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Mountain Biking in Arches and Canyonlands - Questions????

Mountain Biking in Arches and Canyonlands - Questions????

Old Mar 6th, 2012, 02:03 PM
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Mountain Biking in Arches and Canyonlands - Questions????

I am planning on visiting Moab in early May and mountain biking in Arches NP one day and Canyonlands NP another day. I have never been and have never mountain biked before. I am 28, very athletic and in great shape. I have seen on visitmoab.com and other sites a number of trails to mountain bike, but it seems overwhelming and was wondering if I could get some suggestions to help me narrow down my choices. Any advice would be helpful.

I'm hoping I can hike/shoot photography early morning...mountain bike mid-morning to mid-afternoon and then hike/shoot in the evening.

Again, any advice or tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 03:26 PM
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In the days I was in Arches I do not recall seeing anyone on a bicycle. Find a good experienced guide with bikes. Do not attempt to go anywhere alone in Arches or Canyonlands even on foot.
The trail out to Delicate Arch is only safe for hiking.
Stay safe!
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 04:55 PM
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Most everyone doing it for the first time goes with a guide. We did and enjoyed it. They will take you on whatever type course you want easy, moderate, difficult, extreme.
I can't remember who we used, but it was just myself and daughter who was about 12 at that time.

I do think there are some parts of Arches that you can ride in. I think maybe toward Elephant Rocks.

I think more people ride in Canyonlands and of course there are a lot of other places to ride. We rode just outside of the Archs NP.

If you have never been to Arches, DO NOT MISS- the hike to Delicate Arch and Landscape Arch. Double Arch, Balanced Rock, and The Windows are just a short 5 minute walk.

I am addicted to National Parks. I have been to 29 of our 58 national parks. The single best thing I have done at any of them is with www.deserthighlights.com in Moab.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 04:59 PM
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Maybe an area in Arches known as Klondike Bluffs is what I should have said.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 05:03 PM
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I'm certainly not a Mountain Biker. I have hiked a lot in Utah though. It seems to be the Bike Capitol. I would imagine that the biking is like the hiking. Limitless. So much there-you could hike or bike a lifetime and only have scratched the surface.

Even though you may be super fit, do not over-estimate you capibilities. Start out somewhat slow and easy. People that are super fit get in trouble hiking/biking all the time.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 05:05 PM
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There are no bike trails in Arches, you must stick to the roads.

http://www.nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/biking.htm

Personally, I wouldn't bike the main road but would go onto one of the unpaved roads to see parts of the park I wouldn't normally see. You would need a tire patch kit and pump for sure.

I would also get yourself a bike at home and do some riding beforehand, even if it's just a weekend bike rental or something. I think you'll get more out of the trip with some prior experience.

Plenty of people hike/bike alone, not sure why the advice to never do it. Most trails in Arches are heavily travelled and little to no danger if you go by yourself. Be smart, use common sense if you go alone and enjoy the solitude.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 05:49 PM
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hoppock,

I would really recommend going with a bike tour. They will put you on trails appropriate for your ability. Most of the mtn bike trails around Moab are very technical and require a lot of mtn bike experience, but there are some easy ones.

This is a great opportunity to really learn mtn biking. Go with a tour, get the coaching, and have a great time!

Hiking most of the trails in the Nalt Parks is fine solo. Just be sure to check in the with the Visitor's Center first and understand exactly what you are getting in to and what the current conditions are. As mentioned above, most of the trails have enough traffic that you will not be all alone.

There is a new hiking/mtn bike loop with 3 distance options in Utah State Park - Dead Horse Point. You might want to try that one out.

As far as I know, mtn bikes are restricted to the paved roads inside the parks - with a couple of exceptions. You can mtn bike in Canyonlands along the White Rim trail and on the Schaffer Trail, but you need to have a permit and most people go with a group. It's one of those places where you have to "save yourself". Some very tough and long distance going.

Again - go to an outfitter and see what your options are. Best everywhere with a group!

Note - it will already be pretty hot in May. Lots of water, sunscreen, hat.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 06:10 PM
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Don't forget the story of Aaron Ralston: http://www.traditionalmountaineering..._Lost_Solo.htm
I did take a solo walk east from the Delicate Arch viewpoint parking lot east out of the park to find a geocache. I instructed my wife to send out a search party if I did not return within 1.5 hours. In the 1.2 hr. I was gone I saw no one else. Last year I bought a SPOT so that I could let people know I was OK or if I needed help.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 06:20 PM
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C'mon, Aron Ralston went exploring a lightly-visited canyon, off-trail. Not even remotely close to hiking a trail in a popular national park.

I've hiked the trail to Delicate Arch twice, once with a friend and once "alone". Although there were hundreds of other people on the trail, so I wasn't alone. Huge difference between that and Ralston's trip.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 06:38 PM
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The area in Arches I mention isn't paved, but I still think you can ride your bike there. Certainly isn't the slick rock riding that you can do elsewhere.
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Old Mar 6th, 2012, 06:42 PM
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I've hiked The Great Gallery/Horseshoe Canyon- which is the canyon that Aaron hiked out of. It is way way way out in the boondocks. Blue John is a side canyon that connect to Horseshoe Canyon where the Great Gallery is located. We are talking miles away from nowhere then in a canyon that a handful of people hike each day, then a side canyon that a handful of people canyoneer in each month.
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Old Mar 7th, 2012, 12:22 PM
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I do plenty of road biking--mountain biking is totally different. It also really fun. You will have a lot more fun if you rent a bike for a couple of weekends at home and hit some hilly trails. DO NOT clip into the pedals at first!!!

There are so many trails around Moab--not in Parks, its all BLM land. You can google Moab Mountain Bike Trails and you will find lots of info. Also visit the websites of the various bike shops in Moab--they have lots of info. If you have a good map and research beginner to intermediate trails, you will be fine. I hate guided tours in the outdoors--unless I am doing something where I am going to get a great education or it involves so much planning that there is no way I could do all that. Canyoneering--I would get a guide. A half day hiking or biking--go by yourself.

Aaron Ralston was just plain stupid--he did so many things wrong.
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Old Mar 8th, 2012, 09:55 PM
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Thank you all for the advice. Appreciate your time.
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