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How to Have Fun Mountain Biking in Moab

Moab sits on the homelands of the Ute, Navajo, Paiute, Hopi.

Moab, UT is a magical place. It’s a dry, desert climate with sprawling red rock and the La Salle Mountains towering in the distance. It’s adjacent to two national parks, Arches and Canyonlands, and is home to phenomenal mountain biking, hiking, and offroading. I spent last weekend camping and mountain biking there with friends. Here are a few tips to help you do the same!

When to Go

After several inches of snow at home in Lander, WY, Moab’s average April temperatures of 72 degrees seemed quite appealing. My buddy Andrew was heading down with some friends for ten days of camping and mountain biking, so I decided to tag along for a bit.

If you’re planning a bike trip to Moab, April and October offer the mildest temperatures. Any time in between you’ll hit average highs in the 80’s or 90’s, and you’ll fry in the exposed landscapes. But equally important is coordinating the trip with friends. It’s an amazing place to adventure alone, but biking is so much more satisfying with other people.

Where to Camp

For the two nights that I joined, we camped out on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) land. BLM land is public land that is open to the public for outdoor recreation, including dispersed camping. Some of the access roads are a bit rough and require a high clearance or four wheel drive vehicle, but my Chrysler Town and Country minivan has proven reasonably capable.

A lot of Moab’s finest bike trails are on or near BLM land, so it’s quite convenient to find camping near your desired trail. I use the Mountain Bike Project app to find trails of my desired difficulty (usually blues), and the land management overlay in the Caltopo app to find BLM boundaries. There are a lot of existing impacted sites, so setting up in one of these areas is better than rolling into an untouched spot and harming the fragile ecosystem. If you’re looking to get away from the crowds in more popular areas, just keep driving further back on the dirt roads and you’re bound to find a slice of solitude.

What Else to Do

Though mountain biking was my main objective, I was only in the saddle for an hour or two each day. The rest of the time we spent at camp playing games, enjoying a fire, and drinking cheap beer. Surrounded by incredible views and wonderful sunsets, I was just happy for a change of scenery and to enjoy time with good people.

If you need a rest day from biking, you can take a hike or driving tour in Arches or Canyonlands. There are also a lot of other spectacular landscapes and rock formations that lie outside of the parks which will draw fewer people. Moab itself also offers tours and restaurants if you’re looking to take the day in a different direction.

So Why Moab?

I’ve taken two trips to Moab, and both of them have been a breath of fresh air from daily life in Wyoming. There are countless bike trails to discover, all within a condensed radius, and the landscapes never cease to impress me. It’s the perfect place for a mental reset when you’re feeling worn down, and a wonderful setting for making new memories on and off the trails.


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