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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am planning a family vacation in Southwest USA in June and July of this year. I will be driving down from Canada in my old Volkswagen Westfalia van and my family will be flying down to Las Vegas about 2 weeks later at the end of June for our California road trip. Since I will be driving down by myself, I should have about a week and a half to myself to drive from Boulder, Colorado then to Moab and finally to Las Vegas. I plan on visiting the canyons and National Parks in Utah and will be bringing my mountain bike along. Planned stops include Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce and Zion. I would like to get at least a day or two of mountain biking during this time and also plan to do some hiking and some photgraphy.
Any suggestions as to the best places to ride? I have a hardtail 29er and I am an intermediate biker so I'm not looking for anything too hard but I do occasionally go to our local downhill mountain to ride the easy and intermediate trails. I'm also not too bad at climbing when in cross-country mode. What I really like are fast flowing trails with really nice scenery. Kingdom trails in Vermont is my idea of a perfect mountain bike spot.
Once we finish our California trip we will be heading back home with the van probably taking the Million Dollar Highway in Colorado. Since my son also rides (mostly light downhill), I was thinking of stopping for a half-day ride in either Gunnison or Crested Butte.
I am also still debating whether I should bring my bike along or if I should simply rent one when needed.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks, looks like a nice place. I downloaded the pdf trail map. Will it be too much of a scorcher heat wise in late June?
 

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dog's best friend
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Thunder Mountain near Bryce. Nice camping at Red Canyon. I second Gooseberry, early morning or evening would be awesome light for photo ops. Primitive camping there too.
 

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Yeti SB95c
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You can ride in the SW in late June but get up about 5:30 AM and be off the trails by 11.

My Moab for intermediates video should cover that area pretty well for you. I just noticed it is almost to 10k views! Anyway, start at the Moab Brand Trails north of Moab. Warm up on Lazy and EZ. Moab Brand Trails

Moab Mountain Biking for Intermediates - A Trail Analysis - YouTube

You'll hear about Porcupine Rim near Moab. I just released this video for intermediates. Don't do this ride on a hard tail :)

Moab Mountain Biking - Porcupine Rim - A Trail Analysis For Intermediates - YouTube

Near Bryce is the Thunder Mountain Trail, one of our favorite flow trails with some great switchbacks and amazing scenery. Here's the trail explained for intermediates. Try to arrange a shuttle to the trailhead at the restaurants on the west approach to the park but the climb up the paved trail isn't strenuous and Red Rock Canyon is beautiful. The 2 miles on the forest road at the top of the ridge is mostly level but can be dusty.

Mountain Biking The Thunder Mountain Trail For Intermediates - A Trail Analysis - YouTube

Gooseberry Mesa near Zion is really cool but not much intermediate. There are some wild challenges on that mesa :) I need to shoot some more of the south trail and I'll have a video for that next year.

West of Vegas on the way to Death Valley is Blue Diamond and a little bike shop. The trails out there are fun early in the morning before the heat. You can rent at McGhies bike shop there.

One important trick in the SW. When you ride sand stay way back in the saddle and don't try to steer much.

Several great bike shops in Moab and they'll rent you a very good bike for around $50/day.

At the southern base of the Sierras is Kernville and the Cannell Plunge. Shuttle to the trailhead at Big Meadow from the Mountain and River Adventures bike shop in Kernville. This is an intermediate ride and you won't forget the plunge :) Thousands of feet drop with lots of flow and switchbacks and an amazing view. I don't have a video for this yet.

Further north in the Sierras is the famous Downieville Downhill. It is north of Tahoe on Highway 49. You shuttle up from the old gold mining town of Downieville. Check Yuba Expeditions online. Lots of vids available but I did this one last year. It shows an 11 year old city girl riding it as a newbie to mountain biking. A couple of good hotels in town for the family and camping along the Yuba River.

11 Year Old Polina Mountain Bikes Downieville Downhill - YouTube

We do most of these rides annually :)

Jim
 

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dog's best friend
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The spots in Red Rock Canyon are right by the road. The sites near Gooseberrry are a bit more challenging to access but you should be fine in a Westy.
 

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telebiker, The Thunder Mountain Trail is far from the highway into Bryce and for a guy who wants flow trails TM is one of the best! Gooseberry is blast with a surprise around every juniper but it is challenging for an intermediate. There is no flow. He'll do a lot of hike a bike. For his first trip I wouldn't recommend it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the info.
From what I saw in JM's YouTube video, The Thunder Mountain trail looks exactly like what I'm looking for. The end of that first video looks pretty insane though, especially the part that says:3 bikers died here.
I don't think I'm willing to go down that trail. I 'lol continue looking up Gooseberry. I know I said I like flowing trails but I don't mind a bit of technical stuff I'm mainly trying to avoid places where I could kill myself. Once again, scenery is my main focus.

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dog's best friend
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Isphere, I would consider Thunder mostly intermediate with a couple of moves that could be classified as expert. Do not forego this ride! I did it following a couple in their 60's on rigid bikes with racks. They were having a blast! Photo ops abound on this trail.
 

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Fruita would be a good stop for intermediate riding and great scenery on your way from Boulder to Moab. Easy access off the Interstate, although the 18 Road trails may have a little more flow.
 

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Yes, 18 Rd. is part of Fruita. It's just not conveniently next to the Interstate like a lot of the other Fruita trails.
 

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dog's best friend
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^^^ Agree with Fruita as a worthy stop. Lots of flow and high grin factor. 18 Rd is worth the drive and has primitive camping. Pit toilets and no water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks, I'll have plenty of water. It could be a good place to overnight.

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Check out Duck Creek. Not far from red rock canyon/thundermountian, bryce, gooseberry and zion. cool in the summer at 10,ooo feet. threre are two super fun rides, one around navajo lake and the other along the virgin rim of zion. visitor center at duck creek campground will have all the info.
 
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