“The guides have been all exceedingly friendly, helpful, and genuinely fun to be around, especially to my son, whose first question upon returning home is always, "Where are we going next year?" ”
Grand Staircase Escalante
- May 5, 2013 - May 10, 2013
- Sep 15, 2013 - Sep 20, 2013
- Sep 22, 2013 - Sep 27, 2013
The Grand Staircase has been called a “world class view a minute.”
And it’s true. Our tour takes us through the incredible Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument.
We begin at the wonderful Boulder Mountain Lodge in the tiny town of Boulder, Utah. After a hike along Calf Creek, we descend on the Burr Trail to Capitol Reef National Park. The Henry Mountains, the last mountain range to be explored in the lower 48, tower over the elaborate canyons which make up the Waterpocket Fold of Capitol Reef. After a great hike to the top of the reef, we continue our descent toward the shores of Lake Powell.
This trip is a great way to see the heart of Utah’s fascinating and diverse geology. With two nights at the Lodge and three nights of camping, it is a perfect introduction to mountain bike touring, and riders of all abilities will marvel at the scenery. Questions? Just give us a ring: 800-845-2453. We’ll help answer all your questions about this fantastic trip.
Western Spirit Cycling Adventures specializes in guided road and mountain bike trips. Whether you are looking for supported tours on singletrack, doubletrack or road you can use our trip finder page to discover your perfect biking experience. This Grand Staircase Escalante tour is a 6-day beginner mountain bike trip in Utah.
Please provide a little information to see the full itinerary, travel logistics and other important details:
Grand Staircase Escalante Itinerary
MEETING TIME AND PLACE
This trip will meet at 1:00pm MST at Western Spirit Cycling, 478 Mill Creek Drive, Moab, Utah. After loading the van, we will drive to the Boulder Mountain Lodge for our first night. The drive is approximately 4 1/2 hours. Lunch will not be provided on Sunday but we will be happy to pick you up at your hotel, please call us Mon-Fri, 9-5 to schedule your pickup. You may meet us in Hanksville, Utah at 3:30 pm if this is more suitable to your travel plans. Please call us for specific instructions.
ENDING TIME AND PLACE
We will return to Western Spirit between 5:00-6:00 pm on the last day
TRIP DAY 1
Our tour will meet in the afternoon in Moab and begin with a shuttle through Utah's most spectacular and largely undiscovered territory. The dynamics of the terrain include the San Rafael Swell, the sandstone domes of Capitol Reef National Park, the "Mars-like" landscape of Hanksville and finally aspen swept Boulder Mountain. We will land at the charming Boulder Mountain Lodge where you can walk the grounds as the sun sets over the Escalante canyons. We will dine together at Hell's Backbone Grill, the Lodge's intimate restaurant serving five-star cuisine, and anticipate the week's events.
TRIP DAY 2
After spending a comfortable night at the Boulder Mountain Lodge in Boulder, Utah we'll begin our first ride. Today's route takes us along one of the most scenic drives in all of Utah. We'll head west towards the town of Escalante along the area known as the hogback, with incredible views in all directions. The unique geology and complicated canyons of the Escalante River are quite mind boggling. We will descend from the hogback to Calf Creek where we'll leave our bikes and embark on the trail to Lower Calf Creek Falls. This is a six mile hike which includes a great introduction to desert plants, incredible views of Anasazi granaries, some haunting petroglyphs and of course a visit to the falls. After our hike, we will shuttle or ride back to the Boulder Mountain Lodge for our second night. TOTAL MILEAGE - 10-20 miles of riding, 6 miles of hiking
TRIP DAY 3
From the lodge, we'll begin a downhill ride on the Burr Trail through the newly established Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. After years of controversy, the first 30 miles of this trail have been paved. The ride begins on a high plateau named Durffy Mesa, which is surrounded by interesting slickrock formations. As we drop into the narrows of Long Canyon, sheer sandstone walls rise for several hundred feet above us. Along the way we'll pass through The Gulch, the Circle Cliffs and Deer Creek Recreation Area. A moderate climb brings us to Studhorse Peaks, our "camp with a view" for the next two nights. Our 270 degree view includes the Henry Mountains, Boulder Mountain and Navajo Mountain, a sacred religious place for the Navajos. TOTAL MILEAGE - 30 miles
TRIP DAY 4
