The Best of Utah Cycling

Organized and solo

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We chatted with Dave Iltis, Editor-in-Chief of Cycling Utah magazine since 1998, and he helped us figure out where your next bike ride should be.

Best Organized Rides

Beginners: Cycle Salt Lake Century
A flat ride with 36, 67 and 100 mile courses, this event is one for everyone. The course starts in Salt Lake City and heads north, through Layton and onto Antelope Island. It includes rest stops stocked with water, sports drinks, fruit, candy and snacks. The riders, which generally number more than 2,000, receive lunch, a goodie bag and a T-Shirt.
When: May 18, 2013
Sign up here.

Intermediate: Tour de Park City
A beautiful ride on the more scenic side of the Wasatch Range, the Tour de Park City also offers races of varying distances: 15, 50, 100 and 157 miles, with a junior course. The course also goes by Jordanelle State Park.
When: August 3, 2013

More Difficult: Tour of Heber
The tour of Heber offers course distances of 35, 65 and 100 miles, taking riders around Heber and up into the moutains.
Sign up here.

Best Solo Rides in Utah

Beginner: Jordan River Parkway Trail
The Jordan River Parkway Trail is a bike trail system that runs from the Salt Lake to Utah Lake. It has multiple entry points and exit points, meaning that accessing it isn’t complicated. Furthermore, it’s flat and there’s no traffic, so it is perfect for people new to cycling to get used to the feeling without worrying about outside distractions.
Find an entry point here.

Intermediate: Emigration Canyon
Possibly the most popular ride in Utah, Emigration canyon is a perfect ride for those with a little cycling experience. Close to Salt Lake City, the ride gives a gradual eight-mile climb to the summit of Little Mountain. As an added benefit, Emigration Canyon has loads of history tied to it. You’ll ride by This is the Place State Park, which commemorates the pioneers passing through the canyon and Brigham Young’s historic decision to settle the Utah valley.
More: see here.

Advanced: Alpine Loop
This very difficult but extraordinarily beautiful ride takes riders up past Sundance Resort and through American Fork canyon. So iconic is the ride that it is part of Utah’s premier cycling races.

Mountain Bike

Park City Trails: The Park City trails offer hundreds of trail miles that are some of the best the Western United States has to offer, usually open from May to October. The Park City Resort opens their ski lifts to riders during the summer, so they can access the upper reaches of Utah riding.

Charlie Sturgis, executive director of the Mountain Trails Foundation, the force behind the development of these trails, warns that riders often get in over their heads when trying mountain biking.

“They think it’s just like riding a bike,” he says. “But it’s more complicated than that.”

  • Beginners: McLeod Creek, Willow Creek, Rail Trail
  • Beginner to Intermediate: Round Valley (accessible from the Rail Trail)

Find these trails here.

Also: Corner Canyon Trail System in Draper: Try Ghostfalls, in the upper corner canyon, or Coyote Hollow Trailhead.

If You’re New: What to Bring

  • Water: When biking, even if you don’t get extremely tired, your body is still using fluids at a fast rate.
  • Tire patch kit. The speed of biking can take you so many miles away that getting stranded can be serious.
  • Small pump.
  • Tire tube.
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