If you're somewhere between crushing double black diamonds and not knowing the front end of a bike from the back, Utah is a veritable oasis of opportunity. There are hundreds of miles of intermediate singletrack waiting to be shredded, all of it flowy, some of it technical, none of it life-threatening. If you can handle some climbing and descending but don’t want to go into cardiac arrest, we’ve got you covered.
Here are the top 5 intermediate trails in Utah, in our intermediately humble opinion:
Slickrock? Check. Fun descent? Check. Views for days? Check. This trail in Moab’s Horsethief area is a smorgasbord of mountain biking delight. The climb is fun with a few technical moments. The descent is beautifully built — smooth and fast. A must-ride for folks who aren’t ready to tackle the rest of the Magnificent Seven trails, but still want a taste of Moab’s finest.
The big sister of J.E.M. trail will give riders something to graduate to. The trail follows the rim of the Virgin River gorge and offers steady up-and-down desert riding with rocks, slabs and technical features thrown in. This one is a challenging intermediate ride, but definitely worth trying.
There are 1.3 billion enjoyable intermediate rides in Park City so it’s hard to pick just one, but Spiro is a great taste of what the great PC has to offer. If you’re up for a short ride, try climbing Armstrong, hopping onto Midmountain Trail and descending Spiro’s smooth corners. Spiro is also a great gateway to the Wasatch Crest (see #5).
This trail is a great distance for competent beginners and is an awesome introduction to slickrock and basic climbing. Throughout the trail, more advanced riders can split off on more challenging detours that circle back to Dino Flow. You can find it in the Klondike Bluffs trail system, about 20 miles north of Moab. Also, bonus points for anyone who can conclusively settle the argument over whether it’s pronounced “dyno” or “dee-no.”
The Crest is the crown jewel of Wasatch mountain biking, a fantastic long-distance ride running the ridge between Park City and Little Cottonwood Canyon, then descending into Millcreek Canyon. You’ll need to call in a favor or pay a shuttle service (~$12 for Big Rack Shuttle) unless you want to make it an out-and-back, or you also can start at PCMR and ride Midmountain Trail over to Canyons, giving you a true tour de Park City. It’s at an intermediate skill level with advanced endurance; make sure you bring some grub and Gatorade on this one. Enjoy views of the forest, of sprawling valleys and of overconfident riders slipping on the spine.