Mountain and Road Biking Trails and Tours
Wayne County is a biking heaven!! With everything from easy mountain bike tracks to strenuous epic rides, and fat tire trails at every ability, enjoy our outdoors!
Here are some biking trails through Capitol Reef National Park. Please contact one of the guides from our Guides and Outfitters page for access to the many additional trails in the area!
Starting at the Visitor Center and riding west via Utah Hwy 24, 10 miles, to Utah Hwy 12, this loop takes you over the high country on the west flank of Boulder Mountain (9,400 feet in elevation) on Utah Hwy 12, through the Circle Cliffs, across the Waterpocket Fold on the Burr Trail Road, and then up the Strike Valley along the Notom/Bullfrog Road back to Utah Hwy 24. The complete loop includes approximately 70 miles of paved road. A shuttle can shorten the ride and cut out some of the paved sections.
The ride along the Burr Trail Road takes you through narrow, sheer walled Long Canyon, across the relatively flat center of the Circle Cliffs areas, and down the steep eastern slope of the Waterpocket Fold via the spectacular Burr Trail Road Switchbacks. Many miles of spur roads are available for exploring in the Circle Cliffs area. Near the top of the Burr Trail Road switchbacks, a short spur road branches north into Upper Muley Twist Canyon. This three mile road follows the wash bottom past several large arches and ends at the Strike Valley Overlook parking area. Bicycles are not permitted beyond this point. From the parking area, a short foot trail leads to a spectacular view of Strike Valley from the top of the Waterpocket Fold. Another hiking route continues through Upper Muley Twist Canyon (9 miles round trip).
At the bottom of the Burr Trail Road switchbacks you will encounter an intersection. Turn left (north) here and continue up the Notom/Bullfrog Road through Strike Valley. The Notom/Bullfrog Road parallels the east flank of the Waterpocket Fold with its steep upthrust of dome topped cliffs. The road continues north approximately 40 miles to the junction of Utah Hwy 24. Take Utah Hwy 24 west 9 miles to the Visitor Center.
The park has a 5 site primitive (no water) campground located approximately 12 miles north of the Burr Trail Road junction on the Notom/Bullfrog Road. The campground is run on a first come, first served basis (permits are not required) and is free.
Riding into the Cathedral Valley can be a very challenging and rewarding experience. This is one of the more remote areas of the park. Finding water is very difficult and summer temperatures can soar over 100 degrees. This ride is best done in the spring or fall. There are steep hills and switchbacks, wash crossings (muddy when flowing), stretches of deep sand and a river ford that is usually 1 to 1 1/2 feet deep. Access to Cathedral Valley is via the Harnet Road (11.7 miles east of the Visitor Center) or the Caineville Wash Road (18.6 miles east of the Visitor Center) on Utah Hwy 24. The park has a 5 site primitive (no water) campground located mid-way through the loop. The campground is run on a first come, first served basis (permits are not required) and is free.
The Scenic Drive starts at the park Visitor Center and provides access to Grand Wash, Capitol Gorge, Pleasant Creek, and the South Draw Road. You must return on the same road, so the length of your ride depends on where you turn around. Vehicle traffic can be heavy from April through October. The road is narrow and without shoulders, so bicyclists must be alert to approaching vehicular traffic. Consider doing this as a morning or evening ride when traffic is reduced or during the off season. The road has some moderately steep grades. The park entrance station is located just south of the campground on the Scenic Drive. Be sure to pick up a free copy of A Guide to the Scenic Drive at the entrance station. Other park maps and brochures are available at the Visitor Center.
This ride is not recommended in the winter or spring months due to deep snow at higher elevations which make the route impassable. If you like fast downhill rides, this trip should satisfy you. The route starts at 8,500 feet on Boulder Mountain and ends in the park at 5,500 feet. Make sure your bike has good brakes. This trip works best if you can shuttle a vehicle to the Pleasant Creek parking area located at the end of the Scenic Drive and then drive to a starting point at the junction of the Bowns Reservoir Road and Utah Hwy 12 on Boulder Mountain. Follow the Bowns Reservoir Road to Jorgeson and Tantalus Flats (bypass the turnoff to the reservoir), and continue on into the park via the South Draw Road. The South Draw Road turns into the Pleasant Creek Road at the Pleasant Creek crossing inside the park. The parking area is located near this point. If you prearranged a vehicle shuttle, your trip will end here. Alternatively, you can ride the entire loop, including 40 miles of paved road along the Scenic Drive and Utah Hwys 24 and 12, back to your starting point on Boulder Mountain. Be sure to carry a map of the area (available at the bookstore in the Visitor Center) as there are side roads that may be confusing.
Mountain Biking in the area:
Travel lightly on the land! In Capitol Reef National Park, bicycles must stay on designated roads at all times. Bicycles may not travel off road, in washes, on closed roads, on hiking trails, or backcountry routes. For overnight trips, you must camp in one of the three designated park campgrounds or on adjacent BLM or USFS lands. Water is difficult to find on all of the routes listed below, so plan accordingly. Check at a Visitor Center about availability before starting your trip.
**Biking information courtesy of Capitol Reef National Park