Family Biking Adventures

Northern Utah

1. Bicycling in northern Utah is not just for conditioned athletes. Families with children can pedal alongside blue-ribbon Logan River beneath craggy cliffs on the Logan River Bicycle Trail. Near Pineview Reservoir east of Ogden, the old dirt road up Wheeler Canyon and the newly reconstructed Maples Trail enter terrain inhabited by deer and moose. The dirt and gravel East Canyon Road, located between Salt Lake City and Park City, follows part of the historic Mormon Trail to the shore of East Canyon Reservoir. Jordan River Parkway, SLCThe Historic Union Pacific Rail Trail is a unique 28-mile-long trail for non-motorized use following the old Union Pacific rail bed between Park City and Echo Reservoir. A connecting route ties in with Jordanelle Reservoir State Park's Perimeter Trail, which varies in difficulty. Families with children can pedal past beaver-ponded meadows on the near-level Beaver Creek Trail, located east of Kamas along the Mirror Lake Scenic Highway.

2. Youngsters undaunted by occasional dismounts can pursue the 2.5-mile-long Buffalo Point Trail around the tip of Antelope Island. After your shoreline ride, order a genuine "buffalo burger" at the island's snack shop.

3. A collection of trails located in the city centers lure casual recreationists, families with children, and those who are physically challenged to mosey alongside scenic waterways. The 2.5-mile-long Ogden River Parkway joins the central business district and the mouth of Ogden Canyon, passing the Eccles Dinosaur Park along the way. The Jordan River Parkway in Salt Lake City, although incomplete in its entirety, has established trailheads at the Utah State Fair Park, at 1700 South, and next to the Murray City Golf Course. A dirt path parallel to the paved parkway caters to horseback riders, too. The Provo River Parkway runs 13 miles from the shore of Utah Lake, through the center of Provo, and then up Provo Canyon to picturesque Bridal Veil Falls.

4. Spring and fall are the best times to take the family on an off-road tour of Golden Spike National Historic Site west of Brigham City. You can pedal the same rail beds over which the Jupiter and 911 locomotives chugged when the transcontinental railroad was completed in 1869.

Gemini Bridges Trail

Southern Utah

1. A family outing in Southern Utah will leave you a lifetime of memories. Small, quaint towns offer most amenities, while public and private campgrounds accommodate those who would rather sleep under the stars.

2. Moab's Kane Creek Road leaves the southwest end of town and slips through the Colorado River Portal. Vertical sandstone cliffs, streaked with desert varnish and adorned with Indian rock art, overshadow the Colorado River, which flows gently at your side. Although motor traffic is light, ride single file for safety. Families who choose knobby tires can take the kids beyond the pavement through Kane Creek Valley toward Hurrah Pass. Driving a few miles out the dirt road will eliminate tiring climbs on the return leg, which may fatigue youngsters.

3. The Temple Mountain area of the San Rafael Swell is a popular family destination. Here, good dirt roads cut through narrow canyons, pass Indian rock art, and brush by deserted mining camps. Goblin Valley State Park, nearby, is a fantasy land of mushroom capped gremlins and peculiar rock formations. Hiking opportunities are numerous, including trips into slot canyons that narrow to shoulder width.

4. On the Paunsagunt Plateau southeast of Panguitch, the loop ride around Tropic Reservoir follows near-level dirt roads. More advanced rides rise through stands of ponderosa pines and aspens to Sunset Cliffs. Carry a flashlight for the return ride if you plan on watching the sun dip below the horizon. At Brian Head, the Pioneer Cabin loop passes turn-of-the-century log cabins, crosses spacious meadows, and clips ponds hidden in the dense forest.

5. In St. George, the newly developed Virgin River Bikeway hugs the north bank of the Virgin River between downtown and Bloomington, 2.5 miles away.

These, plus a wealth of other mountain biking routes throughout Utah, are described in books by author Gregg Bromka, Off-Road Publications.

Back to top Print this page E-mail this page