101 Bobtail or Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 Phone: 970.728.5891
Email: info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com
Join Us: Bike Tour Reservation Form

Trans-Utah MTB Tour

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Ride the American West’s ultimate point-2-point MTB ride. This is a journey across southern Utah’s other-worldly back-of-beyond terrain that explores among the most spectacular landscapes in North America.

NEWS: On December 27th, 2016 much of the terrain that our Trans-Utah MTB tour passes through was declared the Bear’s Ears National Monument by President Obama. This is a magnificent region of redrock cliffs, mysterious canyons and stone silence.

In southern Utah nature throws out the rule book. Rock shaped by 50-million years of water has sculpted a jaw-dropping landscape of weird and wild shapes. This is a region of extremes: of distance, of darkness, of silence… Join Lizard Head Cycling on this small group cycling odyssey within the serpentine redrock canyons of the Beehive State.

Dark Skies! Southern Utah has the darkest skies of the lower 48 American states.

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YouTube – Celebrate Bears Ears: Welcome to our New National Monument!

Difficulty Level?

The Trans-Utah MTB tour (a.k.a. The Hayduke Trail) is a tour that seeks out backcountry exploration. Although the tour is challenging in nature, it is not a death march! The tour’s difficulty level is aimed at upper-intermediate to advanced fitness levels. The Trans Utah MTB tour is a spectacular “gravel grinder” type tour on small and remote jeep roads. The route can be ridden in 1-week or 2-week segments. The mountain biking is fun and challenging, but not overly technical.

The daily mileage averages out to 25-mile segments which vary based on the riding surface and amount of climbing on any given day. Lizard Head Cycling’s tour leaders provide cyclists with a professional level support that includes: food, water, and mechanical aid. So the bottom line is if you are a experienced mountain or road biker with decent technical skills, this tour is within your ability level.

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Trans-Utah MTB bike tour Kanab to Moab:

*A 1-week or 2-week option is available. See Tour Logistics for Details.

Riding on Day 1

How the Trans-Utah MTB Tour Works:

The Trans-Utah MTB tour is supported by a burly 4×4 pickup that carries water, personal gear, an outdoor kitchen, coolers of food (and beer), tents, spare parts, spare bikes, shade and camp chairs. It is the mothership that meets us in camp. Riders wake in the morning to the echo of the coffee call off the canyon walls, followed by a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon, muesli, fruit, nuts, yogurt, etc. Food is essential and Lizard Head Cycling takes care to deliver high quality ingredients. After breakfast riders pack a lunch and set off on the trail. One guide rides and the other drives the truck. Lunch is enjoyed along the trail with big views of the encompassing back of beyond terrain. When possible the mother ship meets the riders for lunch to offer a resupply.

In the late afternoon we roll into camp and once again meet the support vehicle. At this point before setting up camp the guides and guests often enjoy a celebratory beer. The guides then set up the outdoor kitchen, start appetizers and prepare dinner, while our guests set up their tents and clean their bicycles for the next day. Dinner is enjoyed around the campfire as the stars appear above in the pitch black sky. Life is good! 😀

Trans-Utah MTB Tour: Highlights

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument

Refresh in the cool waters of Calf Creek Falls

Refresh in the cool waters of Calf Creek Falls

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Spring time in the Henry Mountains

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BIG VIEWS on fun double track

Alpine mountain biking through Bears Ears Pass

Alpine mountain biking through Bears Ears Pass: Week-Two

You never know what you'll come across in the desert!

You never know what you’ll come across in the desert!

Camping with a view!

Camping with a view!

The views on Day 8

The views on Day 8

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Map sessions are offered each morning

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Camping in the Abjo Mountains on week 2

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Trans-Utah MTB Tour: Tour Photos

Photos from the May 2016 inaugural Tran-Utah MTB Tour.

Trans-Utah MTB Tour: Tour Dates

Trans Utah bike tour dates are listed below. Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891.

2017 Spring Tour Dates:

Whole Enchilada (2 Weeks/14 Days): Sunday April 30 to Friday May 13, 2017 (Book Now!)

