Utah Cliffs Loop | October Tour

The tailwind and views were just too much.

Utah Cliffs Loop: The tailwind and views were just too much.

With summer coming to an end, I tried to rally some friends to join me for a short bike tour (Adventure Cycling’s Utah Cliffs Loop). Erik was up for it, while everyone else came up with lame excuses. Do you really need more than 3-weeks notice? No! So, this blog post is purely out of spite.

The weather was perfect, the scenery was awesome, and the people of Utah were very friendly and chatty. They even have a 3-foot passing law. And, I walked out of Vegas up $60 and 5 lbs from blackjack and the buffet, respectively.

To those who missed it: yeah, you should have been there. Careful, the pics below might make you jealous.

Logistics for the Utah Cliffs Loop

We completed the loop over 4 days, staying in a motel each night. The first 2 days were long and had a lot of climbing, but the last 2 days were pretty easy and relaxed. This was our daily mileage and elevation gain:

  1. St George to Cedar City: 95 miles, 9,250 ft
  2. Cedar City to Duck Creek: 79 miles, 9,460 ft
  3. Duck Creek to Springdale: 57 miles, 3,780 ft
  4. Springdate to St George: 63 miles, 3,350 ft

For those who are interested in doing this ride, here are 5 easy steps to get you out the door:

  1. Download my GPX file from the Utah Cliffs Tour Loop (our actual route)
    • Two things to note about my GPS track
      1. After Pine Valley, when you descend the dirt road into the river valley, stay on the maintained dirt road (stay left at the fork). Don’t follow our tracks that lead into the brush next to the stream. We stuck to the ACA waypoints and ended up hiking/riding cow trails until it rejoined the road about 2 miles later. Avoid that mess and just stay on the dirt road.
      2. Just south of Cedar City, we skipped the dirt section that went up and over a hill and, instead, stayed on the paved frontage road.
  2. Go to GPSFileDepot and upload a Utah topo map to your GPS.
  3. Buy the official  map of the route from Adventure Cycling Association ($15 for non-members)
  4. Park your car in Saint George (we stayed at Motel 6 and left it in their parking lot)
  5. Bike the ~300-mile loop that is half pavement and half gravel/dirt

Equipment

We planned on staying in a hotel room every night, so we packed light. You can see our bikes and setups in the pics below and my complete gear list at GearListed.com.

I was really happy with my hardtail mountain bike and  bikepacking bags. Erik was happy with his Vaya  and rack with panniers, but he was envious of my bigger tires that allowed me to bomb the downhills faster. Based on our experience, we think a rigid bike is fine, but put on the biggest, knobby tires you can in order to have better handling on the dirt sections. Erik used 700×40.

Photo Diary

One Response to Utah Cliffs Loop | October Tour
  1. Dave Heisley
    November 5, 2013 | 5:24 pm

    Sweeeeet!

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