“A bucket list ride in middle-of-nowhere Utah that could be mistaken for Mars.
— Brian Smith
This ride has it all: A mellow climb on a paved bike path, rolling singletrack through alpine pine forest, and ripping descents through an otherworldly Martian landscape littered with hoodoos.
Need to Know
- This route can be approached from a couple different ways: Riders looking to speed things up can shuttle to the start of the Thunder Mountain Trail and bypass the bike path climb. Or, if you want more challenge forego the loop and ride the Thunder Mountain Trail as a more technically-demanding, 100% singletrack out-and-back adventure.
- Though desert-y, this ride is at elevation and is susceptible to winter conditions during the season.
From the parking lot at the bottom of Thunder Mountain Trail #33098
, hop onto the Red Canyon Bike Trail #33016
and settle in for a mellow and extremely scenic 5.5-mile climb. After the path flattens out and enters a broad prairie, look for the turnoff to Coyote Hollow Road (FSR #113)
on the right.
Pedal the mellow dirt road for about two miles to the upper Thunder Mountain TH. Jump onto the beautiful singletrack and enjoy the undulating ride as it contours into and out of countless forested drainages. Eventually, the grade will trend more continuously upward and you'll climb to the ride's high-point at about mile 11.75.
Take in the ridiculously unique and scenic views and prepare yourself for some amazing descending to come. A couple short climbs break up what is an otherwise ripping 1,400-foot descent, but you'll be thankful because the climbs allow you to soak in the incredible surroundings.
The trail varies from wide-open and smooth to tight and technical, so be ready for anything. The pea gravel tread rolls fast as all get out but can be less-than-inspiring through corners. Trust the hardpack underneath the ball bearings and ye shall have a grand ol' time.
Eventually, after a series of snaking switchbacks, you'll find yourself in a canyon bottom facing the last short climb of the ride. Grind it out and get ready for a ripping straight-away back to the trailhead. There you'll find your car, pit toilets, and hopefully some post-ride libations.