The Utah mountain biking scene is known as a world-class destination, but you don’t have to be a pro to ride the trails in Red Rock Country. In fact, the slick rock can be one of the easier surfaces for those new to the sport. Utah mountain biking only has one drawback: once you’ve tried the trails here, it’s all downhill everywhere else.
We suggest five Utah mountain biking trails beginners will love, from Moab to Saint George.
Prospector Trail (St. George)
1. In St. George, Utah you’ll find a lot of happy retirees and several nice trails with a variety of challenges. One of these is called Prospector Trail, and has all the bells and whistles: singletrack, a touch of sand, slick rock, and several flat areas where you can ride and enjoy the views. One of the sections is definitely technically challenging, including a slick rock descent, but overall the trail is beginner to intermediate friendly. The only downside for beginners here is the popularity, so we recommend times when there are likely to be fewer visitors, like midsummer and fall or spring (not during school breaks!). You’ll find other cyclists here as well as runners and hikers.
JEM Trail (Hurricane)
2. Hurricane is a small town in southern Utah where the JEM trail beckons. The terrain is otherworldly and part of this trail slides along the Virgin river. This beginner ride includes 13 miles of gorgeous views, and the town is a nice little getaway. For some beginners JEM may be too long, and definitely avoid it in June-July-August because of the southern Utah heat.
Wheeler Creek (Ogden)
3. Near Ogden, Wheeler Creek sits and this trail has a bonus: it’s great nearly any season except the depths of winter (unless you’re into fat biking). At a little over 5 miles, this trail climbs 1300 feet. The snow begins to melt in the middle to end of April. The first section is a road, which continues for nearly two miles. After that, the trail becomes more technical but most beginners can handle it up until the last section (after Icebox Canyon). Summer is obviously the best season, but even on more technical stretches you’ll see crowds (including dogs) throughout the year.
Dead Horse Point & Carousel Loop (Moab)
4a. Near Moab—often called the best mountain biking destination in a state known for its mountain biking—is Dead Horse Point. Seven miles long, with little gain, this ride is at 6000’ elevation so doable even in midsummer temperatures. The terrain is flat and it’s classic “red rock country” although there is an entrance fee since it sits in a National Park.
4b. We can’t resist adding more great Utah mountain biking in the paradise known as Moab. The Carousel Loop is great for literally any rider. The area is named “Klonzo Beginner Slickrock,” and this wide-open flat terrain works for young children and granddads alike, with over 20 miles of trails on rock. The Carousel is a one-mile loop with gentle slopes; families can drive their high-clearance vehicles right to the trailhead.
Mill Creek Pipeline (Salt Lake City)
5. Near Salt Lake City, which isn’t known as prime Utah mountain biking, is a spectacular beginner trail called Mill Creek Pipeline, located in Mill Creek Canyon. This singletrack takes an old pipeline route near Mill Creek through a longish, mostly flat ride. The total climb is 600’ in a stretch of switchbacks, and the views of SLC are fabulous. Definitely recommended from late fall into early spring.
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