Join Western Spirit on this incredible five-day & four-night guided gravel bike ride through a stunning mix of mountains and desert. Beginning in the quintessential alpine setting of Telluride, Colorado we will ride up to the Uncompahgre Plateau with views of the San Miguel and La Sal mountain ranges. Distances will range from 35 to 55 miles per day, including a 3,000 foot climb up John Brown Canyon, followed by a breathtaking descent into the valley of Moab, Utah. This trip has been designed for more experienced gravel bike riders that have plenty of gravel bike-specific experience. Although this route follows dirt roads, much of this trip travels on rugged 4-wheel drive areas and will require a good amount of physical fitness as a lot of the trip will be spent at higher elevations with Telluride, Colorado sitting at 8,750 feet above sea level. If you're looking for challenging climbs and long descents, this is the trip for you. The late Spring/early Summer is the perfect time to visit this amazing area.
This great ride begins in historic Telluride, after our three hour shuttle from Moab. Our route takes us directly underneath the dramatic Mount Sneffels Wilderness Area and offers outstanding views of the snow capped San Juan Mountains. In the early summer the wildflowers are incredible. In the fall, the golden hue of aspen and scrub oak add a nice touch to the spectacular mountain scenery. This afternoon, we will climb up towards Last Dollar Pass, which is just over 10,500 feet. This is a tough long climb but the awesome scenery will keep you going. Our camp is situated just over the top of the pass and we’re sure that you’ll understand why this is one of our favorites. TOTAL MILEAGE: 14 miles ELEVATION GAIN: 2,400 feet
Our second day begins with a fun descent down the backside to Hastings Mesa and Route 62 which we will follow for two to three miles before heading back to the dirt. On this 2,200 foot downhill, we will descend through beautiful meadows filled with lush stands of aspen trees. A few rollers and a great creek crossing keep the fun level high. After our long descent, we begin a gradual climb up to the Uncompahgre Plateau which we will follow for the next few days. Views off to the south of the plateau lend a proper perspective to this amazing area. From the mesas, we can see the valleys far below us and the snow capped peaks above us. The plant life changes as dramatically as do our views. Tonight our camp will be in the aspens at 9,000 feet. TOTAL MILEAGE: 39 miles ELEVATION GAIN: 3,100 feet
Our ride today takes us along the top of the Uncompahgre Plateau. From Windy Point, views of the La Sal Mountains are spectacular. Here the red rock desert country joins the mountains in an impressive geological display. The sediments that were laid down millions of years ago were warped upwards when the mountains rose from beneath the surface. The resultant landscape provides an interesting contrast of high snow capped peaks and arid desert. We can see the route that we will be following on our way to the La Sals. Yet the steep climb up John Brown Canyon remains deceptively hidden.
TOTAL MILEAGE: 52 miles ELEVATION GAIN: 2,800 feet
Today we will roll along the plateau through pine forests before we begin a great descent through a beautiful canyon. The vegetation in this canyon is quite diverse and changes dramatically as we lose elevation. Today we will visit a point overlooking Unaweep Canyon where we can see a 3000 foot descent to the Delores River which is our lunch spot for the day. After lunch we will pursue the biggest climb of the trip up John Brown Canyon. We will camp on Fisher Mesa high above the Colorado River at 8,300 feet. Here on the mesa top our view encompasses both the mountains and the desert. There are few places in the world where such a perspective is possible! TOTAL MILEAGE: 55 miles ELEVATION GAIN: 6,900 feet
If you like to ride downhill, you will love today’s ride. We will descend a total of 5,700 vertical feet and 31 miles into the Moab Valley. We will begin our ride on the north side of the La Sal Mountains and work our way around to the central range, high above the Moab Valley. But first we start with a quick tour of the evidence of life here about 80 million years ago. Hidden in the scrub oak at an elevation of 7,500 feet are dinosaur track impressions in the rock. They’re about twice the size of anyone’s Sidis! While still pondering this amazing site we’ll hop on our bikes for a ripping 1,700 foot descent toward Castle Valley. We will get on the La Sal Mountain Loop Road (paved) and climb about seven miles up to Bald Mesa. In the afternoon, we ride a great 26 mile, 4,000 foot descent into the
Moab Valley. TOTAL MILEAGE: 35 miles ELEVATION GAIN: 1,800 feet
Itineraries are subject to change due to weather, road conditions, rider safety and other factors which may affect the logistics of the adventure.
Road Surface: Hard packed clay, loose gravel. Mostly dirt road route, no singletrack. Some loose, rocky sections. Some pavement. Overall Rating: Advanced Technical Difficulty: Moderate Physical Difficulty: Difficult. Steep climbs, long days and high elevations make this ride a challenging one. Altitude: 4,000 - 10,500 feet
This trip will meet at 7:00 AM MST at Aarchway Inn, 1551 North Riverview 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 Monday - Friday, 9 - 5 to schedule your pickup.
We will return to Moab between 2:00-3:00 PM on the last day.
