Southern Utah by bike: an exercise in containing my constant need to explode with happiness

Wow. Just wow. Southern Utah is no joke. For 25 days, I have been biking and hiking through one of the most amazing places ever.

This, for example:

notom-bullfrog scenic backway(the Notom-Bullfrog Scenic Backway)

Do you even see that road? Can you believe that shit?? Every single day, something like this but spanning the whole spectrum of landscape would reduce me to a puddle of happiness, so crazy amazed that this exists in the world and that I was lucky enough to be biking through it. Gosh. I spent a lot of time feeling like there was no way I would be able to keep myself from exploding with joy.

 river road(River Road–aka Hwy 128, which eventually follows the Colorado River into Moab, UT)

Canyonland Needles District(The Needles District of Canyonlands National Park)

Goosenecks State Park(The San Juan River as seen from Goosenecks State Park)

Island in the Sky overlook(Island in the Sky district of Canyonlands National Park, La Sal Mountains in the background)

I’ve been composing various blog posts and stories and anecdotes in my head for about 3 weeks now, so I’m sure I’ll have more details to come, but in the meantime some stats:

  • Number of biking miles: somewhere in the vicinity of 1300-1400 for the whole loop, including side trips (see my map, below. It doesn’t have all the detours, but it’s a good overview)
  • Number of hiking miles: I have no idea, but I went for some pretty epic hikes:)
  • Number of days with snow: 3
  • Number of days with crazy wind: oh my gosh. Almost every day
  • Highest point: 9600 ft above sea level on Highway 12
  • Number of times someone offered me a ride: 4
  • Number of times I accepted a ride: 2–one because I literally couldn’t bike into the 50mph, sand-everywhere wind to get back to Moab; the other because I’d just dropped off my bike to be shipped back to Portland and the shop mechanic gave me a ride to the airport (super sweet!:)
  • Most ridiculous campsite: inside a vault toilet on the way to Island in the Sky. More on that later;)
  • Worst road to bike on: Highway 191. No shoulder and lots of trucks! Even the few miles I spent on Interstate 70 were better, since at least there was a giant shoulder on that one
  • Best road to bike on: basically any other roads in Utah:) But maybe the White Rim Road (see picture below)
  • Bike issues: Only one flat tire. Super good luck!

I started in Grand Junction, Colorado, since it’s the closest somewhat largeish airport to where I wanted to be, but most of my time was spent in Utah:

And now here I am back in Portland. I really didn’t want to leave Utah, but now that I’m back everything is so lush and green and exploding with spring, James is here, I’ve been riding my super-light, unloaded racey bike, and I remember all over again how much I love it here, too.

I’ll be working on getting pictures up and, yknow, remembering what “normal” life is supposed to be like (what? showers??;), so stay tuned for more epic craziness:)

mountain biking stasia(heck yeah–on a mountain bike I rented in Moab:)

White Rim Road(the rented mountain bike, White Rim Road. Seriously, this was almost way too much. I’m a lucky, lucky chica :)

EDIT: Pictures are up! Find them here! :)


  1. WOW! Amazing pics! Looks like a great trip. Makes me want to head there someday. Congrats on your epic journey!!

    • Thanks! :) I would totally, one million percent advocate for a trip there if you can ever swing it. It’s seriously amazing, way more than twenty million pictures or all the blog entries in the world can ever convey.

  2. Pingback: 22 Days of Awesome (Or, a bike trip through Montana:) – CarFreeRambles

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