Clay and I travelled to Utah over spring break for a mountain bike tour in Canyonlands National Park. I had never been to Canyonlands. It sits quite a ways off of any highway and it did not seem there was much to do there… at least not from a car! Our tour lasted for 4 days and it took us on a 4 wheel drive road they call the White Rim. It earned its name for the layer of white rocks on which it spends most of its miles. Our tour was with rimtours.com.
We met in Moab on Sunday, March 28 to begin our tour. We put our gear in dry bags and they loaded them on a big 4 x 4 pick up truck – specially outfitted to provide for our needs on our adventure. We loaded in vans and drove about 45 minutes from Moab, out a dirt road and were dropped off. We hopped on our bikes and began. There were 12 riders plus two guides. One guide drove the truck while the other rode along with us. After a couple “warm up” miles we took a rather steep, and perhaps a little scary, twisty road down from the rim of the canyon to the bottom, along the Green River. Most of our day was spent easily riding along the river, slightly downhill. After a while we climbed a level and parked our bikes. We took a hike out to the end of a “peninsula” and climbed up to an ancient Kiva. Afterwards we enjoyed a steep downhill, back to the riverside for the first night’s camp! Here is a relive video of the ride and hike, plus some additional pictures!
Upon arriving at camp they unloaded our bags and we set up our tents. I won a really nice tent last year and it went up quickly and easily. Our guides got to work preparing “hot towels” to wash off the ride, and then dinner. They were very good cooks. Dinner the first night was perfectly broiled Salmon!! I should have taken a picture! We got a good night’s sleep and woke for day 2.
We continued our ride onward to camp. This time finishing with pretty tough uphill climb.
Day two ended on top of a mesa above the white rim. It was quite beautiful, and somewhat windy. We had a big rock in camp though, and everyone gathered on the downwind side of it for warmth and company. The night was windy. Some campers intentionally left the rain fly off of their tents so that they would not flap noisily around. I put in ear plugs and slept just fine.
Day 3 was the longest but probably easiest day of the ride… the wind was often behind us and having stared on a high plateau, there was more descent than climbing.
Our last night camping, was a long one. It had been a peaceful afternoon/evening with just a little wind, but when bed time came so did the wind. My ear plugs where not enough to allow me to sleep through gusts which bent the tent inside out a bit with one corner pushing in against my face, I reversed direction so that it would hit my feet instead. Still it was too loud and wild to sleep through. Finally I got up and removed the canopy. I put my heavy jacket on and crawled into my sleeping bag. The wind now blew through the mesh tent without so much disruption. I was snug and warm and I got some sleep.
Our last day, day 4 was really easy…. until it wasn’t! We rode a while and stopped at an arch. Then we went over a smaller hill and down the other side. The last 2.5 miles however was a 1200′ climb out of the canyon. Looking up it was amazing to thing that they would even attempt to build a road there. I made it part way and resorted to doing some walking. I found my walking pace to be almost as fast as I had been riding anyway…. At the top, we relaxed, enjoyed sandwiches, and waited for the others.
Finally, I would like to add a recommendation for Rim Tours in Moab. They offer day tours and overnight tours in Utah, Oregon, Arizona and Colorado. Clay and I enjoyed our time immensely. So much so, that we have already booked our next “rim tours” excursion – a 4 day tour along the North Rim of The Grand Canyon! We are looking forward to it!!