It’s no secret we love to go to Utah and bike. Yes, we love our GJ biking and it’s awesome and blah blah blah, but sometimes it’s nice to get away and enjoy other trails. Our favorite place for that happens to be just one state away. For the first half of our trip we headed to the SW portion of the state and camped at the Cedar Breaks National Monument. This turned out to be a great decision because not only was our little campsite just right, but the campground had FREE showers! FREE! Showers! 2 better words have never been heard after a long bike ride.
Our agenda for our days there went something like this:
Monday: bike the Virgin River Rim trail above Navajo Lake, drop down the Dyke trail, ride the Navajo Lake Trail (about 14 miles total)
The Virgin River Rim trail runs for many more miles than what we did; you can pick it up or drop off of it at different points. We started at the Te-Ah campground entrance and rode along the rim until we intersected with the Dyke Trail. The Rim and Dyke trails were about 9 miles. At the T intersection that you come to on the Dyke trail, just above the gravel road, take a right and then follow that for about 1/2 a mile until it drops you down to the road. Cross the road and follow the signs down to the Navajo Lake Trail.
Virgin River Rim trail
The end of the Navajo Lake Trail
Tuesday: bike the Thunder Mountain trail in Red Canyon (just outside of Bryce Canyon National Park) (14-15 miles including the return bike path portion)
This was a bit of a drive for us, but according to the Utah Mountain Biking website, Thunder Mountain is a “must-ride classic.” We parked at the paved parking area along the road to the Fremont ATV trail then biked 2 miles down that road to find the Thunder Mountain trail head. From here the ride is up and down singletrack for about 7 miles. Some portions are VERY exposed and there were some pretty sketchy switchbacks filled with rubble. The trail did have some fun parts though and the last 2 miles were fast and entertaining! Of course, at this point you’ve ended in the Thunder Mountain parking lot and will have to ride the bike path about 5 miles back to your car. There are worse things I suppose…
Views from the Thunder Mountain Trail
Wednesday: use Georg’s bike shop to shuttle and ride Bunker Creek (right fork) (about 12 miles)
Ah Bunker Creek…I rode this trail 5 years ago on our last trip out this way. I know I walked more then than I did this time, but I didn’t endo last time like I did this time. In any case, Bunker is not to be missed! Use Georg’s as a guide and make sure to tell them you want to do the reverse shuttle. This way when you finish the ride your car is waiting for you. We like this because then we can drive back down and sit by the creek to have a beer and a snack. The ride starts right at the top of Brian Head peak and begins with the Sidney Peaks trail. This trail is super scenic and fun! When you get to the Bunker Creek intersection take the right fork (which is on the left). I have no idea what the left fork (on the right) is like, but it’s supposedly more technical. Trust me, the “Right Fork” will be enough.
Enjoy this bomber downhill but be careful! It’s rocky and rooty and just plain gnarly sometimes.
We stuck to our plan and though we arrived back at camp tired and hungry each day, it was worth it!
For the second half of our trip we drove up to Park City and stayed in a condo for several days. We LOVE Park City. I swear I could live there quite easily. Thursday was our travel day and was a much deserved day off from biking.
Sidney Peaks trail heading to Bunker Creek
Friday: Self-created shuttle of sorts to ride the Wasatch Crest to Mill D.
Mill D is a great option if you want to get some great views on the Crest trail, but aren’t riding on an approved “even numbered” day. The Mill Creek canyon trails are only open to riders on even numbered days, so you can ride the upper portions of the Wasatch Crest ride, but you’ve got to turn off somewhere…it might as well be at Mill D! Mill D is found by taking a left at the Desolation Lake intersection. It’s a great ride, about 14 miles when you close the shuttle loop.
To shuttle this from the Park City side: Drop one person off at Guardsman Pass to begin the ride. Assume this person will wait on you at the end of the Scott’s Bypass trail or at the top of Puke Hill. Drive down Guardsman Pass road. Make sure to take note of the dirt road right in a 90 degree curve on right on your way down. It’s very obvious and there will be cars here. This is where you’ll bike back to. Climbing this road will take you to the bottom of Puke Hill.
Keep driving. Turn right onto Big Cottonwood Canyon Road and go another mile to mile and a half. You’re looking for a large gravel parking area on the left. As soon as you see the tops of the buildings at Solitude ski resort you’ll see the parking area. If you reach Solitude, turn around and go back. The parking area will be on your right by the campground sign and road. Now, bike back up the road to the 90 degree curve sign and the dirt road. Enjoy your ride!
At the end, your friend can bike back up Big Cottonwood Canyon road to the car. Just tell them to look for Solitude. Then they’ll see the car just past it.
Turn left here to head towards the Mill D trail
Though mostly mild, there are a few technical spots on Mill D.
Saturday: Hire a shuttle (Double D’s!) Use Double D’s to get back to Guardsman Pass. Leave your car at Park City mountain resort and bike across to the 7-11. Tell D that’s where you’d like to be picked up: The 7-11 on Park Ave. After your shuttle, enjoy Scott’s ByPass and then climb Puke Hill one more time. Now get ready for 7 1/2 miles of downhill! Turn right onto the Pinecone Ridge trail and follow this down to the Mid-Mountain trail where you’ll take a sharp right turn. Follow Mid-Mountain to Spiro and Spiro back to the road. Head right over to the parking area and your car. Whooo hoooo! What a fun ride! (Watch for uphillers!)
Riders climbing the Pinecone Ridge trail
The one very short climb on the Spiro trail
Sunday: Before we headed home we drove the short distance to the Glenwild Trails and rode the Bob’s Basin downhill trails a few times. Cutthroat is the considered the hardest one and man was it! Lots of rock drops and rock features but there are ride-arounds on everything. The Drop-Out is my favorite
I hope you had a great summer and got some good riding in. Let’s all enjoy a safe fall with lots of trails and dirt!