Utah Mountain Bike Trip… Quick-ish Version

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So, I just returned from a great mountain biking trip in Utah with my friends Craig and John . We rode it Salt Lake, Zion, Bryce and Moab. Also, we were fortunate enough to get to ride with Adam Hill and Josh Reese. Justin also lives out there and actually joined us for a few days of riding. Craig and I left Houghton on Thursday after work and drove through the night. At some ungodly hour we met met with John in Des Moines, loaded his crap, and kept on moving. We actually made pretty good time and arrived in SLC a little after 6pm.

 

 

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Justin didn’t let us waste any time… he had us change, grab our bikes, and soon after we met up with Josh and Adam and were being shuttled up Lower Cottonwood Canyon to make a run. After returning to the car we parted ways, changed, met up for dinner at Squatter’s Brewery, then back to Justin’s for some sleep.

 

 

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The next day Adam and Josh met us at Justin’s for some breakfast, then we headed off to ride a downhill run called Bobsled found in the mountains above Justin’s place.

 

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Justin ripping down Bobsled (above) – Hilly cleaning the dead-car-drop also on Bobsled (below)

 

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After riding Bobsled we drove across SLC to Adam and Josh’s neck of the woods to ride the Draper XC trails. I would have taken some photos here if I hadn’t been sucking wind and trying to keep up with Adam on the uphill. It just seemed to go on forever… After riding we grabbed lunch, showered at Adam/Josh’s then made the trek south to Zion.

 

 

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Setting up camp the first night in Zion…

 

 

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The next morning we got up early and headed up to Gooseberry Mesa. What we didn’t expect was it to be as buggy as it was. Apparently there was a recent gnat hatch and things were a little out of control. Above you can see Justin trying to hide from the gnats while getting his java fix.

 

 


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One of the lookouts at Gooseberry…

 

 

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You can see the curvature of the earth from up here…

 

 

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After finishing our ride at Gooseberry we headed back to town had some lunch and headed into Zion to do some hiking… here you can see Craig getting a little too close to some of the wildlife

 

 

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Making our way up Angel’s Landing in Zion…

 

 

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Making our way down Angel’s Landing in Zion…

 

 

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The next day we were interested in doing a more technical canyon, but due to road construction were not able to access some of the canyons we were initially interested in. After stopping at a couple of different shops in town we decided to attempt a canyon called Yankee Doodle which was just outside of Leeds. Due to less than adequate directions it took us a bit longer than expected to find the entrance. The canyon had some easy down climbing sections but nothing very technical, no water, and in the end we did it as an out and back as the exit directions were again, not very clear.

 

 

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Justin holding up a huge boulder as Craig and John pass under… Unfortunately this was just before the boulder squashed Justin. Luckily I was able to climb over the boulder after the incident, but if you happen to run into Justin and he looks a little short… now you know why.

 

 

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Driving back to Springdale after hiking Yankee Doodle…

 

 

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After finishing Yankee Doodle we headed back to town for some dinner then made the drive east to Bryce National Park. In the morning we got up early and shuttled to the top of the Thunder Mountain trail. This is by far one of the sweetest rides I’ve done in Utah. It’s super scenic on the way up and finishes with a super fast and relatively long descent. Above you can see Justin cranking to the top of one of the climbs.

 

 

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Justin and Craig ripping along on the Thunder Mountain trail…

 

 

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One of the coolest sections on Thunder Mountain is this spine you get to ride with hoodoos on either side…

 

 

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After completing the Thunder Mountain trail we retrieved our car from the upper trailhead repacked some of our gear, and parted ways with Justin. He had some things to do back in SLC and needed to get on the road. Craig, John and I continued our trip by heading into Bryce National Park and decided to do a hike down through the hoodoos…

 

 

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Here are John and Craig making our way down through the maze of trails that wander in and out of all the hoodoos in Bryce…

 

 

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The terrain here is just amazing…

 

 

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Bryce is by far one of the coolest places to visit and hike…

 

 

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After hiking in Bryce we still had quite a bit of day left and figured we could get in another ride. So, we decided to check out the Caasto/Cassidy/Losse loop suggested to us by one of the shop guys back in Zion. I didn’t take many images on this ride as the trail kinda sucked. Caasto canyon was a sandy, baby-heady 2-track climb up a canyon that wasn’t all too scenic. The Cassidy portion was pretty cool and went through an area call “Little Desert”. But then the end of the ride down Losse was again a sandy single-track mess full of horse dung and lacking in scenery. The Cassidy trail is definitely worth doing if you can access it from other points, but stay away from Caasto and Losee canyons… they aren’t really worth the trouble.

 

 

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After finishing the Caasto/Cassidy/Losse loop we decided to camp in Bryce one more night so that we could make the trip Escalante to Moab in the daylight. Above you can see Craig taking a break near an area called Hell’s Backbone…

 

 

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After arriving in Moab we didn’t really have much time to get a ride in so we headed up Negro Bill Canyon to the arch you see above.

 

 

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Then we headed up to the Sand Flats area to find a campsite and get ready for Slickrock in the morning…

 

 

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Craig coming down one of the descents on the Slickrock trail…

 

 

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John and Craig on Slickrock with the Lasals in the background…

 

 

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After riding Slickrock we decided to go check out Arches National Park…

 

 

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John and Craig hiking in to see Sandstone Arch…

 

 

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The well known Delicate Arch… and the couple of hundred people that somehow never seem to appear in the pictures

 

 


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After hiking Arches we grabbed dinner at the Moab Brewery then headed back to the Sand Flats area to get some sleep. In the morning we woke up and headed back into Moab to the Poison Spider Bike Shop to wait for our shuttle…

 

 

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Unloading the shuttle at the start of the Whole Enchilada… actually this probably isn’t the true trailhead. The upper trails were not open yet, so they dropped us off at the Hazard trailhead…

 

 

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Craig somewhere on the UPS/LPS trail…

 

 


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After finishing making our way to the bottom of the Porcupine Rim trail we rode our bikes back to town, loaded up the car, grabbed some Coke Slushee’s and started the long haul back to the midwest… I cannot wait to head back out there… maybe I can round some people up to go out there this fall… if you’re interested let me know.

Later.

 

 

 

3 thoughts on “Utah Mountain Bike Trip… Quick-ish Version

  1. Jason

    Wow – looks like a great trip! i’ve got some quetions for you – shoot me an email please. I’m planning on doing a similar trip.

    Jason

  2. Shane

    Great photos and descriptions. Can you email more info about your trip (like campsites and shuttles)? I’m headed out there Summer 2015.
    Shane

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