Mountain biking is steadily on track to becoming one of the most popular pastimes, hobbies and exercise activities in the United States – and we have some of the most beautiful hiking and mountain biking trails right here located throughout states like Utah, often running side-by-side.
Whether you’re new to the sport or already a veteran mountain biking enthusiast, Utah offers great mountain biking trails for bikers of every skill level.
If you already live in Utah, you’re lucky to be in one of the ideal locations for mountain biking trails; if you don’t, it’s a pretty good excuse to book a visit and take a look at the various biking trails the state has to offer.
Here’s a look at 9 of the best mountain biking trails in Utah for novice and advanced mountain biking enthusiasts – and a quick introductory guide on why mountain biking is great (but is always better in Utah!).
Why Mountain Biking is Great
If you’re completely new to the sport or thinking of taking it up soon, you might still be wondering why everyone is on about this mountain biking thing. After all, biking can also be done on open, flat roads – so why don’t people?
Mountain biking can be more challenging than regular road biking; instead of focusing simply on controlling the bike, mountain bikers also have to consider the terrain that they’re biking on while they do it – and every terrain is different as a mountain biker.
The sport of mountain biking offers a lot of aspects to it that regular road biking doesn’t, making it the first choice for anyone who has taken a bike out on the road and thought, “I’d like to do something that’s a little harder.”
As a mountain biker, you’ll get to see different things than a regular road biker – and you’ll get to work on completely different muscle groups.
It’s just part of why many people used to a regular road bike will make the switch.
Why Choose Utah?
Utah is one of the great mountainous states of the US – and this has given it a lot of great paths, curves and reserves that you won’t find in any other state.
Many of the trails you’ll find in Utah are ideal for mountain bikers who want to step it up, whether they started the sport a week ago or whether they already consider themselves more advanced mountain bikers in need of a serious challenge.
Some people choose Utah as their choice mountain biking state because they happen to be close enough; other times, people travel across the country to get to Utah just for the biking and hiking trails.
Why choose Utah?
Take a look at these 9 most popular hiking trails in the great state and you’ll have your answer!
New to MTB: What to Know
Before heading straight to a list of the best mountain biking trails in Utah, let’s go through a quick run of what you should know if you’re completely new to mountain biking – or still in the process of taking off your training wheels.
- Mountain biking is a great sport that can be practiced by people of all ages and all levels fitness or biking skill.
- Mountain biking is a fun, challenging alternative to regular road biking – and you’ll get to see and experience a whole lot more!
- Buy the best and most comfortable mountain bike that you can afford at the time you buy your first one: A lot of the mountain biking experience depends on what type of bike you have and how well it handles for you on the trail.
- Mountain biking trails are best booked in groups or with partners or friends. This is becuase it’s a lot more fun this way, but also because it’s a lot safer – and mountain bikers watch each others’ backs if someone gets lost, behind or hurt.
- Check your mountain bike before you head off on a trail: Make sure that everything is in the state (and set at the tension) that you are comfortable with. Planes are checked before they take off, and you should view checking your bike in much the same way: It’s safer.
- Carry a bike repair kit. It’s something that hundreds of beginner mountain bikers might forget before they leave the house – but this can cost you if something happens while you’re on the trail. A bike repair kit means that, if something happens, you can patch up the issue and move forward – but if you forget the kit, you might be stuck or forced to walk home with your bike instead.
- Carry water and snacks with you at all times. It’s another thing that novices will often forget to do – and blood sugar drops are common for anyone who is actively exercising. Hydration and health remains very, very important.
- Stretch: Mountain bikers – at least the healthy ones who don’t hurt themselves doing it – know to stretch before they get on the bike, stretch when they take a break and get off the bike and stretch when they finally reach their end destination. If you don’t, the build-up of lactic acid in your muscles and joints will mean that you’re going to be in a lot more pain the next day, and might be more likely to hurt yourself.
- Know what else has a huge impact on how comfortable or horrible your next mountain biking trail could be? What you’re wearing: Clothes are important for mountain biking – and uncomfortable clothes means that you’re going to be hot, in pain and might increase the pressure on your heart. Bad, loose clothing (like your average shirt) also increases your chances of hooking clothing against something else – and of course, of chafing.
The 9 Best Mountain Biking Trails in Utah
Let’s get to the part of the article that you came here to read if you’re planning to make a mountain biking trip to Utah anytime soon: The best mountain biking trails to consider in the state!
We’ve picked 9 of the best mountain biking trails in Utah for Moab mountain biking and anything you might find around it.
Of course, there are more biking trails out there for you to consider, but these are the nine most popular, most frequented and most comprehensive biking trails you’ll find.
Both novice and more advanced mountain bikers will find what they’re looking for amongst the 9 popular, best biking trails listed here. Start with these if you’re new, or continue with some of these if you’re ready for a real mountain biking challenge.
