“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?" ”
Trail of the Ancients
- Jun 2, 2014 - Jun 6, 2014
- Jun 9, 2014 - Jun 13, 2014
- Jun 16, 2014 - Jun 20, 2014
- Sep 1, 2014 - Sep 5, 2014
- Sep 8, 2014 - Sep 12, 2014
The Trail of the Ancients takes us to one of the more remote mountain ranges in the Southwest, the Abajos.
This range is just south of the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The peaks pop right up out of the desert providing us with some of the best possible views of the region. Roughly 1,000 years ago, this area supported a well established community of Anasazi Indians. During this trip we will have the opportunity to visit some of their dwellings which still stand.
The riding is on dirt roads through both alpine and desert terrain. All the climbs are rewarded with awe inspiring views and fun descents.
This trip is not technical and is great for those with moderate fitness who are ready to try the dirt. Call us at 800-845-2453. We can answer all your questions about this fantastic tour.
Western Spirit Cycling Adventures specializes in guided bike trips, both mountain and road. 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 Trail of the Ancients tour is a beginner 5-day guided mountain bike trip in Utah.
Please provide a little information to see the full itinerary, travel logistics and other important details:
Trail of the Ancients Itinerary
MEETING TIME AND PLACE
This trip will meet at 7:30am MST at Western Spirit, 478 Mill Creek Drive, Moab, Utah. You will need to spend the night before in Moab. We will be happy to pick you up at your hotel, please call us Mon-Fri, 9-5 to schedule your pickup. Muffins, scones, fruit and coffee will be served.
ENDING TIME AND PLACE
We will return to Western Spirit between 3:00-4:00 pm on the last day.
TRIP DAY 1
From our shop in Moab, we will shuttle two hours to our starting point near Natural Bridges National Monument. Our ride begins with a short warm up and rolls right into a six mile 1,200 foot climb up to the Bears Ears. These prominent landmarks are visible from much of southern Utah and reach an elevation of just over 9,000 feet. From here, we descend to the aspen and Ponderosa Pine forests of Elk Ridge and some smooth easy riding. Elk Ridge is a narrow table top plateau, cut sharply on either side by spectacular red rock canyons. From here one can see the peaks of five major mountain ranges; the colorful and strangely eroded canyons of the Dark Canyon Wilderness Area and the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. Arch Canyon Overlook offers excellent views of the archaeologically rich canyon and the Grand Gulch Primitive Area. Easy cruising on smooth dirt roads takes us to our first night's camp at Hammond Canyon Overlook. Numerous side roads offer intriguing possibilities and fun riding for the extra energetic. TOTAL MILEAGE -15 miles
TRIP DAY 2
Today, we will ride down to one of the most fascinating Anasazi Indian ruins in southern Utah. The descent is somewhat technical and riders should use caution. We're sure you'll agree that it is well worth the trip. A six mile ride and a primitive canyon hike takes us to the ruins, precariously placed on a ledge 200 feet up the cliff wall. We'll enjoy a packed lunch before we start our hike back. After our visit to these impressive dwellings we will hike back and begin the strenuous climb up the hill. Most of the climb is ridable, but there are a few short steep rocky pitches. Once back at camp, there are many riding and hiking options for the late afternoon. TOTAL DISTANCE - 12 miles, 3 miles hiking
TRIP DAY 3
From our camp at Hammond Canyon, we continue along Elk Ridge to our high point of the day, The Notch. Bordering the Dark Canyon Wilderness Area to the west and Cottonwood Wash to the east, The Notch displays the geologic complexities of this high plateau country. The uplifted Abajo Mountains, the red rock wonderland of the Needles and the broken canyon country in between, signify millions of years of geologic activity. From The Notch, we roll along the ridge past Duck Lake (usually just a meadow by mid-summer!) and the Gooseberry Ranger Station to our camp at Sego Flat. This is some of the best Mule Deer and elk habitat in the state and we may see large herds near camp. TOTAL MILEAGE - 17 miles
TRIP DAY 4
From our camp on Sego Flat, we will ride into the heart of the Abajo Mountains. This is the big day! Points of interest include the Reef of Rocks, Chippean Rocks, Maverick Point Overlook, the Skull and Crossbones and the Causeway. The roller coaster like ride threads an intricate line through spectacular canyon country before breaking out directly beneath the high peaks. At the Causeway the width of the road is all that separates two opposing and deeply cut canyons. There's a lot of climbing today as we experience this terrain, but each effort is rewarded with a flowing downhill. This entire area was home to the Anasazi and hidden ruins are perched high above the canyon floor in natural alcoves. From our final descent into Dry Wash, we'll begin our six mile climb to our camp in the Ponderosas near the headwaters of Johnson Creek. TOTAL MILEAGE - 28 miles (sag option)
TRIP DAY 5
Our last morning begins with a three mile climb to Jackson Ridge. You'll wind in and out of the aspen trees and pedal past trickling brooks on your way to the ridge. It's a strenuous way to start out the morning and we'll enjoy a snack at the pass. At 10,000 feet, the views are as far reaching as they are spectacular. From here, we'll drop into Indian Creek, one of the main drainages of the Abajo Mountains and begin our second (and final!) climb for the morning. The road takes us up and around the headwaters of Indian Creek to the pass between Abajo Peak and Horsehead Peak, your highest point on the whole trip. From here, the route plummets some 3,000 vertical feet to the town of Monticello, through many vegetation zones. Starting in the fir forests, we descend through the aspens, to the pinyons and junipers, then to scrub oaks and all the way back down to the high desert plateau. In Monticello we are picked up by our shuttle vehicle for the return to Moab. TOTAL MILEAGE - 16 miles
Road Surface: Dirt roads: hard packed sediment and clay, some sandy sections.
Technical Difficulty: Easy to moderate, smooth dirt roads.
Physical Difficulty: Moderate, some strenuous climbing.
Altitude: 4,000 - 10,000 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.