  • Week-One (7 Days): Kanab to the Henry Mountains
    Saturday April 30 to Friday May 6, 2017 (Book Now!)  – TOUR OPENED
  • Week-Two (7 Days): Henry Mountains to Moab
    Sunday May 7 to Friday May 13, 2017 (Book Now!) – TOUR A GO!
  • Abajos to Moab (4 Days) – Click here for more info 
    Wednesday May 10 to Saturday May 13, 2017 (Book Now!)  – TOUR A GO!

Whole Enchilada (2 Weeks/14 Days): Sunday May 14 to Saturday May 27, 2017 (Book Now!)

  • Week-One (7 Days): Kanab to the Henry Mountains
    Sunday May 14 to Saturday May 20, 2017 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED
  • Week-Two (7 Days): Henry Mountains to Moab
    Sunday May 21 to Saturday May 27, 2017 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED
  • Abajos to Moab (4 Days) – Click here for more info 
    Wednesday May 24 to Saturday May 27, 2017 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED

2017 Autumn Tour Dates:

Whole Enchilada (2 Weeks/14 Days): Sunday September 3 to Saturday September 16, 2017 (Book Now!)

  • Week-One (7 Days): Kanab to the Henry Mountains
    Sunday September 3 to Saturday September 9, 2017 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED
  • Week-Two (7 Days): Henry Mountains to Moab
    Sunday September 10 to Saturday September 16, 2017 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED
  • Abajos to Moab (4 Days) – Click here for more info 
    Wednesday September 13 to Saturday September 16, 2017 (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED

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Trans-Utah MTB Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Ability Level: 3/4 (Upper Intermediate to Advanced)

Tour Size: 4 to 10 riders

Tour Cost: $3,350 (2-week tour) and $1,750 (1-week tour)
* Bring 4 riders & receive a $150 per person/week discount
* Tour includes use of Scott Spark 27.5 Plus bikes while supplies last
Please see our Tour Discounts Policy.

Trans-Utah MTB Includes: Guide service, all meals, Scott 27.5 Plus Bike rental, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages and massage therapy are additional.

Camper’s Gear:  Rental Tent, Ground-Cot or Pad & Sleeping Bag:
One-Week – $85; Two- Weeks $150
Lizard Head Cycling offers rental of late model camping gear. The rental tent is a 3-person Sierra Design tent (sleeps 2 comfortably). The ground cots are two inches above the ground and allows campers to sleep on one’s side. The Ground pads are 1.5 inches thick and our synthetic sleeping bags are rated for 20 degrees (warm & comfy in the wild).
**Al la Carte tent rental is $55 for 1 week and $100 for 2 weeks.

Highlights Include: This route across southern Utah includes the Grand Staircase Escalante National MonumentCapitol Reef National Park, the Henry Mountains, the Sierra Abajos, Glen Canyon and Lockhart Basin.

Our Bikes: Lizard Head Cycling Guides and Scott bicycles will include Scott 720 Spark 27.5 Plus sized full suspension bikes for each rider on this tour (limited sizing exists so sign up soon). This is a $375 value. If you dig your ride, you can take it home! Click here for more info. Riders can of course use their own bikes.

Scott 720 Genius Plus bikes are included as first come first serve and sizing is limited to Small, Medium, Large and XL. The cost of the tour does not change if one’s sizing is not available or if one chooses to use their own bike.

Overall Route Map

Trans-Utah MTB Tour: 450-Miles over 14-Days

Trans-Utah MTB Tour: 420-Miles over 14-Days

Trans-Utah MTB Tour: Week-One Itinerary*

*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Please view this itinerary as an outline as to what to expect on this tour.

Pre-Tour Meeting in St. George, Utah

Most guests will opt to fly into the Las Vegas, Nevada airport (LAS) and then catch one of the regular shuttles provided by St. George Shuttle Service to the town of St. George. At 6:00pm we will meet in the hotel lobby of the Courtyard Marriott in St. George to discuss logistics, go over maps and to perform final bike checks.

Beautiful desert scenery

Beautiful desert scenery

Trans-Utah MTB Week-One Synopsis: Kanab to Henry Mountains

  • Total Mileage: 190 miles
  • Total Elevation Gain: 17,600 feet
  • Total Elevation Loss: 16,400 feet

The first week of the Trans-Utah MTB tour starts with a shuttle across Utah’s desert to the town of Big Water, Utah which is just west of Lake Powell. From Big Water cyclists embark on a 420+ mile mountain bike odyssey into Utah’s otherworldly back-of-beyond terrain.

