How to Bicycle on Utah's Back Roads

by Kelly Shetsky
Explore waterfalls and rock formations throughout Utah.

Explore waterfalls and rock formations throughout Utah.

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Utah is a gorgeous place to explore by bike. The back roads wind you through spectacular natural beauty. Huge rock formations, breathtaking canyons and hills define the journey. Riders are rewarded with a challenging trip that keeps them wanting more. It's a chance to enjoy beautiful places, warm dry air, the sunlight and natural grandeur. Once you bicycle on Utah's back roads, it's going to be difficult to find other trips that live up to it.

Step 1

Hire a touring company. They'll have scouted the best bicycle routes and can set you up with maps and lodging. Backroads is one such company.

Step 2

Choose a destination. Utah is home to exceptional scenery that makes cycling an adventure. Choices include Utah's Red-Rock Canyons and the National Parks. You can also do a combined trip, taking in both Utah and Arizona National Parks.

Step 3

Research the destinations before you leave. Bryce Canyon is a often dubbed the most colorful national park and Cedar Breaks National Monument is a well-known destination with jaw-dropping views. However, there are lesser-known red-rock gems that are just as impressive. Options include riding past rock formations, Navajo sandstone cliffs and Angels Landing. You can also take time to wade in the water at the inner gorge of the Virgin River, enjoying the small waterfalls. For one potential trip, start on the Navajo Trail at Sunset Point, bike through Wall Street--which is a narrow canyon--then to the Peekaboo trail loop. You can stop by Queen's Garden then go back up the trail to Sunrise Point.

Step 4

Assess the level of challenge. Bike routes are available for people of all abilities and interest levels. If you book through a travel company, each trip will be given a difficulty rating. If you plan the trip independently, look closely at the route and take into account your personal abilities.

Step 5

Plan a trip that varies your pace to give you some days to take it easy. Trips that combine biking and walking are often a good choice. Depending on your activity level, you can cover a total of 25 miles in two to three hours or 90 miles in a full day of biking and walking.

Step 6

Take into account the elevation gain per day. Utah's back roads vary from an elevation gain of 60 feet to 3,000 feet.

Step 7

Arrange your lodging and food options. Staying in towns will give you more options each night.

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