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.
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
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!
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.
Approximately miles 3-7 of Scenic Drive (roadway photo left and center).
La Sal Mountains Viewpoint at mile 3.8.
Delicate Arch has been the image on the Utah license plate since 2007.
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 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.
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.
Photos of Castleton Tower taken from miles 3-6.
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.
SHAFER TRAIL, CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK
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.
One of the most epic and unique bike climbs in the US.
Also visit our PJAMM Canyonlands page.
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.
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.
PJAMM Adventure App
Left Photo: That is one STEEP profile!!
Right Photo: Oops . . .
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