Hayduke North: Castles & Goblins MTB Tour - Lizard Head Cycling Guides
107 Aurum St, Box 855, Ophir, CO 81426 970.728.5891 info@LizardHeadCyclingGuides.com

Hayduke North: Castles & Goblins MTB Tour

Please click here to jump to the Overview section with all tour details including pricing.

Hayduke North: Castles & Goblins MTB Tour: Highlights

The San Rafael Swell Expedition

As part of our Hayduke Trail tours from Castle Valley to Goblin Valley, this back country trip packs unique world class scenery. Another point-to-point mountain bike trip in Utah, this is the best of some lesser known gems that the canyon country has to offer. A part of the Colorado Plateau, the San Rafael Swell is a special section of folded, or anticline, sandstone, leading to some of the most diverse landscapes. In some sections, it is a sweeping country with towering mesas, buttes, and pinnacles rising from flat desert floors. In other areas, it boasts rolling pasture lands populated with pronghorn, antelope, and wild horses. Then it becomes an incredibly wild, broken land with streams cutting through slot canyons that open up to panoramic vistas. The landscape is not the only thing to explore. Littered within, abandoned mines, petroglyphs, and pictographs are a glimpse into the past.

Our Best Video of the Hayduke Trail Tour

See More Videos About the Hayduke Trail

Descending into Reds Canyon

Riding along the red sandstone cliffs of Reds Canyon

Fortress of Rock

Behind the Swell Trail

Head of Sinbad Petroglyph

Goblin Valley

Hayduke North: Castles & Goblins MTB Tour: Dates

Potential tour dates are listed below and not all tour dates will run. Lock in your preferred tour date early as unopened tour dates will be closed. Please see the Spring/Autumn Tour Calendar and the Summer Tour Calendar for confirmed departures. Any unopened date can be a Custom Week (9 riders required). Please contact us via email or call 970.728.5891

To easily register for a particular tour, please click the Book Now! link after the tour date listed below. This will select the tour name and the appropriate date on the registration form.

2024 Tour Dates

  • May 20 to 24, 2024 Monday to Friday (Book Now!) – TOUR OPENED 4 riders needed to make GO
  • May 26 to 30, 2024 (Book Now!)

2025 Tour Dates

Tour Status Notes: NO STATUS = Date Set, no riders have signed up. TOUR OPENED = Tour Opened, rider minimums not met. TOUR A GO! = Tour is Go, rider minimums met. SOLD OUT = Tour Full, rider maximums met.

Why Should you Sign-Up Now and OPEN a Tour Date?
This is the proverbial chicken and the egg conundrum! We need our cyclists to first commit to the date that works for them so that we can commit to that date.

For starters, when you OPEN a date you get to pick your preferred departure date, and there is no penalty if the tour does not run. Once you pick your tour date, Lizard Head closes nearby dates and funnels all additional riders to your chosen date until the tour meets its 6 rider minimum.

BONUS: As an added bonus, we can also hold a spot for you on another tour date of your choosing. There is no fee to switch to another tour date.

In conclusion, if you want a tour to run, we need you to sign up and not wait for others to do the same! Waiting for others may mean that a tour date takes longer or does not confirm. Just Do It! Once a few riders jump into the proverbial waters, others will follow!

Hayduke North: Castles & Goblins MTB Tour: Overview

Reptile Rewards

Tour Length: 5-Days of Cycling

Arrival Town/Airport: Grand Junction, Colorado (Grand Junction Regional Airport – GJT)

Departing Town/Airport: Grand Junction, Colorado (Grand Junction Regional Airport – GJT)

Total Miles: 170 miles (additional mileage options available)

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

5-Day Tour Cost: $1,670 per person.

Tour Discounts: Please see our Reptile Rewards & Tour Discounts page to learn more about Reptile Rewards, Tour Discounts, and Group Discounts. Tour discounts are not stackable with any other discounts or promotions – only the highest valued discount is provided. Please note that for discounts to apply the tour minimum must be met.

Tour Includes: 5-Days guide service, monster F-350 support truck, all delicious meals, energy food, liquid refreshments, shuttles, and mechanical support. Alcoholic beverages and bike rental are additional.

