This page contains what we believe are Utah's most epic road bike climbs. (Note that this is our subjective ranking and is not based on objective data or formula, just our experience and personal opinion). Our Top 10 Most Epic Utah Bike Climbs are:
Photos clockwise from upper left:
#1 Shafer Trail; #4 Guardsman Pass; #5 Scenic Drive, Arches NP;
#3 La Sal Loop, Moab; #2 Kolob Terrace, Zion NP
THE 5 MOST EPIC
(in reverse order)
NUMBER 5: SCENIC DRIVE, ARCHES NP
One of the most extraordinary cycling experiences in the world.
Ride 34 miles with 3,494’ in elevation gain.
Scenic Drive is #5 only because it is not much of a climb (other than the two mile beginning) as it is a wondrous rolling adventure through some of the greatest views and rock formations in the world.
In my opinion, bicycle is the only way to tour Arches National Park. The traffic can be so bad during tourist season that is likely to be up to a mile back up 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.
NUMBER 4: GUARDSMAN PASS, MIDWAY
Guardsman Pass from Midway.
Ride 8.8 miles gaining 3,927’ to elevation 9,698’ at 8.5% average grade.
Guardsman Pass from Midway is amongst the best cycling climbs in Utah. This is also the second most difficult climb by bike in Utah, and shares its first seven miles with Empire Pass. Guardsman Pass begins just north of Midway, Utah and can be reached by three routes: from Midway, Park City, or via Big Cottonwood Canyon. The Midway ascent to Guardsman Pass is very narrow and rough, but with very little traffic. The climb is steep throughout with its most challenging section the 1.4 miles from 0.95 - 2.3 miles at 11.8% average grade.
NUMBER 3: 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.
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.
NUMBER 2: KOLOB TERRACE ROAD, ZION NATIONAL PARK
Cycling Kolob Terrace: Perhaps the most scenic of all 100 US bike climbs.
Ride 15.4 glorious miles gaining 4,400’ to elevation 7,989 at 5.2% average grade.
Visit our Zion National Park page.
This amazing bike climb has incredible views of Southern Utah rock formations, enters and skirts the western edge of Zion National Park, and ends just short of Blue Springs Reservoir and Kolob Peak. The toughest part of the climb is the very scenic stretch from miles three through five, which averages 8.4%.
NUMBER 1: 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. Visit our PJAMM Canyonlands page for more on Shafer Trail and others in the area.
One of the most epic and unique bike climbs in the US.
In our opinion, this is the most epic bike climb in Utah, and is one of the only US climbs 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.
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