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Road Bike Riding - Moab

Road Bike Riding - Moab

Get the Skinny

Skinny tire riders have great options in the Moab area. Make sure you have money or your pass and ID for park entrance fees. Carry plenty of water and food. Watch the weather. It could be sunny in Arches and rainy in the La Sals.

These ride suggestions are also good for e-bikes. E-bikes can now ride the paved bike paths.

Ride the Path

Riding the paved path to Arches, or to Utah Hwy 313 and on to Dead Horse Point or Canyonlands, is a beautiful ride and keeps you off the road. The path is a great spin and ride in itself.

The only location where the path crosses traffic is at the entrance road to Arches National Park. Bikes should be prepared to stop and yield to traffic.
The Moab Canyon Pathway begins in town at 500 West, or park and start at Lions Park, at the junction of US Hwy 191 and Utah Scenic Byway 128. The park has ample vehicle parking, restrooms on both sides of the highway, and a picnic pavilion. This is a great place to start your adventure.

Potash Road, Scenic Byway 279

This gorgeous 33.4-mile, round-trip ride meanders along the Colorado River and offers lots of amazing sights. The road is narrow with no real shoulder.
The hardest part of this ride is crossing the highway from the bike path. A much safer option is to drive and park at one of the info kiosks along the first few miles on the Potash Road.

Arches National Park

This is an out-and-back, 45-mile ride from town. The 18 miles of riding in Arches is mostly rolling terrain, and a steady workout in both directions. Water is available at the visitor center and Devils Garden Campground (except in the winter).

Bicyclists have their own way to enter the park from the bike path instead of having to wait in line for the entrance booth. A connector trail takes you directly to the visitor center patio from the bike path where you can pay your entrance fee at the classic metal box with envelopes (check or cash). If you have a park pass, no need to stop, but make sure to carry it with you in case you need to show it to a ranger.

This park is very popular and has lots of traffic. The road has very little shoulder, and drivers aren’t watching for cyclists, so be careful! Be comfortable hugging the white line. If possible, ride early spring or winter when traffic is lighter.

Arches has a timed-entry reservation system April 1-Oct. 31 (bicyclist do not need a reservation). This will spread out the amount of cars over the course of the day. Still, during the busy season, you may want to consider riding before 8am or after 4pm.

Dead Horse Point State Park

The ride to the visitor center in Dead Horse Point State Park is about 21 miles one way from the intersection of US Hwy 191 and Utah Hwy 313. The route begins the same as riding to Island in the Sky, but turn left about 14 miles into the ride (well signed). The ride has gradual climbing, is often windy, has no shade, but a nice wide shoulder the entire way.

You can also start this ride at any of the parking lots for Navajo Rocks, or Horsethief mountain bike trails.

The visitor center has some drinks, snacks, and restrooms.

Canyonlands National Park

The ride in Island in the Sky in Canyonlands begins at the Junction of US Hwy 191 and Utah Hwy 313 and is 70 miles round-trip to Grand View Point. Begin with a gradual climb and a nice set of switchbacks; then, it becomes more of a climb than you would think.

If headed to Grand View Point in Canyonlands, ride past the entrance gate across the open vistas before the road narrows and the shoulder lessens. If you don’t want to bite off the full 70-mile ride, drive to the visitor center in Canyonlands and pedal to Grand View Point and back (25 miles round-trip). The ride to Upheaval Dome is an additional ten miles and well worth it.

You can also start this ride at any of the parking lots for Navajo Rocks, or Horsethief mountain bike trails.

Water and snacks are available for purchase at the visitor center.

La Sal Mountain Loop

This 62-mile loop ride is challenging and remote, so depart early and be prepared. This tour has it all: beautiful red-rock canyon scenery and stunning alpine vistas. Most riders’ favorite direction is counterclockwise. Head out on Spanish Valley Dr. Continue straight at the turn for Ken’s Lake. From here you will start a long and demanding climb with commanding views.

A large part of this road was repaved recently and is really luscious to ride! It’s fairly new pavement from Oowah Lake (15.6 miles past Ken’s Lake) to the intersection with the Castle Valley Road.

After cruising along the top, you’ll descend into Castle Valley past its famous rock pinnacles and then drop down to the Colorado River. Take a left on Utah Scenic Byway 128 as it winds its way back to Moab. Make sure to hop on the bike path at Grandstaff Canyon.

If you don’t want to ride the entire loop, drive to the Castle Valley Road intersection and park (there are a few places safely off the road). Then, you will have a beautiful climb to the summit and a nice descent to return.

Cross/Gravel Bike Options

Cross bikes, or gravel bikes, are road bike-style frames but with beefier tires that have treads making riding gravel roads a nice option. These bikes are not designed to ride mountain bike trails.

Head up Kane Creek Road to Hurrah Pass for a 29-mile ride. The pass is 14.7 miles from town. The scenic Sand Flats Road (fee area) is a nice ride. You can ride for up to 18 miles (one way) uphill.

Another cool ride is the Mineral Bottom road to the Green River. From Utah Hwy 313 to the river is about 12 miles. This takes you 1,500ft down to the river so those switchbacks mean business to get back out. If you like to climb, this is a good one. No permit needed as long as you don’t ride into Canyonlands National Park.


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