NOTE: Week 1’s itinerary has a day built in for delays. The May 2016 Trans-Utah MTB tour’s week-one crossing of Utah was done in six days and as a result the riders rested two nights in the Henry Mountains before the start of week-two.

 

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Fast and Flowy in Left Hand Colette Canyon

Healthy and nutritious meals every day!

Healthy and nutritious meals every day!

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Stories & libations under a sea of stars

The Trans-Utah MTB route starts on Smoky Mountain Road, so named for the smoke smoldering out from 100-year-old coal fires deep beneath Smoky Mountain. This section of the route in the Grand Staircase National Monument features unparalleled views of Lake Powell’s remote western flanks, Navajo Mountain, and the Kaiparowits Plateau. The 78-mile road is mostly smooth sailing (when it is dry) on a mixed clay with the occasional choppy section.

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The Walls of Long Canyon: A section of remote pavement on Day 4

The Trans-Utah MTB route then descends into the solitude of Left Hand Colette canyon, where it is entirely possible not another person will be encountered. On Day 3 the route intersects Utah’s Highway 12 (aka hole-in-the-rock road). Highway 12 will take us over the Hogsback past the 125-foot Calf Creek Waterfall to the oasis of Boulder, Utah.

The Henry Mountains on Day 6

The Henry Mountains on Day 6

Just outside of the town of Boulder we will rinse of the blood, sweat, and tears of the route to this point with a natural shower at Calf Creek Falls. In Boulder town cyclists may have the option of adding a night’s lodging at either the Boulder Mountain Lodge or Pole’s Place. Boulder marks the start of the Burr Trail and 60+ miles of  incredibly scenic biking with thousands of feet of elevation gain and loss. The Burr Trail encompasses Long Canyon, the Wolverine Loop, the switchbacks of the Waterpocket Fold in Capitol Reef National Park and Bull Frog road. From the top of the Waterpocket Fold we will get our first look at the infamously rugged Henry Mountains.

WEEK 1 CONTINUED: On days 5 thru 7 over the course of 46-miles in the Henry Mountains riders will weave their way up and down 6,000’ of jeep trail reaching a maximum elevation of almost 10,000’ above sea level. The east side of the Henry Mountains descent marks the completion of Week-One and the location in which Week-Two riders will join the Trans-Utah MTB tour.

Relaxing at Boulder Mountain Lodge

Relaxing near Boulder, Utah: Week-One

Trans-Utah MTB Week-One: Daily Elevation Profiles:

Below are the daily elevation profiles for Week-One of the Trans-Utah MTB tour.

Day 1: 28 miles with +2700 feet/-1100 feet

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Day 2: 43 miles with +3000 feet/-2900 feet

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Day 3: 30 miles with +2700 feet/-2800 feet

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Day 4: 35 miles with +3300 feet/-2200 feet

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Day 5: 28 miles with +1300 feet/-2800 feet

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Day 6: 17 miles with +3400 feet/-350 feet

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Day 7: 14 miles with +2500 feet/-4400 feet

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Trans-Utah MTB Tour: Week-Two Itinerary*

*Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Please view this itinerary as an outline as to what to expect on this tour.

Trans-Utah MTB Week-Two: Riders Meet in Grand Junction, Colorado

Riders joining the Trans-Utah bike tour for Week-Two (Henry Mountains to Moab) meet on Saturday afternoon (Day 7) at the Courtyard Marriott airport meeting hotel in Grand Junction, CO. From the Courtyard Marriott we will shuttle to the East side of the rugged Henry Mountains to meet comrades who have ridden Week-One (Big Water to Henry Mountains).

Week-Two Synopsis: Henry Mountains to Moab, Utah

  • Total Mileage: 196 miles
  • Total Elevation Gain: 13,406 feet
  • Total Elevation Loss: 14,367 feet

Week-Two of the Trans-Utah MTB tours starts in the Henry Mountains with a cruiser section of paved road on Highway 95 known as the “Trail of the Ancients.” Highway 95 is a stunning section of highway carved into Redrock Canyon walls. It is a welcomed relief to those who have just conquered the Henry’s and an excellent warm up opportunity for those just getting on board.