GETTING TO MOAB, UT
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 Express at 435-260-9289 for shuttles.
Flying into Grand Junction, CO
Airport Code: GJT
From Grand Junction there are 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.
2) Contact Moab Express at 435-260-9289 for shuttles.
Flying into Moab
Airport Code: CNY
The airline that offers service into Canyonlands Field Airport:
UNITED EXPRESS - Operated by SkyWest www.united.com
Contact Moab Express at 435-260-9289 for shuttles to and from Canyonlands Field Airport.
LODGING BEFORE YOUR TRIP
It is a good idea to book your rooms in advance; here are a few recommendations:
Aarchway Inn -(10% off for WS guests)
435-259-2599 - please call for ^discount
Red Stone Inn -Bikes allowed in room.
800-772-1972, 435-259-3500 moabredstone.com
Be sure to bring everything on this list. We have carefully developed this list to ensure your comfort on the tour regardless of the weather. If you are prepared for extreme weather, it is an adventure. If you are not prepared it can be a serious problem. We recommend the layering system, including a wicking or long underwear layer, an insulating layer and a weather barrier for wind and rain. This list reflects that philosophy. Weather in the mountains can be unpredictable so be sure to bring all the warm clothing and rain gear listed!
HOW TO PACK: When you arrive for your tour, you will be given a dry bag in which to pack your gear for the trip. Smaller bags may fit, but very large duffels will not.
To pack efficiently in a dry bag, we highly recommend you compartmentalize your clothing and gear into separate bags. Stuff sacks, reusable grocery bags,
etc. in different colors work great for this (example: cycling gear in blue stuff sack, camp clothes in red stuff sack, etc.).
Your dry bag will ride on the Western Spirit support vehicle and will not be accessible during the day.
For this trip, you will need a riding pack and optional day bag:
Your riding pack may be a hydration pack, but needs to carry 2-3 liters of water, rain gear, other warm clothing, and food for the day. You may be
away from camp and the support vehicle all day and need to be self-sufficient.
A small day bag is optional and may be used to store things you’d rather not ride with, but would like to have access to during the day. This daypack will remain with the support vehicle and may not be accessible, depending on the day.
WHAT WE PROVIDE:
✓ meals, snacks, water, electrolyte drinks, non-alcoholic drinks
✓ camp mugs, all kitchen and dining ware
✓ 1 cycling water bottle
✓ camp chairs
✓ dry bags to pack your gear
✓ solar showers
✓ sunscreen & bug spray
✓ bike stand and lube
✓ guides bring their own tools
✓ first aid kit with basic medications
BRINGING OR RENTING
o bike (Our rentals come with flat pedals. You are welcome to bring your own if you prefer.) o helmet (gratis w/rental bike) o tent o sleeping bag o sleeping pad
o cycling shoes o 3 - 5 pair cycling shorts o 3 - 5 cycling shirts o long sleeve cycling shirt o long sleeve cotton shirt or solar sleeves o cycling socks o windbreaker o tights or leg warmers o 2 pair cycling gloves (1 pair full length for warmth) o rain jacket (Gore-Tex or similar) o rain pants (Gore-Tex or similar) o warm layer (lightweight synthetic puffy jacket or long sleeve fleece shirt) o sunglasses or other eye protection
o camp shorts o shirts o warm socks o long underwear, top and bottom (wicking layer, not cotton) o 2 pair warm long pants o long sleeve fleece or sweater o pile or down jacket (insulating layer) o warm gloves and hat o brimmed hat or visor o bathing suit (for solar showers on the trip and at the hotel before/after your trip) o hiking shoes o sandals o cheap PVC rain gear (to wear in camp)
o toiletries o medication (daily and emergency) o towel o biodegradable soap o wet-wipes o flashlight or headlamp (with extra batteries) o sunglasses o optional day bag o stuff sacks or reusable grocery bags (or separate compartments for your dry bag) o cash for tipping guides: your guides work as a team and share all of their gratuities. A tip of 10-20% of the price of your trip given to either one of your guides when you return to civilization is a great way to say thanks for a job well done.
o camera, extra batteries o binoculars o alcoholic or any of your favorite beverages (your guides will pack these) o books or maps o we encourage you to turn your devices off, but if you cannot, please bring a way to charge them. We recommend a portable USB charger with 1-2 charges. Also, putting your phone on airplane mode to save power is recommended.
Need more information about our bike trips? Check out what a bike trip is all about by visiting our camping and FAQ page or be the first to know about new trips, last minute trip openings and future discounts by subscribing to our newsletter.
Rise & Shine
How do you like to start your day? If you like waking up to hot coffee and unforgettable sunrises you’re in luck. Delicious cowboy coffee, fresh fruit salad, pancakes, bacon, granola, yogurt and more.
