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Paved bike path near Bryce Canyon, through Red Canyon

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If you're interested in a short paved bike ride through red rock near Bryce Canyon, as a break from hiking: The 9 mile-long paved bike path that runs parallel to Highway 12 through Red Canyon to the Thunderhead mountain bike trail parking lot is a delightful ride. The first half is small ups and downs through open land, and the second half going through Red Canyon is all downhill, spectacularly beautiful and over faster than you’d probably like. Since you are on mountain bikes, it’s a bit slower going than on road bikes, which is what we’re accustomed to. On the other hand, if you want to continue onto the unpaved mountain biking trail from the Thunderhead Parking Lot (we didn’t, and we were told it’s not really for beginning mountain bikers), you’ll have the right bike for it.

We rented the bikes: The cost was $20/person for a bike and helmet for a half day, plus $5 more to be dropped at the top of the paved bike path (about 5 miles from the Sinclair Gas Station just outside Bryce Canyon, where you rent the bikes and helmets) and an additional $5 to be picked up at the bottom of Red Canyon. (We got in touch with them by calling Ruby’s Inn - the gas station is opposite Ruby's Inn.) If you want to avoid the initial half and just do the second section through Red Canyon, it will take less than a half hour, so you might want to do this twice and just pay the extra $5 for a tow back up to the top of Red Canyon. Don’t forget that the altitude (and possibly the weather) will impact your stamina on the initial portion of the trip if you decide to do the entire 9 miles.

The town is apparently planning to add 5+ miles of paved bike path from Ruby’s Inn to connect with the current bike path (avoiding the need to bike on the road if you wanted to do the entire 15 miles), but frankly, the additional part would not be all that scenic and I doubt kids would enjoy the extension - the best part anyway is the section through Red Canyon.

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