Mountain Bike Rentals

NOTE: The make, model, and specifications of rental bikes may differ from what is described below. Please contact us if you have any specific needs for a rental bike or have any questions about rental bikes.

Mountain Bike Rentals

Lizard Head Cycling Guides is proud to rent the Scott Spark 930, a truly fantastic way to go up or down a mountain. We have been riding mountain bikes for a very long time here at Lizard Head, but we can easily say our rentals are the most fun mountain bikes we have ever ridden. The Spark 930 blends the featherweight lineage of its race focused cousin with the single track chops of a 120mm travel ripper - this bike is up for anything.

The Spark 930 features: Spark Carbon HMF-Alloy Frame, FOX 34 Float Performance 130mm Fork, FOX Nude EVOL/120mm/TwinLoc rear shock, Shimano XT-SLX 12 Speed Drivetrain, Shimano Deore Disc Brakes, Syncros X-25 TR Rims, Maxxis Rekon Folding Tires, plus Syncros Dropper Post. Approx. Weight: 28.88 lbs / 13.10 kg (without pedals)

Mountain E-Bike Rentals

The Strike eRIDE 920 offers SCOTT’s latest technologies together with the newest Bosch motor. Versatile, reliable, and accessible, the Strike puts the accent on the comfort with 150mm of travel, slicker tires, thicker grips and saddle to give you a solid choice for any outing.

Learn more about our Mountain Bike & E-Bike Rentals and Equipment

If you have any further questions, please read more on our Rental Bikes FAQ page. You can also email us at info@lizardheadcyclingguides.com or call us at 970.728.5891

Overall Route Map

Below is an example of the daily routes for this tour and are subject to change based on season, available accommodations, road closures, and other factors. The actual routes will be made available to registered participants before their tour, so please view these routes as a general outline as to what to expect.

Hayduke North: Castles & Goblins MTB Tour: Itinerary*

*PLEASE NOTE: Tour itineraries are subject to change and modification based on the group, available accommodations, road construction, road closures, and other unforeseen circumstances including weather, wildfires, flooding, hurricanes, landslides and/or other acts of nature. Also, the distances and elevation profiles shown below may not reflect the actual distances and elevations while on tour as these are provided here to give an idea as to the anticipated mileage and terrain. Please view this itinerary, the distances, and elevation profiles as a general outline as to what to expect while on this tour.

The 5-Day versions run independently of one another. 

Day 1: Wedge Camp to Rio San Rafael Camp
35 miles with up to 1,100 feet of climbing, 2,250 feet of descending

To start the tour, Day 1 offers a mostly descending route to Buckhorn Wash with a 14-mile stretch of flat and non-technical, fun and flowy singletrack along the Little Grand Canyon rim trail. Afterwards, the route descends off the Wedge to head down a canyon carved by Buckhorn Wash.

The hauntingly remote landscape of the Castles and Goblins tour has been lived in for thousands of years. In the Buckhorn Wash canyon there are two walls of Native American rock art to see. One of petroglyphs (carved in rock), and the other is a pictograph (painted on rock) dating over 2,000 years. Tonight’s camp is beneath the Cottonwood Trees along the Rio San Rafael and at the base of the Mexican Mountains.

Elevation Profile: 34 miles +1100 feet / -2250 feet

Day 2: Rio San Rafael Camp to Dutchman Arch Camp
26 miles with up to 2,610 feet of climbing, 650 feet of descending
E.F.I. Additional 17 miles and 1,660 feet of climbing, 1,660 feet of descending

Today, the route leaves the river valley and pedals upward past outcroppings of pinnacles such as Bottleneck Peak. Beyond, the land continues to rise and then flatten for a grand vista of the past two days of riding. En route to camp the doubletrack trail weaves into a wash and through cliff bands leading to the notable Sinbad Petroglyph. Just around the bend from the Sinbaid Petroglyph is the Dutchman Arch formation! Once in camp, for those keen for more, there is an additional E.F.I. optional technical slick rock route called The Devil’s Race Track.

