As most of you already know, Utah has been blessed with a large number of mountain biking trails that take full advantage of the beautiful scenery that Utah has to offer. From red rock trails and breath-taking valley views to trails that are so accessible that you can turn your lunch break into a quick ride, Utah has it all. So you may wonder, “when there is so much to choose from, how do you know which trails are really the best?”
In honor of the winter that will soon come to a close, and the mountain biking season that we are all waiting for, here is a list of five of the top trails in Utah as rated by The Salt Lake Tribune, Trails.com, and SingleTracks.com.
1. Gooseberry Mesa (Hurricane, Utah)
Tread: Intermittent slickrock and dirt-sand singletracks
Just a short distance from Zion’s National Park, this trail gives you the single-track ride, technical areas, dips, and ledges that will test your skill and give you a tour of some of the greatest scenery in Utah. Tucked neatly away on the end of this pointy mesa, you’ll find a track laid out amidst the sage, manzanita, juniper, ponderosa, and even some slickrock. Riders get the best of both worlds here: beautiful scenery and a fun, ability testing ride.
2. Slickrock (Moab, Utah)
This is the trail that put Utah on the map as a mountain-biking mecca. Everyone should pay homage by leaving a little skin and blood on this classic 12-mile trail in Moab. The Slickrock Trail is VERY well marked with painted white lines like the middle of a highway, and there are yellow caution markers and black diamonds to warn you of deadly sections ahead. At times, it is like riding on the outside edge of a 300-foot high basketball, but the scenery and adrenaline you get from this ride will keep you coming back every year.
3. Porcupine Rim (Moab, Utah)
Known as Moab’s best downhill and the most diverse trail that Moab has to offer, this advanced technical trail has one grunt to the Rim, then paces riders down a long descent. Aerobically, it is moderately difficult and the descent isn’t as easy as it sounds. The trail begins with an 800-foot elevation gain right off the bat which is followed by a narrow mining track and an unforgettable stretch of double-track leading along the edge of Porcupine Rim, with stomach-churning views straight down on Castle Valley. From a jungle of juniper-piñon, sandstone outcrops, and cacti, you’ll begin a long descent down rugged double-track teeming with drop-offs that often come at you when you least expect it. This leads to single-track, sometimes smooth and other times boulder-strewn. The trail deposits you onto UT 128, and the final six miles back to town are paved. General location: 10 miles east of Moab.
4. Bonneville Shoreline
This trail stretches from one end of the valley to the other and has redefined “lunch break” for many a rider who has taken advantage of its proximity to cities for a quick spin. It’s a mostly rolling trail with a few rocky sections. The first section of the BST overlooks the “This is the Place” state park and the second leg traverses the foothills to City Creek Canyon on a section made possible by generous grants from the Steiner Foundation and local and state agencies. Along the entire route, you’ll find staggering views of the Salt Lake Valley, wedged between the Wasatch Range and Oquirrh Mountains.
5. Wasatch Crest Trail
Tread: Singletrack with a few miles of quasi-doubletrack-turned-singletrack.
The Wasatch Crest Trail is one of northern Utah’s premier mountain bike routes. Nearly all singletrack, the Crest Trail traces “the Backbone of Utah” as it runs along the tops of Mill Creek and big Cottonwood Canyons. Along the initial climb, you venture through sun-kissed forests of aspen, pine, and fir. But when you pedal out the ridge, you are entertained by top-of-the-world views of jagged mountains, glacier-cut canyons, and urban valleys. Moab’s Slickrock Bike Trail might be the state’s most popular trail because of its uniqueness, but the Wasatch Crest Trail epitomizes the concept of “mountain” biking.
For more information on these trails and other biking trails, visit the links provided at the beginning of this article.