Edward Abbey once described the deserts of southwest Utah as, “Light and space without time, I think, for this country with only the slightest traces of human history.” Join us, and find out what Abbey meant: Mountain biking slowly and exposed to nature’s elements is the ideal way to take in the spirit of this land.
Traveling from the high-desert outpost of Boulder, Utah, to Goblin Valley State Park, we’ll experience a small corner of the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument before descending the multiple switchbacks of the Burr Trail. This gravel road cuts dramatically through the Waterpocket Fold, a 100-mile-long monocline that defines the geology of Capital Reef National Park. We’ll traverse some of the most spectacular and remote scenery of the American West, experiencing red-rock hoodoos cast in unimaginable configurations, slot canyons, and petroglyphs carved into the sandstone.
Join us for this spectacular new tour! It will be 130 miles you’ll never forget.
|Start Date:||Oct 05, 2014||End Date:||Oct 12, 2014|
|Start Location:||Boulder, UT||End Location:||Boulder, UT|
|Total Days:||8||Riding Days:||6|
|Average Daily Mileage:||21.7||Surface:||Dirt|
|Riders:||12||Airport:||Grand Junction, CO|
|Tour Leader:||Jack Pettry, Kevin MacAfee||Meals:||Shared cooking|
|Technical Difficulty:||Difficult||Physical Difficulty:||Advanced|
|Level of Support:||Van Supported||Cost:||$1,119.00|
Boulder, Utah. We’ll be picked up by the Adventure Cycling van in Grand Junction, Utah, and shuttled 240 miles through Capital Reef National Park and over Boulder Mountain. Time permitting we can visit Boulder’s Anasazi Indian State Park, which showcases artifacts and ruins of the Ancestral Pueblo people who inhabited the Four Corners region more than 800 years ago. We’ll spend the night at Boulder Mountain Lodge surrounded by an infinite wilderness of desert and mountains.
Boulder to Grand Staircase-Escalante, 30 miles. Setting out on our ride of discovery, we’ll depart Boulder and roll onto the legendary Burr Trail, following a route blazed by John Burr to move his cattle between summer and winter ranges. The terrain on either side of the trail could well have given rise to the expression “hell of a place to lose a cow.”
Escalante/Grand Staircase to Cedar Ridge, 34 miles. After breakfast, we’ll pedal on to Capitol Reef National Park. In the distance, the Henry Mountains rise from the bleak brown desertscape like a verdant timbered island. After negotiating a series of switchbacks that crawl down a virtual rock wall, we’ll reach the bottom and look back up, wondering, “how did they ever build a road going up that thing?” Tonight we’ll stay at the laid-back Cedar Mesa Campground. With any luck, the late-day sun will ignite Tarantula Mesa to the east, illuminating it in a fiery orange glow.
Cedar Ridge to Cainville, 30 miles. Come morning, we’ll continue north on the Notom-Bullfrog Road, weaving our way along back-country roads into Goblin Valley State Park before joining the classic Cathedral Valley mountain-bike route. Tonight we’ll set up another makeshift camp in the warm desert sun of early autumn and enjoy a restful sleep in cool temperatures beneath a star-filled sky.
Cainville to Muddy Creek, 18 miles. Today, we’ll squeeze to the northeast between North Caineville Mesa and North Caineville Reef. The flat-topped formation of orange-brown sandstone is one of the most prominent landforms in what is otherwise largely barren mudflats. In fact, the wide-open landscape here is some of the starkest terrain in Utah. Tonight we’ll camp along the banks of Muddy Creek.
Muddy Creek to Goblin Valley State Park, 16 miles. This morning we’ll follow Wild Horse Road, which leads all the way to Goblin Valley State Park. The park may be our final destination, but not the end of our ride. It’s a short day, but the off-route options for exploring roads and trails are many. A visit to the collection of soft sandstone “goblins” inhabiting the park can make for an excellent after-dinner hiking and photography outing. So alien is the setting that 1999’s Galaxy Quest, a sci-fi parody/cult film, was filmed in Goblin Valley.
Layover day. The San Rafael Swell, part of the greater Colorado Plateau physiographic region, is home to a maze of slot canyons and sand washes to explore. With over 3,000 square miles, it’s doubtful we’ll have time to explore them all! The 18-mile loop encircling nearby Temple Mountain is a terrific ride, passing pictographs on canyon walls and descending through a sand wash, making it a great wrap-up ride of the area.
Shuttle day. Today we’ll be shuttled back to Grand Junction from Goblin Valley. Yes, our time in Utah is almost over, but chances are you’ll be back. Rare is the individual who can visit this region once and not return again and again.
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"I enjoyed the opportunity to try something totally different, the freedom to be riding along watching the world go by from a new perspective."
2012 Tour Participant
"Every trip I take with Adventure Cycling keeps getting better and better. "
"This was our first tour, but it won't be our last..."
2009 Tour Participant
"I thoughly enjoyed all aspects of the trip, but I most enjoyed the great group of fellow participants."
2012 Tour Participant