For a lot of people, a good mountain bike adventure involves road-tripping to a world-class destination like Sedona or Moab or sending lap after lap at a bike park with professionally-built jump lines and flow tracks. And while I love these types of trips too, I also love getting off the beaten path and exploring fringe singletrack (admittedly some are better than others…). The Good Water Rim Trail in Utah, thankfully, happened to be an awesome fringe ride.
Located in Central Utah off of I-70, the Good Water canyon is shaped like a sad Christmas tree and overlooks a small section of the San Rafael Swell. It’s also known as “The Wedge” because the canyon literally looks like a wedge taken out of the Swell. Aside from the views, which I’m sure you can imagine are pretty awesome, there’s a 14-mile singletrack trail that traces the edge. This is the Good Water Rim Trail.
We rode it as a 22-mile loop and it was super fun and one that I highly recommend to every mountain biker who is traveling through Utah. Read on to learn more!
Looking for a unique off-the-beaten-path mountain bike ride? Check out the Good Water Rim Trail in Utah. In this post I cover everything you need to know before heading out to “The Wedge”.
Please note, this area is remote and very sensitive. Pack out all of your trash, camp only in designated sites, and tread as lightly as possible. Thank you!
Where Is Good Water Rim?
Good Water Rim is located in central Utah off of highway 70. The closest town and amenities is Castle Dale where you can grab groceries, gas, and water (there’s also a cool Museum of the San Rafael Swell). From Castle Dale, it’s about 20 miles (30-40 minutes) southeast to the Rim.
The roads are gravel and well-maintained. They’re also well-marked, but it’s a good idea to follow GPS because there are several turn-offs.
Best time to visit the Good Water Rim
We visited the Good Water Rim in March and it was perfect. The day temperatures were in the low 60’s and the night temps were chilly but manageable (we did sleep in our van, so car camping might have been a different story). The Good Water Rim can be visited year-round (always check weather and forecast – it does snow in the winter), but if you want to mountain bike, I’d recommend sticking to the shoulder seasons of March-May and September-October when the temps are warm, but not too hot.
Things To Know Before Mountain Biking The Good Water Rim Trail
There is quite a bit of exposure in some places
Since the Good Water Rim Trail runs along the canyon rim, there is definitely exposure in some places and it would not be good if you went over the edge. There’s no danger if you stay on the trail, but watch your step if you go off for pictures (or selfies).
There is no water on the trail
There is no water source along the trail. Bring all the water you need with you (including camping – see Other Details below)
There are options to shorten your ride
The entire Good Water Rim Trail stretches for about 14-miles along the canyon rim, but there are plenty of places to cut your ride short and do shorter loops if you’re not up for the full 22-mile ride. If you do only choose to do a portion of the Good Water Rim Trail, I recommend sticking to the west side where the views are more impressive.
This is a remote and sensitive area
Please do your part to Leave No Trace by packing out ALL of your trash, camping in only designated areas, using the pit toilets, and treading as lightly as possible.
Tips For Riding The Good Water Rim Trail
Where to start
We rode the Good Water Rim Trail clockwise from the East Trailhead to the West Trailhead. If you plan on doing a loop, I highly recommend riding it this way so you avoid a long, steep road climb at the end. You’ll still have a gravel road pedal for the last few miles going clockwise, but it’s fast-rolling and goes by rather quickly.
I also like riding from East to West because the scenery gets better the farther West you go until you end at the Little Grand Canyon Overlook, which is a great place for lunch!
What to expect
The Good Water Rim Trail is actually quite flat and rolling. There is only about 1,400 ft of climbing for the whole 22-mile loop, which isn’t bad at all! As for tech, there’s not a whole lot of that either. Instead, expect huge views, scenic cross-country pedaling, and an excellent way to spend a few hours in a beautiful place.
If starting on the East Side, follow the road all the way to the end. The trail entrance starts to the left of the restrooms. The first half of the Good Water Rim Trail has a slight downward trend, so it’s fast-rolling and goes by quickly (depending on how many times you stop for photos!). At the mid-point (the top of the sad Christmas tree), you’ll see another bathroom and the trail continues on past it for the second half of the rim.
The second half is slightly uphill (but not at all steep) and I found it a bit more rocky and chunky than the other side. The last stretch to the Little Grand Canyon Overlook is stunning! If you only want to do part of the Good Water Rim Trail, I recommend doing the West half since the views are better.
Good Water Rim Camping
There is amazing dispersed camping all around the Good Water Rim. We camped near the East Trailhead, which is a bit quieter and less developed than the West Trailhead. But there are campsites all along the access roads as well. Please only camp in developed campsites that have a fire ring and doubletrack access.
Surprisingly, there was amazing cell service for both AT&T and Verizon all along the Good Water Rim.
There are pit toilets at both the West Trailhead and the East Trailhead as well as one in the middle at Campsite #5.
I hope this post inspires you to go ride the Good Water Rim Trail! It is a beautiful area and a unique mountain bike experience. Have you ridden the Good Water Rim? What did think? Leave a comment below!