Today we will do a loop from camp on the Wolverine Loop Road. The road provides some great swooping downhill sections interspersed with a few rolling climbs. We begin in the pinyon and juniper trees and drop down below the Wingate Sandstone. Views of the Henry Mountains, which rise 7,000 feet from the surrounding countryside, are spectacular. Lunch will be at the entrance to the Wolverine Petrified Wood Area where we can learn even more about the vast natural history of our surroundings. After lunch we'll pedal through Horse Canyon and Wolverine Canyon, where the road and the drainage become one. At the junction of the Burr Trail, we'll load into the van for a quick shuttle back to camp. The hearty may opt to ride the nine miles. TOTAL MILEAGE - 28-37 miles
TRIP DAY 5
As we ride out of camp today, in the foreground lies the twisted rock formations of the Waterpocket Fold. As we enter Capitol Reef National Park, the contrast of the mountains and canyons creates a dramatic interface. After a quick five miles, we'll turn off the Burr Trail and ride out to the trailhead at Upper Muley Twist Canyon. At the beginning of our hike, we'll have a wonderful view looking right up the Fold. This canyon was named by the Mormons who arrived in their wagons. They said traveling through the canyon would "twist a mule." At this point, we will still be traveling in the shadow of the Henrys, the last mountain range to be mapped and explored in the lower 48 states. Free roaming buffalo herds are still part of the mountain ecosystem. After our hike we'll head back to the Burr Trail for lunch at the top of the Water Pocket Fold switchbacks. Descending the spectacular switchbacks places us at the base of the fold where we head south to our camp at the Brimhall Arch Overlook. This camp is memorable. TOTAL MILEAGE - 29 miles of riding, 1 mile of hiking
TRIP DAY 6
After leaving camp this morning, we will ride the most primitive section of the entire tour. Along this double track road, we will experience a few short, technical sections as we cross a series of drainages. Our route will parallel Muley Twist Canyon to the west and Bullfrog Creek to the east. Once we hit the pavement, our ride is all downhill to Bullfrog Bay, on the shores of Lake Powell. Lake Powell is a 200 mile long manmade lake formed by the controversial damming of the Colorado River. Despite the fact that so much fascinating country now lies underwater, the lake itself is quite beautiful. Along the shoreline, red rock cliffs drop sharply into its clear waters creating a stunning scene. TOTAL MILEAGE- 16 miles
Riding Surface: Variable, dirt roads, broken slickrock, clay, pavement.
Technical Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
Physical Difficulty: Easy to moderate.
Altitude: 4,000 - 8,000 feet.
Please Note: Itineraries are subject to change due to weather, road conditions, rider safety, and other factors which may affect the logistics of the adventure.
Moab is located 30 miles south of Interstate 70 on Highway 191. We have a roomy parking area.
-Flying into Salt Lake City, UT
Airport Code: SLC
From Salt Lake City there are 2 options.
1) Rent a car and drive to Moab, it will take approximately 4 hours. You can park at our shop while you are on your tour.
2) Contact Moab Luxury Coach at 435-940-4212 to make a reservation. They have a limited schedule, so please contact them to find get rates and days they drive.
-Flying into Grand Junction, CO
Airport Code: GJT
From Grand Junction there are now 2 options.
1) Rent a car and drive to Moab, it will take approximately 2 hours. You can park at our shop while you are on your tour.
Thrify Car Rental has an office in Moab 435-259-7317.
2) Contact Moab Luxury Coach at 435-940-4212 to get rates and days that they drive.
-Flying into Moab
Great Lakes Aviation flies from Denver to Moab for $99 each way. They have two flights daily. Scheduled flight times and additional pricing can be found on their website. Or call 800-554-5111 to make a reservation.
For a shuttle from the Moab Airport into town call Coyote Shuttle at 435-259-8656, or Rising Star Taxi at 435-210-4438.
It is a good idea to book your rooms ahead and here are a few recommendations.
Best Western Canyonlands Inn
The Ramada is where the Bighorn Express shuttle from Salt Lake City stops.
Red Stone Inn
They have a bike work station with stand and bikes are allowed in your room.
Big Horn Lodge
$90 and up
Cali Cochitta B&B
Dream Keeper Inn
The Gonzo Inn
$160 and up
Up the Creek Campground
$25-30, $6 showers
Moab/Canyonlands Central Reservations
Central Reservations represents every variety of lodging in Moab and will help you choose the ideal room for you.
Above rates are approximate.