Elevation Profile: 26 miles +2610 feet / -650 feet

E.F.I. Elevation Profile: 17 miles +1660 feet / -1660 feet

Day 3: Dutchman Arch to Hidden Splendor Camp
39 miles with up to 2,250 feet of climbing, 4,610 feet of descending

Day 3 is another big day of descending with spectacular highlights on the Castles & Goblins tour. The day is split with two main sections with a descent to Reds Canyon, a climb out of Red’s Canyon and then a climactic descent into Muddy creek and the Hidden Splendor Camp. Day 4 commences in an unassuming ranch land, where wild mustangs can be found, then heads south past several buttes such as Family Butte (actually 5 buttes clumped together) and San Rafael Knob butte (an impressive 8,000-feet in elevation).

The first descent is into the truly awesome red sandstone cliffs of Reds Canyon. In Reds canyon there are so many rock features to feast upon, that during reconnaissance for this tour our guides stopped and stared at these rocks for hours. After stopping for lunch ensconced within Reds Canyon, we climb out and are rewarded with our first glimpses of San Rafael Swell inself. The Swell is a 75-mile long and 40-mile wide geologic anticline of folded and raised sandstone that juts out of the Utah desert, it is almost indescribable. To end the day, we descend a rolling doubletrack to a camp near the Muddy Creek. Nearby to camp, there are some abandoned mines to check out in the evening.

Elevation Profile: 44 miles +2250 feet / -4610 feet

Day 4: Hidden Splendor to Goblin Valley State Park
32 miles with up to 3,900 feet of climbing, 3,720 feet of descending

Day 4 is a rolling day and a tough ride through jaw dropping natural beauty. Tackling the rocky escarpment behind the San Rafael Swell, riders will be challenged with steep trails that roll up and down. There are some great sections of whoop-dee-doo doubletrack.From camp we start up a 4.5-mile climb, then 1.5-mile descent, then a 2-mile climb, then a short descent, then a 1-mile climb, well you get the picture. After 22-miles, the hardest stuff is behind us and we have the opportunity to stroll inside one of the many slot canyons carved into the San Rafael Swell. Thankfully, the final 9-miles of today’s route exits the Swell onto trails running along the front of the stunning rock formation. Tonight’s camp is within Goblin Valley State Park; home of thousands of hoodoos, referred to locally as goblins, which are formations of mushroom-shaped rock pinnacles, some as tall as several meters.

Elevation Profile: 32 miles +3900 feet / -3720 feet

Day 5: Exploring Goblin Valley State Park
7 to 10 miles of lightly rolling single track loops and hiking option

On this final day we explore the otherworldly landscape of Goblin Valley State Park. Take a stroll in early morning light through the peculiar spires and hoodoos that dot the valley. Then ride singletrack loops on the moon-like terrain. All good things come to an end and In the mid-afternoon we will shuttle back to Grand Junction, Colorado. Well Done!

Elevation Profile: 7 miles +460 ft / -460 ft

Hayduke North: Castles & Goblins MTB Tour: Logistics & FAQs

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

If you have not already, now would be a great time to consider adding travel insurance to your tour. You are welcome to use any travel insurance company you would like. We recommend Generali/Trip Mate.

Generally, if contracting COVID causes clients to cancel or interrupt their tour, trip insurance companies would treat it as any other illness as long as it is contracted after the insurance was purchased. Please check your individual plan documentation for details. Please note that quarantine is usually only covered if clients are actually sick with COVID. If a state requires quarantine upon arrival because of standardized state law, coverage is generally not covered. Again, check your individual plan documentation for details.

American Guests - use this link: http://www.generalitravelinsurance.com/get-a-quote.html?partner=LIZA0855

  • The Premium Plan is the only plan which offers Pre-Existing coverage so long as the plan is purchased prior to Final Payment.
  • The Premium Plan is the only plan that offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason - the policy must be purchased within 24 hours of initial trip deposit, the full trip cost must be insured, and if they cancel for Any Reason, it must be 48 hours prior to departure, and the reimbursement for an Any Reason claim is 60% of pre-paid, insured, non-refundable trip cost.
  • Customer Service can be reached at 1-800-874-2442 for coverage questions and policy modifications or to purchase by phone. Agency Code: LIZA0855

Canadian Guests - use this link: https://tripmate.catravelins.ca/?utm_source=lizardhead

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