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Great lunch spot on week 2

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Sunsetting at Lockhart Camp

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Getting ready to set off from Dark Canyon Camp

Ruins from the Ancient Puebloans along the route

Ruins from the Ancient Puebloans along the route

Then, after crossing the mighty Colorado River just outside of Hite, the primary town site for Lake Powell and the Glen Canyon National Recreation area, it all changes. The next 163 miles serve up some of the most remote terrain the Wild West has to offer, starting with Wooden Shoe Road. This road, co-“maintained” by the BLM and Forest Service requires at least 8″ of vehicle clearance, ensuring other human encounters are rare at best.

Lockhart Basin

Lockhart Basin

Along the way, guests will have numerous opportunities to contemplate the meaning of it all while gazing down into the Dark Canyon, a 1,000-foot deep canyon wilderness area that was designated for its deep canyon graced with unique steep sandstone cliffs and a vast archaeological record.

Riding on Day 11

Riding on Day 11

A BBQ feast at the end of a great day of riding

A BBQ feast at the end of a great day of riding

Desert sandstone slowly gives way to shady forest of Ponderosa pine, Douglas fir, aspen, and Gambel oak as we begin our ascent into the tour’s second major group of mountains, the Sierra Abajos. Over the next 35 miles and 3,000 feet of elevation gain and loss, you may feel like you have gone back in time to the days of the old west, sharing the road almost exclusively with the occasional cowboy and cattle herder.

Taking a break on Day 11 to admire the view

Taking a break on Day 11 to admire the view

Horse Mountain marks the high point and then it is all down hill to Beef Basin where a few of the obstacles will likely be grazing. After the Sieraa Abajo descent we will continue north, skirting around Canyonlands National Park to the West. Guests will enjoy a short 9-mile route through Indian Creek, a world-renowned rock climbing area and archeological wonder.

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The coffee is always hot

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Rainbow Bridge over the Colorado River at Lake Powell

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Cruising Lockhart Basin

Riders continue onward past the entrance to the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park before arriving at the start of the routes final spectacular section of the tour through Lockhart Basin. Paralleling the White Rim Trail just across the Colorado River, the Lockhart Basin Trail is a bike-it list ride for any mountain bike enthusiast. The route follows a jeep road all the way from the Needles District of Canyonlands to Hurrah Pass. The last 20 miles of Lockhart Basin will be the equivalent of our victory lap before arriving at victory lane, known to the locals as the Moab Brewery.

After a few celebratory libations and farewell meal, riders can choose to add a night’s stay in Moab or shuttle back to the Courtyard Marriott in Grand Junction, Colorado.

Trans-Utah MTB Week-Two: Daily Elevation Profiles

  • Below are the daily elevation profiles for Week-Two of the Trans-Utah MTB tour.

Day 8: 38 miles with +2200 feet/-3800 feet

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Day 9: 24 miles with +2500 feet/-500 feet

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Day 10: 20 miles with +2500 feet/-1300 feet

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Day 11: 18 miles with +1500 feet/-1000 feet

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Day 12: 40 miles with +1000 feet/-4800 feet

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Day 13: 35 miles with +1700 feet/-2100 feet

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Day 14: 26 miles with +2100 feet/-2500 feet

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Trans-Utah MTB Tour: Logistics & FAQs

Getting to and From the Tour.

The Whole Enchilada Logistics (2 Weeks): 

  • The meeting location will be at the Courtyard Marriott in St. George UT.
  • There will be a pre-trip meeting on Day 0 (Saturday) in the evening.
  • Lizard Head Cycling will provide a shuttle from St. George to the starting location outside of Kanab early on the morning of Day 1 (Sunday).
  • The tour will end on Saturday (Day 14) in Moab, UT. After a celebratory brew or two, guests will be offered a late afternoon shuttle back to the meeting hotel in Grand Junction, CO.
  • For most, the easiest way to join the tour will be to:
    • Fly to Las Vegas, NV (LAS) and take a regular shuttle provided by St. George Shuttle Service to the meeting hotel in St. George, UT.
    • Fly out of Grand Junction, CO (GJT) on the Sunday following the tour.
  • If you are driving to the start of the Trans-Utah bike tour in St. George, Utah we first suggest  driving to Grand Junction, CO to meet the shuttle vehicle the day prior to tour start and then taking the shuttle back to St. George. This scenario would allow you to have your vehicle at the tour’s end.

