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I’ve been mountain biking for years and have ridden trails all over the country, but I have to say that the Good Water Rim Trail in Utah is one of the most memorable ones to date.
This unique trail is a 14-mile stretch of singletrack that parallels the contours of ‘The Wedge’ in the San Rafael Swell. While not overly technical or adrenaline-inducing, it’s a great trail for beginner, intermediate riders, or XC enthusiasts who enjoy a moderate amount of climbing and plenty of views to keep things interesting.
If you haven’t had a chance to check out this one-of-a-kind trail yet, here’s your guide on how to ride the Good Water Rim Trail (aka ‘the Wedge’) in Utah!
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 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 Good Water 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.
Good Water Rim Trail Map
What to Expect
There is quite a bit of exposure in some places along the trail. Since the Good Water Rim Trail runs along the canyon rim, there is definitely exposure and it would not be good if you went over the edge.
That being said, there is no danger if you stay on the trail, but watch your step if you go off for pictures (or selfies).
There is no water source anywhere along the trail. Bring all the water you need with you (including what you’ll need for camping – see Other Details below)
Multiple trail access (or bail) points
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.
A fragile environment
The Good Water Rim is a special place and a sensitive area. Please do your part to keep it healthy and clean by:
Good Water Rim Trail Packing List
Below are a few of my favorite pieces of mountain biking gear and recommendations for your Good Water Rim ride:
How to Ride The Good Water Rim Trail
The Good Water Rim Trail is 14 miles in length. You can choose to do sections of it as out-and-back rides, or there is a 22-mile loop, which is what I detail below.
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 in this direction 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!
>> Good Water Rim Loop
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.
Route directions: Good Water East Trailhead > Good Water Rim > Wedge Overlook Main Access Road > Good Water Rim Road East
Route notes: The elevation profile looks like there’s a lot of climbing, but it’s actually pretty mellow. There are also lots of places to cut your ride short if you need to bail.
Make it shorter: If you’re not up for the full 22-mile loop, there are plenty of options to make this ride shorter especially if you’re camping out at the Good Water Rim. If you want to maximize views, I recommend doing an out-and-back ride from The Wedge Overlook.
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.
Planning Tips & Resources
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.
Everything is first-come-first-serve and there are no facilities other than a few pit toilets.
Surprisingly, there was amazing cell service for both AT&T and Verizon all along the Good Water Rim.
If you work remotely and want to ride, this is a great place to base yourself for a few days.
Just remember that there are no services, so you’ll need to bring all the food and water you’ll need and pack out all of your trash (including TP!!!).
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 at ‘the Wedge’ in Utah.
It is a beautiful area and a unique mountain biking experience that you will not forget.
Have you ridden the Good Water Rim? What did think? Leave a comment below!