There are really just two kinds of weather: weather you like and weather you do not like. Come prepared for both and you won't care what the weather does.
If you have questions about temperatures for your specific trip please feel free to give us a call 800-845-2453 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We will be happy to give you packing suggestions and help you with ideas for things to do before and after your bike trip.
PACKING FOR YOUR TRIP
You will receive a tour packing list with your tour confirmation package. Be sure to bring everything on this list. Weather in the mountains can be unpredictable so be sure to bring all the warm clothing and rain gear listed! When you arrive for your tour, we will give you a dry bag in which to pack your gear. If you have questions about anything on the list, please call us.
SHIPPING YOUR BIKE
You are welcome to ship your bike to us in advance of your trip. For a moderate fee we will unpack it, build it, and ship it back home to you afterwords. Bikes can be insured to $4,000. Domestic shipping only. If you decide you want to go this route, you must call us in advance of your trip so we can inform the shop that your bike is on its way.
To ship your bike UPS, send it to Western Spirit Cycling, 478 Mill Creek Dr, Moab, UT 84532; 435-259-8732. It is critical that you include your name and tour date on the outside of the box. Check with your local UPS people for the number of days needed for it to arrive in time. There is no Saturday delivery to Moab. It is imperative to have your bike finely tuned and cleaned before your tour so you know it is in top running condition.
If you have any other questions about trip logistics, please feel free to send us an email or, better yet, to call us at 800-845-2453. We will be happy to try to help you answer any other questions you might have about our bike trips.
THINGS TO DO
The Moab Diner, 189 S. Main St - classic greasy spoon, great service
Jail House Café, 101 N. Main St - up scale menu w/ eggs Benedict and ginger pancakes
Red Rock Bakery, 74 S. Main St - fresh baked bagels, muffins, scones
The Peace Tree, 20 S. Main St - juice bar, smoothies, wraps
Slickrock Café, Main and Center St - full menu
Banditos Grill, 467 N. Main - great Mexican
Zax Woodfire Pizza, 96 S. Main - pizza, burgers, etc
The Center Café, 100 West, 435-259-4295 - award winning globally inspired cuisine
Buck's Grill House, 1393 Highway 191, 435-259-5201 - excellent steaks
The Desert Bistro, 92 E. Center, 435-259-0756 - great southwestern food
The books listed below can be purchased by calling Canyonlands Natural History Association at 800-840-8978 or checking out http://www.cnha.org/.
DESERT SOLITAIRE by Edward Abbey
This is the quintesenitial Abbey tale, and a thought provoking historical view of Moab.
THE MONKEY WRENCH GANG by Edward Abbey
This early tail of the environmental struggle is set in the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park.
Your guides will have all the maps necessary for your trip. If you would like your own copy for a souvenir, here is all the info:
The maps listed below can also be purchased by calling Canyonlands Natural History Association at 800-840-8978 or checking out http://www.cnha.org/.
MOAB EAST, Latitude 40
This map covers many Moab area rides.
MOAB WEST, Latitude 40
This map covers the White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park.
CANYONLANDS NATIONAL PARK: Maze District/NE Glen Canyon NRA
National Geographic Trails Illustrated
This map covers the Maze.
For all rides we recommend the Moab East and West maps.
Gemini Bridges - a great 2-3 hour introductory ride which can be done with a shuttles, we recommend Acme Shuttle at 435-260-2534 or Coyote Shuttle at 435-259-8656.
Porcupine Rim - a more advance 3 to 6 hour 20-30 mile adventure that can also involve the shuttle companies above.
Amasa Back - Take the Kane Creek Road off Main Street by Burger King and head out along the Colorado River through the Moab Valley Portal. This ride is an out-and-back and can be fun even if you don't make it past the pavement.
Canyon Voyages, 800-773-6007 - whitewater rafting and kayaking on the Colorado River, including half-day, full-day, and multi-day options
Arches National Park, 435-719-2299, 5 miles North of Moab on Highway 191 - hike to the famous Delicate Arch (4 miles round trip) or explore the Windows section of the Park. Whether you have a hole day or just a few hours, Arches is worth the trip.
Other Hikes - There are literally hundreds of hikes in the Moab area, we recommend Negro Bill Canyon or Hidden Valley if you have some time to explore.
Main Street in Moab - Almost all of Moab's shops can be reached by strolling down Main Street. You can find everything from silver Navajo jewelry to toy lizards.