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A fun desert loop for a multi-day bike ride that doesn't require permits or a shuttle to the trailhead

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6,599' 2,011 m


3,969' 1,210 m


5,342' 1,628 m


5,294' 1,614 m



Avg Grade (1°)


Max Grade (5°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

Features Commonly Bikepacked · Views

Part of this loop dips into Canyonlands National Park, where use conditions are more restrictive. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the expectations!


The Lockhart Basin trail is a scenic, mellow and fun 2-3 day MTB ride. But it isn't as long as the highly-restricted White Rim Trail that you can see on the other side of the Colorado River (some people even ride Lockhart as a big one-day).

Lockhart Basin is also more of a pain to coordinate than the White Rim, which you can start and end in Moab by riding in on the gorgeous Potash Road. Lockhart, on the other hand, generally requires a long and potentially expensive shuttle down to Needles to begin. As a result, many—perhaps most?—Lockharts are ridden with commercial outfitters who deal with the logistics for you.

So, why not just ride a loop instead? This route is a great way to make that Lockhart Basin ride longer and less logistically challenging. You can start and end at the lower end of Kane Creek Canyon Trail, as mapped, maximizing the dirt riding. Or, keep your chain clean and make your loop longer (but arguably easier) by starting and ending in downtown Moab and pedaling a bit of quiet pavement at the start (Spanish Valley Drive) and at the finish (Kane Creek Drive).

Either way, plan to take at least 5 days to complete the loop. More days will allow for more viewpoints and exploring.

This route is not for the faint of heart, however! It's best for adventure riders who won't get the vapors over stretches of sand, creek crossings, and--gasp!--the complete lack of flowy downhill singletrack.

Need to Know

Water will be a challenge if you want to ride this route self-supported. You'll need to choose a time when surface water availability is maximized--probably winter when you can find some snow. This timing will help with the sandy stretches, too.

Camping options are mostly primitive but you pass developed campground options in the Canyon Rims stretch, and along the paved road into Needles.

There are segments of this loop and its variations that your sag vehicle will need to skip: have your driver take Hwy-191 around Kane Creek Canyon Trail, Old Spanish Trail Cut-Off, and Pipeline to meet you for the Canyon Rims Traverse segment.

Further on, Lockhart Basin is mostly very easy driving, but there's one stretch near Chicken Corners Jeep Road that is challenging indeed. If you aren't confident in your vehicle (or skilz), you can always backtrack the vehicle around to Moab on the highway rather than having it follow you through the home stretch over Hurrah Pass and back to the start


Moab has been found, so getting a permit for the popular, well-advertised traditional adventures can be a giant pain in the butt...or just impossible. This loop, however, is off the radar and requires no permits (as of 2021, anyway). Lockhart Basin is included in the larger Bear's Ears National Monument, so the permit situation may eventually change there.

The route links together a number of trails, including Kane Creek Canyon Trail, Pipeline (Flat Iron Safari Route), Canyon Rims Traverse, Lockhart Basin, and Hurrah Pass Jeep Road. See the descriptions for more information about these segments and you'll find that several of these trails would be easier and more fun if ridden in the other direction (especially Kane Creek Canyon Trail and Pipeline).

However, Lockhart Basin and Hurrah Pass Jeep Road are better in the mapped direction, and there is a 25-mile stretch of very scenic pavement on the Needles road past Newspaper Rock, then through Dugout Ranch and the Indian Creek climbing cliffs to reach the Lockhart Basin trailhead. In the mapped direction, this is largely a downhill jaunt on a generally lightly traveled road that will take only 2-3 hours. If you reverse the loop, however, you'll be slogging uphill on pavement for most of a day. There are developed and primitive camping options along the paved Needles road, so it's up to you to calculate the trade-offs of reversing the route.

You can extend this loop and avoid riding Kane Creek Canyon Trail in the wrong direction by starting in Moab and riding out lightly-trafficked Spanish Valley Drive until you can pick up the Rimrocker Trail. After a few miles on RR, turn right onto the Old Spanish Trail Cut-Off, then pedal a mile down Hwy-191 to rejoin the mapped loop version for Pipeline and Canyon Rims Traverse. In this case, after finishing Lockhart, you'll ride out Hurrah Pass Jeep Road past the lower end of the Kane Creek Canyon Trail, all the way back to the Colorado River; then pedal paved Kane Creek Drive along the river and back to Moab to close the loop.

If you really want to get jiggy with it and buy lots more challenging riding and primitive camping, you could expand your loop even further to work in the Behind the Rocks Road, Pritchett Canyon Jeep Road, and/or Jackson Hole and the Amasa Back trails, though now you'd really have to think hard about which direction to ride.

History & Background

You pedal past many interesting possible diversions on this loop, including these two recommendations:

First, Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument is one of the world's largest known panels of petroglyphs, recording 2000 years of human activity. The 200-sq.ft. varnished sandstone slab contains over 650 animal, human and abstract designs carved by Fremont, Ute, and Anasazi (Puebloan) Native Americans.

Second, the Indian Creek Climbing Area contains some of the most famous and scenic crack climbs in the world. With a support vehicle, you might add a day (or more) of climbing and camping below the cliffs that lie just off the Needles road. If (like me) you aren't strong enough to hang in the Creek, Looking Glass Rock makes for a mellow climbing goal with a super intimidating rappel!


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F Felix

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This is what your Lockhart Basin support vehicle has to be able to do. 
Photo credit: Bret Edge Photography,
Dec 12, 2013 near Moab, UT
Gorgeous BLM campground. Drinking water in season, $20/night
Feb 6, 2021 near Monticello, UT
Pedaling past Looking Glass Rock
Feb 4, 2021 near Moab, UT
Pot Ash and Dead Horse Point from Hurrah Pass
Nov 24, 2016 near Moab, UT
The early part of this ride is mellow, but gets much more technical on day 2.
May 29, 2014 near Moab, UT
Icy seep at the Navajo/Kayenta transition
Feb 28, 2021 near Moab, UT



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Jan 9, 2022
Jake Carloni
Tried to get this done in two days starting from Hamburger Rock. Take my advice and don't make my mistake. Kane Creek in the winter will destroy you. 90mi — 14h 00m