HELP me plan a Mountain Bike trip
Looking for some advice on planning a 50 day mountain bike trip.
General Outline: I have a two month window to make a trip out west and I want to try and ride most of the "Epic Rides". I will be traveling from Michigan. Thinking of heading to Colorado, Utah, Arizona, travel north up the Rockies, Oregon, Washington, Whistler BC, then head home.
I will be with 2-3 buddies, all of us will have 100mm hardtails and another bike in the 140mm front and rear range. We will be traveling by vehicle and trying to ride as many trail systems as possible in those 50 days.
I am looking for any general route advice so I can hit as many great trail systems as possible
Nice, a dream road trip :-) This advice assumes travel in spring or early summer. Go north first if you start your trip in August unless you like baking on bare rock at 115F. June is hot during the day but you can get in rides very early and late in the day. We get up at 5:30 and ride to 11 or so in June.
Head west on I-70 to Grand Junction / Fruita in western CO. A great bike shop, Over The Edge Sports, is in Fruita and they have lots of local info. There are three main areas to ride, the incredible Lunch Loops across the Colorado River from Grand Junction, the 18 Road flow trails east of Fruita, and the various trails around the Kokopelli Trail near Loma just north of Fruita. Horse Thief Mesa is probably the most famous there. 3 - 4 day minimum.
You can find all these trails on YouTube.
About an hour and a half west of Fruita is Moab. You probably know about those trails and they are well covered on YouTube. We spend 2 weeks a year there and still haven't rode all the trails. 1 week minimum. I have a video on YouTube with a trail analysis. Moab Mountain Biking for Intermediates - A Trail Analysis - YouTube and I'm making another video soon that I shot last April.
From here the bike trip trail forks south to AZ or west to Bryce National Park. West of Bryce is the Thunder Mountain Trail and one of our favorites for a big drop with fun flow and switchbacks. Extremely scenic. I have a video analysis of the trail on YouTube. Mountain Biking The Thunder Mountain Trail For Intermediates - A Trail Analysis - YouTube
From Bryce head through Zion NP and bike Gooseberry Mesa. Normally mesa tops aren't all that exciting but Gooseberry is full of technical surprises around every juniper. You have to think fast because the sight lines are minimal. You'll recognize the terrain from the Red Bull Rampage event videos. 2 days minimum. Over The Edge Sports has a shop in nearby Hurricane.
From St. George head down to Vegas, biking near Blue Diamond west of Vegas if you have time but no biggee, hit Death Valley and then to Kernville in the southern Sierras. Cannell Plunge is the trophy there. Mountain and River Adventures is a bike and river rafting shop with a campground that MTBers hang out at. 2 days minimum. Raft the lower Kern River!
Head south from Moab toward the Grand Canyon and bike around Sedona, AZ. More red rock terrain and very beautiful and challenging. 2 - 3 day minimum. There is also amazing cactus garden riding on the Arizona Trail east of Tucson. Yep, it is way out of the way but biking around huge saguaros, barrel cactus, etc is incredible!!! You'll get photos and videos to die for. Along the way hit challenging South Mountain south of Phoenix.
Lots of national parks to visit along the way.
Now head back north to Kernville and the Cannell Plunge.
From Kernville you can visit Sequoia NP, Yosemite, Tahoe and some good riding there, then north on Highway 89 and 49 to Downieville. Plenty of big drops to ride there and lots of info online. 3 - 4 days minimum.
If you decide to visit L.A. I recommend the trails coming off Mt. Wilson near Pasadena. More big plunge stuff. There is a shuttle.
If you decide to visit San Francisco we have good trails around the Bay Area but nothing like what you've been riding to this point.
I've rode in WA and AK, including amazing fly-in mountain biking alone in wilderness. However, there are better trails now and others can advise you from here. I skied Whistler in the late 60's early 70's but it is a different place now. There are supposed to be some good trails in OR but I know nothing about them. I pretty much stick to desert riding now except for the Sierras.
From Whistler head east to the Rockies and more thrills.
Some Moab trails have shuttles along with Cannell Trail and Downieville.
Have a great trip!!!!
If you think you may like downhill biking ski areas then Mammoth Mountain in the eastern Sierra and Northstar at North Tahoe are very popular.
Thanks for the input! Some really great advice here.
Looks like I have the first half of the trip pretty well planned out with your help. Along with at least 1 week in Whistler I have around 20 more days to spend making my way from Las Vegas to Whistler.
Any further help on this portion of the route?
Again, this is more help than I could have ever anticipated!
More advice? Yeah, get a national parks pass. You can visit a bunch of them! Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce, Zion, Grand Staircase, Grand Canyon, Saguaro, Death Valley, Sequoia - Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Lassen, Crater Lake, Rainier, Olympic, Glacier, Rocky Mountain.
Most areas have decent lodging but around Zion it can get expensive. Bring tents and camp out at times. Don't camp in the desert in a sand storm however :-) We prefer cabins in RV parks instead of hotel rooms. They sleep 4, one double bed and two bunks, and run around $45 - $65 a night. You can also camp at most RV parks and they are quieter than less established camps and have showers and hot tubs. RV park camps cost around $25 - $35. Forest Service camps are almost this price and don't include showers.
Moab will be full on many weekends in the spring. They have frequent events such as the Jeep Jamboree. Memorial Day weekend are will be nothing available within 100 miles except dry camping in the desert. The Sierra campgrounds will be full then also.
Camping in national parks is mostly by reservation only. Rare to drop in and get a site, especially in Yosemite.
If you can make this event in Fruita in April it is a blast! Demo top bikes all day in great terrain. Home - Fruita Fat Tire Festival - We will probably be there.
Fruita, Moab, and Kernville have great brewpubs :-)
Stay loose on road trips. Follow your emotion for more freedom. The West is huge and you can't do it all in a lifetime. If you are having too much fun to leave south Utah then roll with that.
Easy to utilize 20 days between LV and Oregon alone.
Las Vegas to Kernville CA as mentioned earlier. Kernville is easily 2-3 days of riding. Figure 5hrs of driving from LV to Kernville
Kernville to Mammoth CA. Mammoth Bike park is worth 2-3 days. 4hrs Kernville to Mammoth
Mammoth to Tahoe CA. Tahoe has a ton of riding. Easily 2-5 days there. 4hrs Mammoth to Tahoe
Tahoe to Susanville/Graegle/Downieville CA. 2-4 days easily in the Downieville area. 2hrs or so Tahoe to DVille.
Downieville to Mt Shasta CA. Shasta is a good stopover for a day. Check out "The Entertainer" . 4.5 hrs Dville to Shasta.
Shasta to Oregon. Lots of choices for Oregon destinations.
Ashland/Bend/Oakridge/Hood River. Each spot is worth multiple days. Take your pick. Hit them all or spend more time in just a few.
BTW-I usually head south from Moab and ride Flagstaff AZ and Sedona AZ and then head to Vegas. Easy drive from Flagstaff to Vegas.
Incredible riding in Flagstaff.
You would be remiss if you don't schedule 3-4 days in New Mexico (base yourself in ABQ):
The NM Trail Pix Thread
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