Once you’re done with The Essential Nine we’ve gone through below, you’re welcome to look up more hiking trails in the state of Utah – but of course, we’d recommend that interested mountain bikers finish the essential nine before they do.
1. The Bull Run Trail
This mountain biking trail stretches more than 1, 000 miles straight downhlil and it’s affectionately known by the locals as the Bull Run Trail because of the fact that it’s located near Bull Canyon – one of the most famous (and cetainly most gorgeous) canyons that you’ll find in the whole of the US.
It’s one of the first Utah trails you’re likely to encounter as a mountain biker, but this doesn’t mean by any means that it’s one of the easiest.
This trail can be done at any speed, but it’s more challenging than some of the others on this list thanks to the fact that it’s mostly a downhill run.
Luckily for newbies, the Bull Run Trail has plenty of places where you can stop, stretch your legs and hydrate. Even advanced mountain bikers will appreciate this chance to take a break.
2. The Porcupine Rim Trail / The Whole Enchilada Trail
Any mountain biker worth their salt near Salt Lake City will have heard of the Porcupine Rim Trail – sometimes referred to as the Whole Enchilada Trail. It’s one of the largest and longest biking trails in Utah and it stretches more than 33 miles of trail to explore.
It’s a great trail with plenty of stops to rest – and a variety of different things to see.
If you don’t feel up to the entire Whole of the Enchilada Trail, there are smaller varieties that include only a small stretch of the entire 33 mile span.
3. The Getaway Trail
The Getaway Trail is one of the first mountain trails to consider if you are already used to mountain biking and want to step it up to more of a challenge. It’s great for people who have been biking for a while – and some people who decide that they don’t mind taking a bumpy trail ride.
Challenging, with more than enough stop-overs for resting, hydrating and taking in the gorgeous surrounding scenery.
4. The Captain Ahab Trail
The Captain Ahab trail is partially constructed, and constructed to be hard: Take on the Captain Ahab trail if you’re feeling up to a very serious biking challenge that puts what you’ve learned about the sport of mountain biking to a real test.
This isn’t a trail recommended for people who are switching from road biking for the first time: It’s filled with a lot of downhills, uphills, ups and downs – enough to be fitting as a challenge for more advanced mountain bikers.
Fun, but built to be harder than the average trail and very successfully so.
5. The Slickrock Trail
The Slickrock Trail is one of the most famed trails in the state – and it’s one that every mountain biker should make it their personal mission to see. In short, you haven’t biked in the state of Utah if you haven’t done this trail – and a combination of length and terrain makes it ideal for anyone.
Slickrock gets its name from the dunes that it’s made up out of: As you might have guessed from the name, the slickrock trail can be smooth – and sometimes this can mean that you need to focus more on gripping as you move along it – but it presents a nice challenge for a great, gorgeous biking trail that can be done at any speed and at any fitness level.
6. The Mid-Moutain Trail
Head to Park City, Utah and what’s called the Mid-Mountain Trail is one of the first options for mountain biking you’ll encounter in the area – and of course, one of the best.
It’s another long stretch of just over 22 miles of trail that can be completed either as one large and challenging option for advanced bikers – or as bits of a larger stretch for anyone who is still working their way up to more advanced mountain biking.
Take the Mid-Mountain trail if you are looking for a trail that will show you several terrains in one, and teach you better to prepare for some of the other trails on this list.
7. The Red Canyon Trail / The Thunder Mountain Trail
Whether you call it the Red Canyon Trail or the Thunder Mountain Trail, both sound like one of the coolest names you’ll hear this week – and true to its name, it’s also one of the best possible trails.
This one is longer than the Whole Enchilada Trail just by a few miles (and stretches to around 24 miles) and you can expect to see several different terrains here.
If you want to take on the Red Canyon or Thunder Mountain Trail (call it what you like best!), remember your bike repair kit and pack some extra bottles of filtered water: The trail can be long, difficult and hot at the best of times – but it’s also one of the most picturesque ones you can see.
8. The Rush Trail
The Rush Trail is one that’s located near what’s called Corner Canyon: If you’re not native to Utah or you’ve never heard of the place, then you might want to head over to Google Maps (or Google Earth) first to take a closer look at a bird’s eye view of what you’ll find here.
Don’t rush the Rush Trail: It has the potential to be challenging, and you can be surprised by a lot of ups-and-downs once you get off the main trail. If you’re not up to this much of a challenge yet, then stick to the main-trail of the Rush instead and you should be just fine.
9. The Wasatch Mountain Trail
The Wasatch Mountain Trail is located just outside of the boundaries of Salt Lake City: Again, if this means nothing to you as a visitor to Utah from anywhere else in the world, use Google Earth or Maps to check out what it looks like – and what you can expect in terms of ups, downs and trail length.
Like many other trails on this list, the Wasatch Mountain Trail offers enough for beginner mountain bikers, more advanced bikers who feel like they’re ready to step it up – and anyone who is going along but prefers hiking instead.