Mountain Bike Paradise in Moab, Utah
Utah is famous for many things, including Salt Lake City, Mormons, and of course the amazing landscape and scenery that covers a vast majority of the state. For anyone interested in mountain biking or rock climbing, a trip to Utah should definitely be one you are saving up for and planning to take. The incredible, vast network of parks throughout Utah provides some of the best mountain biking in the world, a reputation that draws many thousands of visitors to the state each year to enjoy the experience for themselves. While great mountain biking can be found in a range of locations throughout the state, no area can match the quality or amount of mountain biking in Moab, Utah.
Moab is located in far eastern Utah, not far from the border with Colorado. While it is a small city with a population of just over 5000, that number grows drastically as people come from all over the world to experience the exceptional mountain biking in the areas around Moab. In particular, there are two incredible national parks located within ten miles of Moab – Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.
Arches National Park is perhaps the more famous of the two, though the mountain biking opportunities are incredible in both. Arches is located on the Colorado River, a mere four miles north of Moab. The name “Arches” refers to the 2000 or more sandstone arches which have been perfectly preserved within the park. These arches are stunning geological structures, and often stand at around 70 feet tall. The landscapes are sweeping and simply spectacular, and most importantly they are truly unique and not something you will ever come across again.
While Arches National Park may appear rugged and hardy, it is actually the exact opposite. The sandstone nature of this park means that the arches are highly vulnerable to erosion, and in fact numerous arches throughout the park have actually collapsed as they have gradually been worn away by natural conditions. Therefore, there is no better time to see this magical place than the present, before it is too late!
Canyonlands National Park, located south west of Moab, is another park with spectacular scenery. The colorful landscape of this park has been eroded into numerous canyons of various sizes by the Colorado River and its surrounding tributaries over millions of years. Almost half a million people visit Canyonlands National Park annually, and it offers some of the best mountain biking in Moab, Utah. This park has a great range of trails and paths, with everything from clear cut, relatively straightforward biking suitable to beginners, to some serious obstacles and large boulders that are best tackled by experienced riders.
Mountain biking is one of the best ways to experience these amazing national parks. Not only is it fun and exhilarating, but you can cover much more ground than you would ever be able to hiking, and soak up the atmosphere at the same time. Camping is permitted within both parks, and some campgrounds are set in truly spectacular areas and can offer an experience in themselves. If you would prefer to stay in campgrounds with more facilities (such as showers), there are plenty of private camping areas outside the national parks. Sure, the scenery isn’t as incredible, but if a hot shower is a higher priority for you then this is the place to be!
In terms of when to visit, you will probably have an amazing time regardless of when you go. That said, spring and fall are the safest options. During summer it can become unbearably hot in the canyons, and winter weather can be somewhat unpredictable. Spring is amazing because it stays lighter later, though it does pay to avoid spring break because the parks can become excessively crowded at this time.
In short, mountain biking in Moab, Utah is like no other mountain biking you will ever experience. Do yourself a favor and plan your trip. Now.