Zion and Bryce Mountain Biking

Zion Canyon, Utah, United States of America

For the keen mountain biker exploring the United States, you could be disappointed to discover that cycling off-road is not permitted in national parks. However, often in close proximity, you’ll find land managed by other government entities that is just as spectacular and often less crowded than the parks themselves. Such is the case in Utah, near both the Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks.

If you are visiting the steep-walled Zion Canyon and lodging in Springdale, hire mountain bikes from one of several cycle shops, buy a map and head out to Gooseberry Mesa. You’ll find high desert terrain with technical trails, much of it on ‘slickrock’, a form of sandstone that offers the ultimate traction. Gooseberry Mesa, as the name implies, is a mesa (steep-sided, flat-topped hill) with cliff edges. Take on the challenge of riding trails that hug those thousand-foot drops, offering spectacular views.

As part of your visit to Bryce Canyon National Park, after gawking at the natural spires in their pink, orange and white glory, head to Thunder Mountain trailhead. Here you’ll find rugged singletrack that takes you through similar spires while you attack steep, tight switchbacks. The last few miles of the loop are, as one local rider put it, a “brown ribbon of love”!

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