ROUTE DESCRIPTION: The ride from Hanksville to Torrey/Teasdale,
along the Fremont River, climbs gradually, through a typical Utah landscape
with canyons, cliffs and red rock. If you ride up the dirt drive to the Muley
Twist Inn, be careful of burrs causing flat tires.
The fifteen or so mile climb up Boulder Mountain is a good workout with
incredible scenery. After a lazy morning start (and huge wonderful breakfast
at the Muley Twist) we were ready for a stop and lunch at the top. After the
first big climb the road descends then climbs again, rolling around the
mountainside before a screaming descent (the first of many on this trip!) into
the small town of Boulder. (Third week of September would probably hit the
aspen at peak color.) You could add on a ride out the Burr Trail to Long
Canyon and back, or just relax and enjoy the views.
The highway from Boulder to Escalante has to be one of the most unusual
and spectacular canyon routes in the country. Leave Boulder riding through
meadows and plateaus before reaching the end of the mesa and dropping at
a 14% grade down a winding road carved from the canyon walls. A ride not
to be missed! From the valley floor, along the Escalante River, the road climbs
again (steeply but not at 14%) back up to the mesa top before a long cruiser
downhill into the town of Escalante. If you’re picnicking there is a park on the
far end of town up the hill on the left.
The next section of road is along a creek, gradually climbing. The road rolls
a bit through trees and meadows into Tropic before a steep climb up to the
Bryce Park entrance. The wind was blowing hard the afternoon we’d planned
this ride – so we punted and went for a hike in the park instead (highly
Leaving Bryce it is a long, flat ride with lovely views (but some traffic) to the
top of Red Canyon. The ride down through the canyon is short but very
beautiful. From the junction with Hwy 89 the road has more traffic but a wide
shoulder makes it reasonably pleasant. Although you’re climbing gradually to
Panguitch, enjoy the views and know that the cinnamon buns at the Circle M
Café (on the far end of town) await you!
It is a 7,500 foot climb from Panguitch (2,460′) to Brian Head (10,567′) and
Cedar Breaks (just remember it is all downhill tomorrow). The climb is steep
out of Panguitch, becoming more gentle along Panguitch Creek up to Panguitch
Lake at about 8,000 feet. The ascent on up to the top climbs another 2,500
through some lovely mixed aspen-pine forest with some very interesting
lava-flow features along the way. The two miles or so down to Brian Head
and accommodations is steep. Watch out for ice and/or gravel if you ride
early or late in the season.
Leaving Brian Head we stopped to enjoy the views from the pullouts in Cedar
Breaks (we’d also driven up at sunset the night before). The Park is similar to
Bryce but the canyon is deeper and not as big. From Cedar Breaks the ride back
to Hwy 89 is a blast – lovely scenery, no traffic and a fun downhill. Continuing
on 89 to Mt Carmel Junction it is mostly downhill, but with more traffic.
From Mt. Carmel Junction the road climbs pretty steeply up to the mesa above
Zion Canyon, rolls for a ways at the top before the magnificent ascent into the
park. Note that you cannot ride through the tunnel into the valley floor, so you
need cars on which to load bikes. For those who love winding down hills, don’t
miss the ride from the tunnel to the valley floor with several hairpin turns. The
six-mile ride up through Zion Canyon along the Virgin River allows you to see
the canyon in all its splendor.
We spent our last day hiking in the canyon. From Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort
we got a lift to the top of the Orderville Canyon and hiked the narrows to the
convergence with the Virgin River, exiting at the top of Zion Canyon (Temple
of Sunawava). The Orderville Canyon hike was described to us as being a day
full of aptitude tests, including two drop offs requiring rope. If you’re up for the
challenge, talk to the park rangers and the folks at Zion Ponderosa Ranch to see
if it is the right hike for you. (Rescue would be close to impossible.) We thought
it was the finest day hike we’d ever done. Note: you can hike into the Virgin
River Narrows from Zion Canyon to experience the amazing canyon walls,
without some of the challenges of the Orderville route. There is also a 1-2 day
hike from the canyon rim down the Virgin River Narrows.
Meet and reconfigure cars in Green River, UT at the River Museum, north
end of town. Continue on to Teasdale for the night. Recommended activity:
Stop and see Goblin Valley and/or ride from Hanksville to Teasdale (35 miles).
Muley Twist Inn B&B 435-425-3640 (Eric and Penny)
Dinner and breakfast included. (Note: We made special arrangements
for dinner – and it was wonderful!)
Ride from Teasdale
to Boulder over
Boulder Mountain (38 miles).
Add on a bike ride to
Long Valley on the
Burr Trail or take a
hike in Escalante Grand
Staircase or Calf Creek
Recreation Area (or just
relax and enjoy the view).
Boulder Mountain Lodge 800-556-3446
Ride through amazing
canyon country along
Route 12 through Escalante,
continuing on to
Bryce Canyon (60+ miles).
Ride into park for views
from the rim (40 miles round trip)
or take a hike into the canyon.
Bryce Canyon Lodge
No meals included
Route: Ride from Bryce Canyon (via Panquiteh) to Brian Head, near Cedar
Breaks Monument (50 miles). Don’t miss a stop for breakfast and cinnamon
rolls at the Flying M Restaurant in Panquiteh! Add a hike in Cedar Breaks
if you’re up for it!
Cedar Breaks Lodge 888-282-3327 or 435-677-3000
Route: Ride from Brian Head to accommodations on canyon rim at Zion
(65 miles). Note: We rode into the canyon valley (a must) and drove back
to our accommodations. There is one tunnel through which the bikes have
to go on cars.
Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort800-293-5444 or 435-648-2700
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Enjoy Zion canyon – hike or bike.
Horseback riding and mountain biking
are also options at the guest ranch.
Note: We chose the guest ranch for access
to the Orderville Canyon hike. The hike is
extraordinary – but requires some rope
work (two short sections) and lots of
wading and swimming.
Zion Ponderosa Ranch Resort
800-293-5444 or 435-648-2700
Breakfast, lunch and dinner included
Return to Denver