A ride from the the alpine of the Boulder Mountains to the red rocks of Capitol Reef National Park.”
— Mike Henderson
Biking in Capitol Reef is restricted to designated roads. For more information, see their website
Starting in the aspen and fir of the Boulder Mountains, descend through high desert and eventually drop into a red rock wash of Capitol Reef National Park. Fantastic views can be had on this epic journey. Some sections feature sandy road, a there are a couple of short technical sections but the riding is mostly easy. The majority of this ride is two track.
Need to Know
Bring lots of water. Set up a shuttle pickup either at Fruita or Capitol Gorge in the Park.
This ride can be 20-30 miles depending on how you set up the shuttle. A car can be left at Fruita (no park fee) or further up Scenic Drive at Capitol Gorge. This will save you ten miles of asphalt. We started just off Hwy 12 at the turn to Bown's Reservoir, some guides recommend starting at the overlook three miles up the highway. There is a parking lot just off the highway.
Ride the road towards Bown's Reservoir and, after a couple miles, look for a sign that reads, "Tantalus 5". Take this left. The rest of the trail is fairly obvious from this point. Continue downhill parallel to Pleasant Creek. If you take the trail to Pleasant Creek, it will add a short out-and-back.
There is lots of downhill to begin the ride and then a short climb once you cross Tantalus Creek. The most technical section of the trail is near the pass as you cross into the park. Most of the ride is considered easy but this short section may be technically difficult.