One of the most frequently asked questions from a guest to a guide is “What is your favorite tour?” Now this is an excellent question but a very difficult one to answer because…well to put it bluntly, we don’t go anywhere that sucks.
With over 60 different tours spanning 12 western states, it can be really hard to narrow it down. Many of the multi-day guides choose to live in Moab which may tell you something about what the Southern Utah landscape has to offer a seasoned mountain biker.
But I can’t say how much we thoroughly enjoy traveling to other destinations. So I’ll have to cop out and not tell you my favorite tour but bring it to a top 10 list.
Compiled with the input of veteran guides whose combined totals are upwards of 480 Escape Multi-day tours under their belts ! Without further ado….
Top 10 Escape Adventures Mountain Bike Tours:
1) The Maze – Canyonlands National Park, Utah
What can I say about the Maze? It is truly an adventure with some of the most beautiful, tangible and remote scenery of any of our trips. Riding with 360 degree views abound at every turn. We hike through serpentine canyons that feel like the bones of the earth exposed.
The maximum numbers allowed at the camps is 9 (including guides) and this assures you a wilderness backcountry experience like no other. The icing is that on the final day we ride right out on to a tarmac where you catch a scenic flight back to Moab. How cool is that?
2) Mt Hood – Oregon
This trip epitomizes flowy northwest singletrack! With great campgrounds and many options for rides in the quiet forest, this tour is surely a guide favorite. Add to that breathtaking views of glaciated Mt Hood every now and then, plus a waterfall hike! And we love close proximity to Portland but far enough away to leave the crowds behind.
3) Bryce and Zion – Utah
An EA classic founded in the early days of the company, this tour is a great sampler of southern Utah riding. Starting at the top of Brian Head peak with epic downhills, we traverse through the Dixie National forest hitting key locations including Thunder Mountain at Red Canyon, the Virgin River Rim Trail, and the Navajo Lake Loop and then of course adding in sightseeing at the world famous Bryce and Zion National Parks. Thunder Mountain!
Mountain bikers of all levels have enjoyed this 6 day trip. For the even more core biker, get on the Brian Head Singletrack Tour (honorable mention) for a step up in difficulty.
4) The Maah Daah Hey Trail – North Dakota
Most people would say North Dakota, really? Why would I want to spend my vacation there? But the reality is that there is a gem of mountain biking hidden in the wrinkles and folds of the Badlands of western North Dakota. They have over 140 miles of established point to point singletrack trail circumventing Theodore Roosevelt National Park with camps perfectly spaced right about when you’re getting hungry for dinner. It’s one of the last wild places in the west and should not be missed.
5) Best of Canyonlands, Arches and Moab (CAM) – Utah
This is a great trip to take if you want to sample what the Moab area has to offer but the idea of Moab conjures up mountain bike trails so gnarly that they should be left to the pros. No fear, we have many expert guides eager to show you around their backyard. Plus with the boom of trail building in the last few years, there are so many new trails with a little something for everyone. Add in the backdrop of 2 fabulous national parks and a funky little town to base out of and you’re golden. Delicate Arch, even better with bare feet on warm sandstone Arches NP, Utah
6) Idaho Hot Springs and Singletrack – Idaho
Remote backcountry hotsprings after a full day ride in the Sawtooth mountains? Sign me up! This tour is rated high on the difficulty scale but the rewards are well worth the effort. If you like all day, pack a lunch, filter water out of stream sort of adventures this tour is for you. You might even see a black bear…. Empty back country Idaho hot spring…what did you do after your last ride? Empty backcountry Idaho hot springs…what did you do after your last ride?
7) The Kokopelli Trail – Colorado/Utah
See my blog post from 2 weeks ago for more insight on this epic route from Fruita to Moab. More than Dirt Roads
8) The White Rim, Canyonlands N.P. – Utah
Seeing a national park by way of bicycle is high my priority list when in comes to tourism. Getting out of the vehicle and onto a bike has such freedom in it with a pace that covers so much more ground than walking. The White Rim is a 4×4 road that traverses geologic layers which in reality is start of the Grand Canyon’s course. This 4 day, 3 night trip is a perfect introduction to mountain bike touring and a deeper look at Canyonlands National Park. Picture yourself riding on that road waaay down there. Now picture yourself eating dinner that you didn’t have to make Picture yourself riding on that road waaay down there. Now picture yourself eating dinner that you didn’t have to make. The White Rim, Canyonlands Photo by Nancy Morlock
9) Spirit of Mojave – Death Valley N.P. – California/Nevada
A common question about this trip is “Can we really ride in Death Valley National Park”. The answer is yes, although we ride on 4 wheel drive jeep roads through some spectacular and surrealistic Mojave desert landscapes. We go places here that the normal tourist doesn’t see by getting off the beaten track. The two campsites we use in the park are very unique. And the last two days of the trip we get our single-track fix riding in Red Rock National Conservation Area.
10) Mt St Helens – Washington
This is a newcomer to Escape repertoire but it’s a definite must do. The trails are a mountain bikers dream, flowing in and out of a rain forest, through the blast zone of a volcano, and along the banks of the Lewis River. Views of the Cascade Range are stunning and the camping is great. Get up there! Mt St Helens in an August wildflower bloom! Mt St Helens in an August wildflower bloom! Did you notice that the North Rim of the Grand Canyon is missing?
Well, we figured you’d find that one on your own. Of course its great! It’s the GRAND CANYON!
For more info on any of these trips hit up escapeadventures.com or call 1-800-596-2953
Keep the rubber side down, Nancy