Soaring red stone spires and ancient citadels of rich Navajo sandstone give way to haunting hoodoos and curving arches of rock, a geologist’s and adventurer’s dream come true. Located where the Southern Wasatch Range meets the Colorado plateau, scientists call this a “super-sequence”: a vast series of massive, high altitude islands that rise above the Four Corners region. Welcome to Utah’s Color Country.
Nonetheless scientists aren’t the only ones carried away by this area. Owing to the largest concentration of parklands in North America, plus vast open views, this is no less than a cyclist’s paradise. The infamous separated bike path of Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon, along with the vibrant colors of Snow Canyon, symbolize but a few of this tour’s many highlights.
At the historically remote, though internationally acclaimed 229-square mile Zion National Park, we marvel at huge sandstone monoliths that lord over 2,000-ft. deep canyons. One hundred and fifty million years of geologic time is suspended here: the shallow seas and near shore environs of the Mesozoic Era, or Age of the Reptiles, set in the park’s gloriously layered sandstone stacks. Enjoy a ride up the quiet Zion Canyon Drive –a road open only to bicycles and shuttles buses.
At Bryce Canyon, most days afford no less than a 90-mile view to Navajo Mountain and the Kaibab Plateau, respectfully, in Northern Arizona. Though on especially clear days, the Black Mesas of eastern Arizona and western New Mexico come into view. Despite its name, Bryce is not actually technically a canyon, but rather a series of 14 magnificent amphitheatres 1,000 feet deep, each lined with rock sculptures. Stargazers will enjoy a 7.3-magnitude night sky; this means you’ll be able to see upwards of 7500 stars without a telescope! Compare that to the big city norm of maybe a few dozen.
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