“Food was WAY better than I expected. I like to eat healthy and was worried about “camping food.” The guides prepared amazing food. The trip was a blast in general with gorgeous scenery and good campsites. Guides were very friendly, patient and helpful”
The guides made the trip totally beyond awesome. They were fun, the food was WAY better than I expected, the rides could be were tailored, guiding was superb, trails were a blast, our campsite was sweet. I have zero complaints.
The food was fantastic! I didn’t expect such meals. The guides were so friendly, helpful, and entertaining. They really worked well together. Also, they made sure that everyone in their various skill levels enjoyed the rides and that there was enough for everyone.
“Warmth, humor, seriously good people skills,professionalism, competence. They execute their very serious responsibilities with confidence-inspiring grace.”
“I had been to Canyonlands two years prior so knew scenery was outstanding but it takes on even more magnificence when seen from seat of bike. The guides were awesome and supportive. Food was better than in most restaurants and more than you could eat.”
“Normally I do self supported but having someone else make excellent food makes me want to do it again”
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been on any organized event and this one was simply amazing. My skill and fitness level were not up to those as others in the group but never once did I feel intimidated…”
Great salads at lunch, a lot of variety, they guides had food specially prepared for those of us with food issues. Plus, they set up our chairs in the best spots!
“To begin with the landscape and scenery was majestic and awesome. The guides were all instrumental in enhancing the experience with their knowledge, skills, and out of the goodness of their character.”
“Very accommodating of me being vegan, very cheerful and nice.”
“The trip was one of the most incredible experiences of my life… the scenery, the views, the guides, and the food! I loved how great the meals were!!! The guides were unbelievable cooks! After biking all day, to be able to sit down and eat a great meal & drink a beer …man, it was great!”
Your guides are your ambassadors, they are fun, energetic and very knowledgeable. I would not do anything different.
“I was tired at the end of each day and to have everything taken care of as far as dinner and cleanup, it was so nice to have that not be my issue. The guides were amazing, simply amazing….the food was always excellent, their personalities are different but blended with everyone perfectly!”
“This was our 3rd trip with Western Spirit, so we knew what to expect from the guides and the support they’d provide. The trip itself was spectacular – the scenery was unbeatable and the weather was perfect.”
“I was worried riding and camping with a group… could I keep up?… would I “fit in”? I was able to keep up and push myself and was challenged by the terrain, I loved it! The group was great I had nothing to worry about, everyone was friendly and supportive.”
“Great salads at lunch, a lot of variety, they guides had food specially prepared for those of us with food issues. Plus, they set up our chairs in the best spots!”
Camping with great friends can be an incredibly rewarding experience. It offers the perfect opportunity to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of daily life and reconnect with nature and each other.
We base our itineraries around the trails that we love to ride, but also around great camp locations. We love to find the perfect place next to rivers or lakes, or by vistas and sunset spots. In many of our camps you can take a dip in the lake or take a solar shower to get cleaned up, before kicking back and enjoying the view. We want you to relax and enjoy your home for the night. That is why we have camp set-up, cold drinks ready to enjoy, and appetizers ready to serve. We have all the tables, chairs, and shelters to make a small village and it is surprisingly easy to call our camp home. We take pride in our menu and our backcountry cooking skills. We build our menus on your dietary preferences and restrictions and happily accommodate each individual in the group. You’ll enjoy campfires, legendary chocolate brownies, and great conversation, accompanied by the best stargazing ever. After nearly 30 years of sharing the great outdoors with people from around the world, we know you’ll enjoy the comforts of Western Spirit style camping.
Whether your trip includes: riding the Rainbow Rim Trail; enjoying breathtaking views of the Grand Canyon; leading your friends on the White Rim Road in Canyonlands; or ripping down the singletrack of the North Umpqua Trail, we look forward to sharing our favorite rides and trails..After reviewing our route that we lovingly call our “map talk” we will head out for the day. If you are a faster rider we will happily let you lead ahead at your own pace. For folks who want more instruction, our guides are all trained in teaching mountain bike skills and helping you ride successfully on whatever type of terrain the day presents. There will always be a tail guide at the end of the group to make sure everything is going smoothly. If you need assistance we will take care of maintaining and repairing your bike throughout the day. Lunchtime is usually met with excitement as we prepare, our famous Western Spirit salads, custom sandwiches, along with fruit and snacks to keep you going. After lunch, we get back on our bikes and for more great riding. We always take time to enjoy our surroundings, share knowledge about the natural and cultural history of the land around us and snap lots of photos.
How do you like to start your day? If you like waking up to hot coffee and unforgettable sunrises you’re in luck. Delicious cowboy coffee, fresh fruit salad, pancakes, bacon, granola, yogurt and more await you. We take our cooking seriously and for good reason. We want to make sure you are well fueled and ready for the day ahead. In the morning you can expect to enjoy the comforts of a well-prepared breakfast, quiet mornings at camp, and plenty of time to prepare for a day in the backcountry. Your guides are expert backcountry chefs who magically take care of everything: cooking, clean up, bike maintenance, and loading our custom build support trucks. All you have to do pack up your luggage, and get ready to ride your bike.