The Best Bike Trails: Arches National Park

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“Arches National Park” by Tony Kent

“Arches National Park” by Tony Kent

 

Arches National Park treats bikers and hikers alike to its majestic collection of colorful natural rock formations. The park’s over 2,000 grand stone arches and hundreds of towering pinnacles, gigantic fins and massive balanced rocks promise a totally breathtaking experience. The paved 22-mile Scenic Drive takes you to all of the park’s major points.

Now, as for the trails, there are four to choose from:

Gemini Bridges

You can reach this trail’s official trailhead by driving 7.2 miles north via Highway 191 from the bridge right above the Colorado River. You can park your car at the large parking lot west of the 135.5 mile marker.

The trail itself is 16 miles long round trip and features a total climb of about 1,500 vertical feet divided into three 500-foot sections. Most beginners who are in good shape should be able to complete the entire trail as it is relatively easy despite its length.

Hurrah Pass

The trail is 9.4 miles long but you can easily make the ride shorter by driving a portion of the road to Kane Spring Canyon. The ride involves a total climb of 1,100 vertical feet but is still a relatively easy trail overall.

Monitor-Merrimac

This trail was named in honor of the Monitor and Merrimac warships that were used during the civil war. It used to be just one big sea of hot sand guarded by aggressive biting flies so a lot of bikers used to stay away from it. Today, however, changes have been made to make the area more biker-friendly so expect a more comfortable riding experience.

The ride is 6.1 miles long and features a total climb of 500 vertical feet. The entire trail consists primarily of single track and open rock.

Slickrock

This world famous 13-mile trail takes bikers on a journey through beautiful sand dunes and eroded ancient sea beds. The amazing views come at a price, however, as the ride is very challenging in terms of the level of fitness and skill necessary to complete it.

The trail’s name can be quite misleading though as the type of sandstone that makes up most of its surface is by no means slick. In fact, it is practically as rough as sandpaper so bikers should have no problems with tire slippage except on rainy days.

The ride is divided into three primary sections: the out-and-back lead-in, the 6.8-mile loop and the optional 2.3-mile practice loop.

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