Any riding in/around Escalante, UT?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Any riding in/around Escalante, UT?

    The wife and I are going out to Grand Staircase-Escalante NM Labor Day weekend for canyon hiking, camping, sightseeing. Although we'll spend most of our time hiking, we'll definitely have the bikes with. All that slickrock, there has to be some fun, legal routes. I've searched the internet, and there are official roads that the BLM recommends as mountain bike rides, some might even be fun, but it's difficult to gauge since they're not focused on terrain, but rather on scenery.

    We'll drive out from Longmont, CO, to Fremont Junction, UT on I-70, then head South, any rides on the way to Torrey or Boulder? I noticed we'll pass by Fish Lake. More interested in sandstone riding, there's plenty of alpine riding here in CO.

    Thanks! Oh any other non-biking recommendations for the area are welcome. Very excited to get out there, we drove through the monument on our honeymoon, but had plans in Bryce and Zion, so no time to explore. I just remember vast expanses of slickrock for miles.

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by jonny boy
    The wife and I are going out to Grand Staircase-Escalante NM Labor Day weekend for canyon hiking, camping, sightseeing. Although we'll spend most of our time hiking, we'll definitely have the bikes with. All that slickrock, there has to be some fun, legal routes. I've searched the internet, and there are official roads that the BLM recommends as mountain bike rides, some might even be fun, but it's difficult to gauge since they're not focused on terrain, but rather on scenery.

    We'll drive out from Longmont, CO, to Fremont Junction, UT on I-70, then head South, any rides on the way to Torrey or Boulder? I noticed we'll pass by Fish Lake. More interested in sandstone riding, there's plenty of alpine riding here in CO.

    Thanks! Oh any other non-biking recommendations for the area are welcome. Very excited to get out there, we drove through the monument on our honeymoon, but had plans in Bryce and Zion, so no time to explore. I just remember vast expanses of slickrock for miles.
    I don't have first hand experience in this area, but i was going to suggest this online resource for Utah Mtbiking. www.utahmountainbiking.com Try the Southern Plateau section.

    Also a book I found at my local Utah library that I found quite resourceful was "The Insider's Guide to Southern Utah" by Lyman Hafen. Gives you the scoop on tons of stuff for this area.

    I looked on www.gorp.com (need to make a user name) and found biking for GS-ENM and a biking page.

    The best mountain biking is along the monuments many unpaved roads. Pick up a road map at the visitor center, and talk with the people at the desk. They can steer you to the areas that have been getting good reports, and away from roads that are washed out or uninteresting. If you want some destinations, here's two. . .
    The Paria Movie Set, originally constructed in the 1960s, was the"frontier town" in films starring John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Gregory Peck. The set is located on a dirt road, 5 miles northeast of Highway 89, between Kanab and Big Water City. This road is impassable when wet.

    Grosvenor Arch can be accessed on a dirt road approximately 9 miles southeast of Kodachrome Basin State Park, off Highway 12. Grosvenor Arch is not one, but a cluster of delicate white and gold arches towering high above the ground.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by jonny boy
    The wife and I are going out to Grand Staircase-Escalante NM Labor Day weekend for canyon hiking, camping, sightseeing. Although we'll spend most of our time hiking, we'll definitely have the bikes with. All that slickrock, there has to be some fun, legal routes. I've searched the internet, and there are official roads that the BLM recommends as mountain bike rides, some might even be fun, but it's difficult to gauge since they're not focused on terrain, but rather on scenery.

    We'll drive out from Longmont, CO, to Fremont Junction, UT on I-70, then head South, any rides on the way to Torrey or Boulder? I noticed we'll pass by Fish Lake. More interested in sandstone riding, there's plenty of alpine riding here in CO.

    Thanks! Oh any other non-biking recommendations for the area are welcome. Very excited to get out there, we drove through the monument on our honeymoon, but had plans in Bryce and Zion, so no time to explore. I just remember vast expanses of slickrock for miles.
    First post here but I've been lurking for a while. Thought I might be able to offer some help here. I spent a few days in Escalante a few years ago while traveling all over S. Utah.

    Can't help much on the rides but for hiking I'd recommend Spooky Gulch off the Hole-in-the-Rock Road. It's popular but pretty cool nonetheless.

    You might also track down a copy of Canyoneering 3 by Steve Allen. It may be tough to find but there's plenty in that book that'll keep you busy. I think there's also a Falcon guide to Grand Staircase-Escalante but I can't recall for sure.

    Also, stop by Escalante Outfitters. They're a good resource for information on the local area.

    cheers,
    dan

  4. #4

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    I just came back from Tropic (Bryce Canyon) and came home that way...I waws wondering the same thing. It looks like it has some potential.
    I would like to know as well.
    Thanks!!!

  5. #5
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    OK, I'll be sure to post a follow-up after we get back

    Thanks everyone...

    I did find a copy of the Canyoneering 3 book in the library, which lists a ton of hiking/canyoneering routes in the area. Definitely gonna check out Spooky and Peak-a-Boo gulches. I'll probably also rely on the BLM office for suggestions, since we don't have technical skills.

    The biking is limited to established roads. However, Moab "roads" can be quite fun - Amasa Back, Porc Rim, etc. - so I'm hopeful that some of the routes would be scenic yet also challenging. But I might not plan on bike rides while we're there, but instead just explore from our campsite in the afternoons when my wife is taking a nap.

  6. #6
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    Our Escalante trip

    Great time. Didn't even take the bike off the rack. No xc biking allowed in the monument. And the roads leave little to be desired, washboardy, sandy. I would bet there are some excellent trails on Boulder Mountain, that's a beautiful drive from Torrey into Boulder, large Aspen groves, I would check that out for Fall colors.

    Camped at Calf Creek Falls the first two nights, one of the few official camgrounds in the area. Very nice, very scenic campsite, though yellow jackets were a problem. Beautiful hike out to the falls, stained canyon walls, granaries.

    Hiked part of the Upper Escalante out of Escalante township, though we turned around due to inclement weather. Neat meandering canyon.

    Hiked to Phipps Arch and Maverick Natural Bridge. Again very beautiful. My wife couldn't make it up the slickrock near the arch. We were following mountain lion tracks up Phipps Wash, that keeps you on edge. From the overlook at the Kiva Coffeehouse, hiking further down Escalante would be a trip.

    Camped off Harris Wash Rd on Sunday night. Out in the middle of nowhere. The plan was to drive out to the TH and check out some of the slots, but we didn't make it all the way since we encountered an uphill sand section. My Dodge made it through OK in 4WD but the other vehicle did not have 4WD. Awoken in the middle of the night by coyotes baying.

    Explored Peak-a-Boo, and Dry Fork Coyote Gulch further down Hole-in-the-Rock. Very cool slot canyons. Didn't have time to shoot up Spooky. Picnic-ed at Devils Rock Garden, interesting formations and fun to scramble around.

    Our last day was spent in Capitol Reef. They have an excellent shaded campground, very cool in the Cottonwoods.

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