Arches National Park Biking
Bicycling along Arches National Park's scenic drive is like a surrealistic adventure through the stage of a popular Saturday morning cartoon. While you're not likely to encounter a speeding desert roadrunner, you'll no doubt suspect that a wily coyote is scheming a prank just around the next bend.
The names applied to the park's natural features evoke fantastic images: Park Avenue, Three Gossips, Garden of Eden, and The Great Wall. Each are ensembles of spires, domes, and great sandstone monoliths. Balanced Rock is a colossal boulder perched atop a seemingly inadequate base. At the Windows Section, you can peer through redrock spans across blazing deserts to snow-capped mountains. The Fiery Furnace is a maze of narrow corridors amidst a battalion of marching sandstone fins. And the park's namesake features range from 3-foot structures, to football field in size. There are more than 1,500 of these arches.
The entire paved scenic drive is 22 miles long (nearly 45 miles round trip). But it's easy to shorten your ride by turning around midway or driving out a ways before embarking. Regardless, be sure to make the Windows Section part of your tour. Four significant arches are located there, and you can hike to and through each in a few minutes. Other whimsical features located in the area include the Parade of Elephants and Paul Bunyan's Potty. The Windows Section is almost 12 miles from the Visitor Center.
If you make it to the end of the scenic drive, consider hiking the mile-long path toward the Devil's Garden. You'll pass numerous spans along the trail, including Landscape Arch, which is the park's largest arch, spanning over 300 feet.
If you plan on hiking the park's trails, wear shoes that are appropriate for both bike pedals and soft sand. There is no water beyond the Visitor Center, so carry ample supplies with you. Park entrance fees apply to both vehicles and bicycles. Bicycles must stay on roadways designated open to vehicles; bikes are not allowed on any foot trails.
Information courtesy of Gregg Bromka, author of The Mountain Biker's Guide to Utah.
|Other Trails||Miles/km||Avg. Time||Description|
|Gemini Bridge||13.5 mi||1 day||Scenery/Long descents|
|Hurrah Pass||33 mi||1 day||Anticline Overlook|
|Monitor/Merrimac||13.2 mi||.5 days||Buttes, Determination Towers, Dinosaur|
|Slickrock||9.6 mi||.5 days||Slickrock|
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