First Week Logistics: (Kanab to the Henry Mountains):

  • The meeting location will be at the Courtyard Marriot in St. George UT.
  • There will be a pre-trip meeting on Day 0 (Saturday) in the evening.
  • Lizard Head Cycling will provide a shuttle from St. George to the starting location outside of Kanab early on the morning of Day 1 (Sunday).
  • The tour will end on Day 7 (Saturday) with a shuttle from the Henry Mountains to the Courtyard Marriot in Grand Junction, CO.
  • For most, the easiest way to join the tour will be to:
    • Fly to Las Vegas, NV (LAS) and take a regular shuttle provided by St. George Shuttle Service to the meeting hotel in St. George, UT.
    • Fly out of Grand Junction, CO (GJT) on the Sunday following the tour.

Second Week Logistics: (Henry Mountains to Moab):

  • Riders should plan to meet at the Courtyard Marriott in Grand Junction, CO in the afternoon on Saturday (Day 7). From there, Lizard Head Cycling Guides will provide a shuttle to the meeting location just south of Hanksville, UT.
  • The tour will end on Saturday (Day 14) in Moab, UT. After a celebratory brew or two, guests will be offered a late afternoon shuttle back to the meeting hotel in Grand Junction, CO.
  • For most, the easiest way to join the tour will be to:
    • Fly to Grand Junction, CO (GJT) on the Friday or Saturday morning before the start of the tour.
    • Fly out of Grand Junction, CO (GJT) on the Sunday following the tour.

If you have any questions about start and end logistics feel free to shoot us an email or give us a call!

Bike Shipping

Lizard Head Cycling recommends shipping with BikeFlights.com. Bikes can be shipped either to our partner bike shop in each meeting town for professional assembly or directly to the meeting hotel for self-assembly. Bike boxes can generally be left at the meeting hotel during the tour. Bikes shipped across the continental US should be shipped 8 days prior to your tour.

Sleeping
The Trans-Utah MTB tour rides through one of the most inacessible areas in the lower 48 states. As a result we primarily camp at undeveloped campsites each night.

Meals
Guides in camp will prepare all meals. Meals include: Dutch oven lasagna, wild salmon, grilled chicken, salads, quinoa, fruits and lots of seasonal veggies. Any dietary preferences or allergies should be noted on the registration form. Each of Lizard Head Cycling’s lunches contains gluten free options.

Ride Difficulty
This custom tour is designed for Upper Intermediate to Advanced cyclists. The terrain ranges from rugged jeep roads, to rocky streams, sand and mountain dirt.

Tour Support
A 4-wheel drive flatbed truck (aka the mother ship) carries luggage, food and equipment in support of the Trans-Utah MTB tour. Cyclists pack their lunch and water in their packs.

Electronics & Charging
One of the best parts about this tour is the opportunity it provides for one to detach from the world of emails and ringtones. Yet, most guests find that they still have devices, such as cameras and iPods, that require charging. While the mother ship does has the ability to spare a little juice, it is typically reserved for guide communications. Since, in this remote terrain, a dead truck batter is no bueno, we encourage our guests with charging requirements to bring their own solar charger. We like the Goal Zero Guide 10 Plus Adventure Kit.

Click Here to learn more about Solar Chargers and Portable Power.

General Tour & Cancellation Policies

Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with all of our tour and cancellation policies, which can be found by clicking here.

Travel Insurance

Lizard Head Cycling Guides teams up with Seven Corners for travel insurance. Seven Corners offers:

  • Travel Medical
  • Medical Evacuation
  • 24/7 Assistance
  • Trip Cancellation

Be sure to go to our custom Seven Corners portal by clicking this link or by clicking the the banner on the right after confirming your tour with us to get a quote on travel insurance.