Capitol Reef to Grand Staircase
This 5-day trip from the Henry Mountains south of Hanksville, UTto the crags and cracks of Grand Staircase-Escalante NM is a study in the diversified landscapes of southern Utah’s Canyon Country. From the shadows of the remote Henry Mountains, to the nearly inexplicable passage through Capitol Reef National Park on the legendary Burr Trail, to the petrified forests, sandstone formations and long views of Grand Staircase this trip is simply a Utah mountain bikingmind-blower.
We created this Capitol Reef NP to Grand Staircase-Escalante NM mountain bike tour for those who don't want a guide, don't want to be supported during the week and generally just want their own self-serve adventure with a bit of logistical assistance. Each day we relocate a very deluxe camp setup of (2) 10x10 canopies, full kitchen, dry firewood, camp chairs, fresh water, coolers of food and beverages (you purchase prior to trip) and all your personal gear like tents, bags and clothing. You can go as cheap or deluxe as you want on food, beverages and amenities!!
Our meeting point for this trip is Hanksville, UT at Whispering Sands Motel. The day before the trip starts you can pick up a cooler (if needed) from us to do your shopping for the week.
We will depart Whispering Sands Motel in Hanksville by 8:00am and shuttle to the start (about 45 mins)on Clay Point Rd south of the Henry Mountains.The juxtaposition of jagged southern end of the Henrys against the long views of Glen Canyon and Lake Powell is something to behold. The ride today starts with a climb, but soon gives way to some long downhills and generally flattish terrain, so it’s the perfect way to get warmed up for your week. As more and more of Capitol Reef’s Waterpocket Fold comes into view you will have arrived at camp: an overlook into a deep side canyon with 360 views of the surrounding area.Ride length is about 26 miles.
Day two we transition into Capitol Reef National Park. Right after leaving camp riders turn onto the infamous Burr Trail paralleling Capitol Reef. After an hour or so you’ll enter into the park proper. The landscapeis nearly indescribable here: soaring sandstone in every direction in every conceivable shape and size. The Burr Trail now takes a distinct westward turn and snakes and switchbacks it’s way through the Waterpocket Fold itself. This short, but steep climb is one of the unforgettable highlights of the trip. After completing this initial climb on the Burr Trail riders enter Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and soon after arrive at our dispersed camp for the night. Ride length is about 20 miles.
Guess what? No packing up and moving camp today! Today’s ride leaves right from camp, and with a little help of the van, loops back to our same camp. Our ride is on the Wolverine Loop Rd through remote Grand Staircase backcountry – with extensive petrified forests to explore being the highlight. As the Wolverine Loop rejoins the Burr Trail, the van will be waiting to shuttle you back to camp…or you’re welcome to ride the 10-mile uphill if you’d prefer. ;) Ride length is about 27.5 miles.
On day four we’re back to making forward progress – time to pack up and move on. Today’s ride (and the remainder of the route) is almost entirely on pavement, but don’t let that fool you – we’re now in the heart of Grand Staircase and everywhere you lookis gorgeous. The fact that’s it paved means you don’t need to be in a hurry. You have all day to explore side canyons, enjoy gorgeous overlooks and generally just take it all in. Camp today is a few miles from the town of Boulder, UT nestled in pinyon and juniper pines and bleached sandstone hills.Ride length is about 25 miles.
Our final day’s ride is almost exclusively on UT-12 from Boulder, UT to near Escalante, UT on the “Journey Through Time Scenic Byway”. In all our travels we’ve seen very few stretches of road more beautiful than this. Riders will have the option of borrowing a florescent safety vest today as you snake through a world of petrified ancient sand dunes and narrow side canyons. At the completion of today’s ride we’ll load up and head back to Hanksville, UT (about 2 hours). Ride length is about 25 miles.
What’s Included in My Trip?
> Shuttle Van and driver
> Luggage, gear and cooler/food relocation
> Camp kitchen and general gear
> Alcoholic Beverages – we can haul and keep them cold though!
> Breakfast, Lunch or Dinner
> Weather Control – Mother Nature has a mind of her own
Grand Junction Airport in Coloradoservices flights from phoenix, Denver and Salt Lake City each day.From Grand Junction, it is a 90-minute shuttle to Moab, UT.