Canyonlands National Park is one of the only national parks in the US where there are trails which allow mountain biking. You’re still not allowed to ride on any of the single track walking trails but there are a number of high clearance four-wheel-drive trails which make for a fun mountain bike ride.
From the visitors centre at the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park I rode the 7 mile one way trail to the Colorado River Overlook.
This track is open to high clearance four-wheel-drive vehicles; some of the step up’s and drop off’s are pretty significant so be sure to have a serious vehicle and know how to handle it if you decide not to mountain bike.
Much of the track is over slick rock marked by intermittent spray painted arrows and dots on the rock surface, a number of times I couldn’t find a marker and found myself wondering in which direction I was supposed to be heading. If you keep a bearing on the direction you came from and look around you’ll eventually come across another marker or a continuation of the dirt track.
The view at the end is well worth the sometimes tiring mountain bike ride. You can look down into the steep canyon forged by the Colorado River and see it snaking its way off to the left and the right.
If you visit Canyonlands National Park and have a mountain bike with you I highly recommend you take a couple hours to ride the Colorado River Overlook Trail.
The following photos were all taken on my mobile phone, for which I apologise.
Would you rather mountain bike or four-wheel-drive to this lookout?