1. Arches National Park: Arches Cruise
The Arches Cruise is a 46.4-mile out-and-back ride over rolling hills in Arches National Park, including a couple of out-and-back spurs. The stunning scenery — exotic enough for an Indiana Jones film (opening sequences in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade) — makes this a must-do ride. The route opens with a dramatic climb — and closes with a similarly dramatic descent—on switchbacks. The route is entirely on National Park Service roads; hence, the pavement is generally smooth. The elevation ranges from 4,097 feet at the Arches National Park Visitor Center to 5,173 feet approaching Devils Garden.
2. Canyonlands National Park: Island in the Sky Cruise
The Island in the Sky Cruise is a 51-mile out-and-back ride over undulating terrain between and through Dead Horse Point State Park and Canyonlands National Park. The elevation ranges from 5,639 feet at Upheaval Dome, in Canyonlands National Park, to 6,184 feet on Big Flat, on SR 313 between the Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point Parks. The route is entirely on state highways and national park roads, so the pavement is generally smooth. This is one of the few rides in this book that does not begin anywhere near a city or town. That said, be prepared for this route by bringing any provisions needed — there are only limited facilities along the way. Bring cash, too, to pay park entrance fees.
3. Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument: Johnson Canyon Cruise
The Johnson Canyon Cruise is a 50.8-mile out-and-back course. The elevations range from 4,985 feet in Kanab to 5,950 feet at the turnaround. The ride begins at the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument Visitor Center on the eastern edge of Kanab. The route spends very little time in Kanab, immediately heading toward the expansive sagebrush flats east of town and the wonderful landscape of the Grand Staircase.
4. Dinosaur National Monument: Dinosaur Country Cruise
The Dinosaur Country Cruise is a 48.1-mile out-and-back ride over gently rolling hills and false flats. The ride journeys from Vernal, into the Dinosaur National Monument as far as the pavement stretches, and returns. The pavement surface is good along the outer ends of the route (i.e., in Vernal and approaching and in Dinosaur National Monument) but is fair to rough along Brush Creek Road, in the middle section of the course. There are ten cattle guard crossings. The elevation ranges from 5,359 feet in Vernal to 4,757 feet along SR 149 near Dinosaur National Monument.
5. Capitol Reef National Park: Torrey to the Golden Throne
The relatively gentle ride is 16–20 miles one way, depending on where you start, and 32–40 miles for a round-trip ride from nearby Torrey, Utah. This is a high-altitude moderate course with rolling hills. The Capitol Reef Scenic Drive hovers around 5,300 feet above sea level, with the greatest elevation gain on the return trip to Torrey, which sits at 6,800 feet. Along the way: lots of stunning red rock scenery luring you to pull off the road and just enjoy the view.
A Note on Safety
General rules to follow when cycling in national parks and monuments include riding single file with the flow of traffic. Most of the time there are no designated bike lanes and road shoulders are often narrow, so please be alert for passing vehicles. It is strongly recommend that cyclists wear appropriate safety gear, including helmets and high visibility clothing.
There are many good reasons why Utah is world famous for its bike riding, both cycling and mountain. View maps and information, trails, resources and recommendations.
As you plan your travels, have you considered ways you can visit more thoughtfully? There are lots of ways to minimize your impact, while maximizing your experience. This is a shared travel ethos we call Forever Mighty.
Road to Mighty
Utah adventures range from satisfying solitude to amazing high adventure. Browse our suggested Southern Utah itineraries. Which vacation appeals to you?
Read the Stories
10 Routes Chosen by Utah Cyclists
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A Biking Guide to the Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail
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Cycling the Centennial Trail
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Utah's Outdoors Are Wide Open for All Abilities
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Cycling the Road to Mighty
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- Cedar Breaks National Monument
- Cedar Canyon
- All-American Road Scenic Byway 12
- Capitol Reef National Park