Road bike riding in Moab

#1
Arches Entrance Climb
USA, UT
#2
Arches National Park Ride
USA, UT
#3
Arches Scenic Drive
USA, UT
#4
Canyonlands NP
USA, UT
#5
La Sal Loop (Castle Valley)
USA, UT
#6
Shafer Trail
USA, UT

Climb List: Moab, UT
(sort by distance, difficulty, elevation and more)

Cycling Moab, UT

Cycling Moab, Utah - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, circular wooden sign for Moab Visitor Center, aerial view of switchbacks up a climb, NPS signs for Canyonlands NP and Arches NP, smiley face painted on road

Cycling Moab, Utah

Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, and La Sal Loop.

Moab is home to Arches and Canyonlands National Parks and La Sal Loop (Castle Valley).  Because of the amazing climbs that call Moab home, we find this to be one of the greatest cycling experiences in the United States and the world.  Moab is best known for off-trail and off road-recreation, but we can attest to the fact that it has some absolutely amazing and stunning cycling opportunities.

Centrally located to three of the greatest cycling opportunities in the US.

When we visited Moab in July 2020, we stayed at the Archway Inn (very affordable at $80 per night) at the eastern edge of town (on the Arches/Canyonlands/Castle Valley side).  However, we felt it would also be nice to have stayed in downtown Moab because it seemed like a fun little town.  With a population of just over 5,000, this small southeastern Utah town more than doubles during the tourist season.

Cycling Moab, Utah - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, weather report showing temps of 108, 106, 100, signs for the Archway Inn

That reminds me -- you may want to avoid Moab in the summer. 108℉ on July 31, 2020.

Best time to visit is May and September.

THE FOUR GREAT RIDES OF MOAB

(In order of proximity to Moab.)

SCENIC DRIVE, ARCHES NATIONAL PARK

Cycling Arches National Park, Moab, Utah - bike parked in front of NPS sign for Arches National Park

One of the most extraordinary cycling experiences in the world.

Ride 34 miles with 3,494’ in elevation gain.

In my opinion, bicycle is the only way to tour Arches National Park.  The traffic can be so bad during tourist season that it is likely for there to be up to a mile backup to get into the park via motor vehicle.  On our bikes, we ride past all of the stopped cars and can stop anywhere along the 34 mile route that we want -- you just cannot experience the park in a motor vehicle the way you can on a bike.  I rode my bike in the park twice (once the full route, second a shorter version) and my wife and I drove in the park twice -- no comparison!

Cycling Arches National Park, Moab, Utah - red stone archway with blue sky behind it

This is an out-and-back ride without turning off on any of the spur roads as our Arches All Roads (45.3 miles 4,354’ elevation gain) route does.

Cycling Arches National Park, Moab, Utah - aerial view looking down over Scenic Drive, red stone bluffs

Approximately miles 3-7 of Scenic Drive (roadway photo left and center).

Cycling Arches National Park, Moab, Utah - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked on roadway overlooking famous rock formations: Three Gossips, Sheep Rock, Tower of Babel, and The Organ

La Sal Mountains Viewpoint at mile 3.8.

Cycling Arches National Park, Moab, Utah - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, Utah license plate, Delicate Arch, PJAMM cycling jersey in front of Delicate Arch

Delicate Arch has been the image on the Utah license plate since 2007.

Cycling Arches National Park, Moab, Utah - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked in front of rock formations: The Organ, Tower of Babel, Three Gossips, Sheep Rock, Balanced Rock

Photo upper left:  foreground The Organ; background Tower of Babel

Upper right:  Three Gossips and Sheep Rock; Bottom right Sheep Rock

Bottom left:  Balanced Rock bottom center of photo.

LA SAL LOOP ROAD, CASTLE VALLEY

Cycling La Sal Loop Road at Castle Valley - bike parked on side of roadway overlooking scrub brush, and beyond red bluffs and canyons

Cycling La Sal Loop Road Utah, an exceptionally scenic bike climb.

Ride 16.9 miles gaining 4,411’ to elevation 8,337’ at 4.8% average grade.

US Top 10 Most Scenic Bike Climb.

Cycling La Sal Loop Road at Castle Valley - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked in front of various red bluffs, one of which is called The Rectory

Along the first part of the climb.

Upper left, lower left and lower right photos are of The Rectory, located just north of Castleton Tower.

Cycling La Sal Loop Road at Castle Valley - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, Castleton Tower

Photos of Castleton Tower taken from miles 3-6.

Cycling La Sal Loop Road at Castle Valley - PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked in center of two-lane roadway looking back toward Castleton Tower and The Rectory

Views back at Castleton Tower and The Rectory at mile 7.2.

There’s a lot of straight for the first half of this climb.

Cycling La Sal Loop Road at Castle Valley - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, views from top of climb overlooking hillsides covered in low scrub brush and red canyons and bluffs beyond

SHAFER TRAIL, CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK

Cycling Shafer Trail, Canyonlands National Park - bike sitting atop flat rock plateau overlooking  brown canyons and blue mountains far in the distance

Cycling Shafer Trail, Canyonlands National Park

Ride 5.3 miles gaining 1,436’ to 5,823’ at 5.1% average grade.

First half of the climb is at 9%.

Shafer Trail is a US Top 10 Most Epic Bike climb.

Cycling Shafer Trail, Canyonlands National Park - gorgeous views of canyons and red and brown striated carved canyon sides

One of the most epic and unique bike climbs in the US.

Also visit our PJAMM Canyonlands page.

Cycling Shafer Trail, Canyonlands National Park - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked at various locations on roadside overlooking steep and sudden drop down into canyon, bike parked on flat roadway before climb's beginning, bike parked against large NPS sign for Canyonlands National Park, aerial drone view looking down into the canyon with switchback roads carved into canyonside

In our opinion, this is the most epic bike climb in Utah, and is one of the only US climbs to resemble the great Death Road of Bolivia, although there are many significant distinctions between the two.  What the two have in common are sheer cliffs bordering very narrow dirt roads.

Cycling Shafer Trail, Canyonlands National Park - PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, bike parked along roadside overlooking sheer drop into canyon, switchback below with van traveling down an extremely narrow dirt roadway, bike laying down in center of red dirt roadway

I did this trail on my Roubaix with 28mm road tires without any difficulty . . .

That is, other than the 9% first 2.5 miles in 100+ degrees.

OUR FAVORITE HIKE NEAR MOAB

Castleton Tower Hike

This is a brute of a hike with great rewards for those that make it to the top.  Be sure to bring good hiking shoes because there are rough spots and some close to treacherous areas that require very good traction.  Here is the All Trails route we followed.

Cycling La Sal Loop Road at Castle Valley - informational sign at Castleton Tower Primitive Climber's Camp, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner

Cycling La Sal Loop Road at Castle Valley - gradient and map as seen on PJAMM adventure app

PJAMM Adventure App

Left Photo: That is one STEEP profile!!

Right Photo:  Oops . . .

Cycling La Sal Loop Road at Castle Valley - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, views of Castleton Tower along hike, red dirt and low scrub brush, blue skies

Cycling La Sal Loop Road at Castle Valley - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, views along Castleton Tower climb, red dirt, red bluffs, hiker climbing over extremely rocky portion of trail, yellow PJAMM Cycling jersey draped over rocks

Cycling La Sal Loop Road at Castle Valley - photo collage, PJAMM Cycling logo in corner, views from Castleton Tower hike at sunset