The beauty of Utah’s vast deserts and unending skies can be enjoyed in many ways and mountain biking just happens to be one of the most popular (and it’s the perfect way to avoid the tourist crowds).
Within the borders of Bryce Canyon National Park itself, off-road biking is not permitted, but many cycle enthusiasts have discovered the majestic views of several secluded trails surrounding the most famous landscapes of Southern Utah’s famous canyon.
The terrain in and around Bryce Canyon offers miles of biking trails that wind through some of the most spectacular scenery in Bryce Canyon Country. While riding is only permitted along the 18-mile paved scenic main road within Bryce Canyon National Park, there are plenty of exciting opportunities to hit the backcountry mountain biking trails in this scenic region.
Mountain Biking Trails
Nearby Red Canyon offers red rock cliffs, hoodoos, and ponderosa forests similar to the landscape inside Bryce Canyon National Park’s borders, with 34 miles of single-track mountain biking trails for an exciting riding adventure. The newly paved Red Canyon Bicycle Trail follows Scenic Byway 12 for five miles, through Red Canyon from the Thunder Mountain trailhead all the way to Coyote Hollow Road. The trail shifts in elevation between 7,200 and 8,000 feet, with a fairly strenuous ascent at some points, but is considered an easy ride for the most part.
Thunder Mountain is a popular 8-mile singletrack trail that follows a steep ridge overlooking Red Canyon and winds through red rock hoodoos. There are a few options for riding this trail, either heading downhill from the Coyote Hollow Trailhead near Red Canyon’s east entrance or biking an uphill loop from the paved Red Canyon Trail and connecting via the Fremont Trail. Expert mountain bikers may choose to experience Thunder Mile as a challenging 16-mile round trip with a 3,000-foot vertical climb.
Dave’s Hollow is an easy, 12-mile double-track trail that can be picked up near the entrance to Bryce Canyon National Park and follows the Great Western Trail to Tropic Reservoir. The Skunk and Badger Trail is a more advanced riding option, an 18-mile loop past Tropic Reservoir from Highway 12 near Red Canyon.
Casto Canyon Trail
Amid the tantalizing scents of pine and cedar lays the spires of orange rock that rise above the southwestern canyon walls. The lower area of Casto Canyon is bursting with Douglas firs, long-leaf pine, and sprinklings of sagebrush and wildflowers. In May the trail’s winter snow has all but melted, and visitors can enjoy hiking and ATV riding. Most of the trail is single-track, and it offers many twists and turns through the arid rock formations. Casto Canyon Trail is a beautiful and up-close exploration of Utah’s canyonlands.
Losee Canyon Trail
Connected to the infamous Cassidy Trailhead and located east of Red canyon Visitor Center on Highway 12, the Losee Canyon trail begins at the bottom of Losee Canyon and takes visitors on a scenic trip along the canyon floor. Hikers can wind their way through the dramatic red hoodoos and the multi-colored sandstone cliffs that lead into the higher elevations of Red Canyon.
Red Canyon Trail
The five-mile, paved bike trail that runs through Red Canyon takes visitors on a scenic route through ponderosa pine forests to the great Paunsagunt Plateau, with access to the Grand View Trail, and the famous Thunder Mountain Trail.
Thunder Mountain Trail
The upper section of this 7.8-mile mountain trail gives riders a breathtaking view of the old-growth ponderosa pine desert forest, while the lower area of the trail takes travelers through the majestic wonders of Utah’s famous red rock.
Follow in the footsteps of Butch Cassidy and his gang of outlaws on this 8.9-mile trail. Boasting rugged red rocks and the dusty landscape of the Wild West, riders can wind their way through the majestic scents of ponderosa pines and perhaps even spot one of the sought-after Butch Cassidy hideouts.