Hurrah Pass Family Bike Ride (Moab)

Hurrah Pass is perfect for first time visitors to the Moab area and for families with children. But like most mountain bike routes in the Moab area, Hurrah Pass is easily upstaged by the world-renown Slickrock Bike Trail. If thoughts (or memories) of precision gruntwork, maintaining maximum traction, and performing improbable maneuvers on the Rock leave you dismayed, then you'll welcome the straightforwardness of Hurrah Pass. Good dirt roads and moderate hills mean you'll spend more time sightseeing than worrying about whether you might "stuff" your front wheel.

The route's first 3 miles snake through Kane Springs Canyon, where sandstone walls the size of skyscrapers tower over the cottonwood lined creek. A fern-encrusted, freshwater spring seeping from the roadside cliffs makes for a refreshing stop. Farther on, the canyon widens to a broad valley lined with rows of multicolored cliffs. Shortly after splashing through the creek, the road bends west and rises steadily to Hurrah Pass along a stretch that requires attentiveness and more aggressive biking.

At Hurrah Pass, you are tugged by competing views of the valley through which you just traveled and a sublime panorama of Utah's Red Rock Province. Far below, the Colorado River flows confidently through Canyonlands National Park toward the confluence with the Green River. These rivers, along with their attendant tributaries, wind and rain have carved the land into a colossal layer cake of naked, sun-burnt strata.

It's 20 miles round trip, from the trailhead to Hurrah Pass. To accommodate youngsters, shorten the ride by driving out a few miles from the trailhead and forgoing the final 3-mile climb to the pass. The route's midsection is a wonderful outing just the same. Remember, this area is a high desert, so take plenty of water with you.

By Gregg Bromka, an excerpt from The Mountain Biker's Guide to Utah.

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