There are two loops that cover 700-miles and they can be done independently or as a bigger ride. I haven’t done this bikepacking trip yet, but it is very high on my bike-it list.
COVID note: The Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition has requested that visitors do not visit Bears Ears during the pandemic to help protect Native and rural communities. Please respect their wishes and do not plan a bikepacking trip to Bears Ears until they have deemed it safe for visitors to return.
Learn more: Bikepacking Roots | Bears Ears Coalition
5. Provo River Parkway
The 15-mile (one-way) Provo River Parkway is a paved trail that winds its way through scenic parks and neighborhoods as it follows the Provo River in northern Utah. The path starts at Utah Lake State Park in the town of Provo and ends at Vivian Park in Provo Canyon where it passes the cascading Bridal Veil Falls. The Parkway is nearly flat the entire way, making it a great Utah bike trail to enjoy with friends or a 30-mile out-and-back spin on your road bike to catch the sunset.
Learn more: Provo River Parkway
6. Thunder Mountain
I haven’t yet had the pleasure of riding Thunder Mountain, but it’s very high on my bike-it list. The pictures look absolutely stunning! Andy has done this ride several times and vouches for its place on this list of best Utah bike trails. Thunder Mountain is located near Brain Head in southwestern Utah up at 7,000ft. The trail can be ridden as an 8-mile shuttled downhill or as a 14.5-mile loop via the Red Canyon paved bike path. Highlights of Thunder Mountain include beautiful pine forests, otherworldly red rock formations (think Bryce Canyon National Park), narrow canyons, and ridgeline singletrack.
Learn more: Thunder Mountain on TrailForks
7. Gooseberry Mesa
Gooseberry Mesa isn’t actually a Utah bike trail, but it is a super popular place for mountain bikers and one that should be on your bucket list. Located above Hurricane, Utah, Gooseberry is best known for its slickrock riding, mega exposure, and incredible views out over Zion National Park. There’s also great dispersed camping nearby and plenty of riding to keep you busy for a few days. My personal favorite route is this 11-mile Best of Gooseberry Mesa Loop. For more route options (including beginner-friendly ones) and other places to ride in the area, check out my complete guide to mountain biking in Hurricane below.
Learn more: A Complete Guide To The Best Mountain Biking In Hurricane, Utah
8. Good Water Rim (aka the Wedge)
Good Water Rim is a super scenic 15.5-mile cross-country trail that skirts the edge of the Little Grand Canyon of southern Utah with awesome views out over the San Rafael Swell and San Rafael River. The singletrack itself is pretty mellow with minimal tech and elevation gain or loss, but the views are epic, especially as you near the south side of the canyon. This area is quite remote and undeveloped (although cell service is stellar), but there are plenty of free campsites right on the edge of the rim. It’s also easy to make this ride a loop by pedaling back along the dirt roads. If done in full, the loop is about 23 miles with 1,200ft of climbing and I highly recommend it!
Learn more: Good Water Rim Trail Guide
What are your top picks for the best stand-alone Utah bike trails or routes? Which ones are destination rides that you would plan a trip around? Leave a comment below!
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