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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
My wife and I've decided to drive from Madison, WI to Utah in June, and we'd love to get some recommendations from locals so we make the most of our first real vacation in five years. Ideally, what we'd like to find is an area that meets most of these -

-excellent, scenic, very challenging hiking
-scenic easy mtb trails (my wife rides, but not seriously and doesn't enjoy singletrack)
-challenging mtb trails (for the rides I go on without her)

If there's a spot like that in the northeast part of Utah (to cut a few hours off what will already be a long, long drive), that would be fantastic. BUT, if we'd double our fun by driving two hours further in, that's exactly the kind of thing we want to find out. We'll be there for a week, so multiple spots within driving distance would be fun too. We'll have a pull-behind camper, so we aren't tied to cities or hotels. Knowing what you know, how would you spend a week hiking and mountain biking, given our different ability levels on two wheels?

Edit: My wife would like me to add the following:

"Hey - I'm not that bad! And, yes, we're going to hike and ride, but if it just so happens that we'll be in the Salt Lake City area for a day, I wouldn't mind shopping and eating at good restaraunts. If we can get into the city without you crashing the camper that is."
 

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The Wonderful Wasatch

Come to SLC, the Wasatch can give you what you are looking for. Check out utahmountainbiking.com for some ride details and photos/videos. You can hike/bike to your hearts' content. If you decide the SLC thing isn't for you, check out Moab/Fruita. A bit hotter that time of year and slightly more primitive, but great fun. Good Luck!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I'm realizing that I know a lot less about Utah's geography than I thought. The mountainous, desert, plateau-ey areas look like they're all in the south - is that right? That's the part my wife is most excited by, so I think we'll be traveling further through the state than I originally thought.
 

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Bored Carp
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yeah, if you are looking for cowboy-movie scenery, SU is your destination. A lot of the NU stuff is alpine-y (but AWESOME)

Moab will be HOT in June, but as long as you are off the trail by 10:30ish, it is no problem. There are some beautiful easy-ish mtb rides in Moab (of which Slickrock is not one), and tons of challenging stuff, though going out by yourself isn't too smart.

We took a road rider friend out for a few rides (he specifically requested beautiful but not super challenging) and he had a great time:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157594386624542/
 

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Sugary Exoskeleton
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Yep, Moab (East Central Utah) is 3.5-4 hours South. If you go to Zion (South West), it's 5+ hours.

The drive to Moab is really pretty though, and seems shorter than it is.

You could stop over in Park City for a day or two on the way down, should be cheap in the summer and the riding/hiking are classic there. Good food can be found.

JMH

brozek said:
I'm realizing that I know a lot less about Utah's geography than I thought. The mountainous, desert, plateau-ey areas look like they're all in the south - is that right? That's the part my wife is most excited by, so I think we'll be traveling further through the state than I originally thought.
 

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Moab

Don't do all your eating and shopping in SLC. There is a Denny's in Moab, and it is the absolute epicenter of Kokopelli trinkets.

Seriously, there are some good places to eat in Moab, in a down home kind of way. No Bratwurts or cheese curds though.

As for shopping, if you need outdoor gear, a transfer case for your Jeep, or a killer T-shirt with something catchy like "Moab Rocks!", you're there.

The Devil's Garden Campgound in Arches NP is highly recommended, and there is great hiking right out of the campground.

http://www.nps.gov/arch/planyourvisit/camping.htm
 

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While Moab is great, I would suggest Zion/Bryce/CedarBreaks. Great camping in all three locations. Zion might be a bit hot that time of year and the other two may still be snowed in...... but probably not depending on how late in June you go.

Great hiking in the National Parks (Zion and Bryce) and great biking nearby (Gooseberry Mesa, Thunder Mountain, Virgin Rim, Navajo Lake, Brianhead,etc.)
 

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Don't Forget NM

Swing on down to the northern New Mexico area and I'll show ya whatever you need! I am an exWis-nite(all my family is still there), and even have some room in my small home in Santa Fe for a stopover on the way to good bikin' in Utah! Moab really is nothin' in comparison to our singletrack mountain (epic) rides. I always enjoy staying and riding in Utah and especially Moab...La Salle, Porcupine, Portal, Amassa Back, and of course Slick Rock(all day) are my recs.
 

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Plan on it being really hot in the moab, zion, st. george areas in June. I was in the four corners area last year summer in may-june and you can figure on it being 100+ most places at low elevations. 110+ when I was in snow canyon outside of st. george.

In moab if you are off the trails by 11am it's not bad, and it doesn't cool off till after the sun goes down so one ride a day is about it. However if you go up into the la sal mountains outside of moab it can be 110 in moab and 70 up there at 10,000'. They have a lot of hiking and biking trails up there, more singletrack type of trails and hiking.

Gooseberry is pretty cool as well compared to some of the hotter areas.

Zion will be hot but you can do the narrows trail and hanging gardens, which is more of a short walk, and the upper and lower pools trails that have cool spots along the way. The narrows is almost all in the shade of the canyon and a lot of the time in the river itself so for that hike the hotter the better.

Cedar breaks is pretty cool that time of year, bryce is as well. There probably will be some snow at the highest elevations but depending on how much they have had this year it should not be too bad.

You can also look into grand junction, there's a lot of biking there, and it's generally a bit cooler than the moab area.

Salt Lake also has tons of hiking out along the big and little cottonwood roads. SLC is cooler than southern utah and both roads head up into higher elevations so even in june there will probably be snow if you go up high enough.
 
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