The Maze District at Canyonlands National Park is a great place to go mountain biking without the crowds. Canyonlands in Utah is that place to go to try something a little extreme without being bothered by other groups. Enjoy a view of the desert and gather a mountain biking crew—it’s more fun to do this with a group!

Within Canyonlands National Park are other sites for mountain biking, camping, and hiking. As a protected area, all these activities and trails are developed with minimal impact on the natural environment. Canyonlands National Park itself has historical relevance as it was first occupied by Native Americans, many years ago. Don’t miss the drawings on the rocks (Barrier Canyon Style) that date back at least 2,000 years.

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The Maze: Not For The Faint Of Heart

Steep canyons, jagged mesas, pinnacles make for the perfect backdrop of an unforgettable rugged biking experience. Visitors are allowed to bike on paved and unpaved paths, they also have the option to make this a multi-day trip and go camping throughout their stay. Experienced cyclists cannot miss this adventure.

The best thing about going on this trip is the fact that it’s so remote so it does not get crowded. There are guides that can assist with planning trips and make arrangements for support vehicles to follow a small group. Permits are required in order to stay overnight at the Maze.

Riding Through The Maze

The Maze is a big place with a lot of trails and pitstops. Written below is a sample schedule for a four to a five-day trip to the Maze. This itinerary can be extended or shortened depending on the type of mountain biking trip you wish to have. Those who are looking for that adrenaline rush could follow the itinerary below and even include more stops. Meanwhile, those who wish to proceed at a leisurely pace and remove some of the stops in the list below.

  • Day 1: Maze Direct Headquarters | Canyon, trees | Bagpipe Butte overlook | Flint Trail | “Under the Ledge” | Golden Stairs
  • Day 2: Elaterite Basin | Maze Overlook
  • Day 3: Golden Stairs | Teapot Rock | Sunset Pass
  • Day 4: Cataract Canyon | Hite Bridge

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Access

Canyonlands National Park is open all year. Get a permit for multi-day trips to the Maze.

Individual entrance fee for those with motorcycles and bicycles:

  • Cost: $5 per person; good for 7 days

Vehicles:

  • Cost: $10 (including all passengers); good for 7 days

Getting to the Maze at Canyonlands is quite challenging as it is an isolated area. Those who have been there recommended staying several days to make the most out of a single trip. The best time to go is from May to November.

What To Bring

Because this trip is meant to be action-packed and fast-paced, it is best to pack light. If possible, bring less than 20 kg of clothes for a 4-day trip. There is no gas, water, or food at the Maze, so bring everything but make sure to not leave any trash or leftovers to avoid attracting wild animals.

The Hans Flat Ranger Station is useful for general information and assistance with planning.

Camping essentials:

  • Raincoat
  • Sleeping bag
  • Bike
  • Tent

Personal items:

  • Quick-drying pants and shirts
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Hygiene kit (toothbrush, body wash, shampoo, tissues, etc.)

Others:

  • Flash light
  • Reusable water bottle
  • Snacks
  • Batteries

Some Reminders: Even for experienced mountain bikers, it is best to stay on the trails. Do not veer away as it might pose a risk to health and safety. Since the Maze is quite difficult to get to, visitors have to be prepared to be self-sufficient. Of course, this area is protected and monitored, but because it is isolated, access to food and other services is severely limited.

Expect to rough it out. There are tour operators who can facilitate the arrangements and the itinerary, but it’s also possible to do this without them.

Nearby Areas To Explore

  • Island in the Sky: Has sandstone cliffs and is frequented by mountain bikers and four-wheel driving. The main attraction is White Rim Road.
  • Needles: This place is best enjoyed by people who are highly experienced and skilled at four-wheel driving.

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Where To Stay

The Maze at Canyonlands is quite remote. While it’s good to plan for a few days of camping, those who wish to stay at more comfortable accommodations can choose from these options:

  • Radcliffe Moab: From $134 per night
  • Blue Sage inn and Suites: From $69 per night
  • Holiday Inn Express and Suites: From $139 per night
  • Sleep Inn and Suites: From $62.90
  • Hoodoo Moab, Curio Collection by Hilton: From $130 per night

Why Make The Trip?

This is a great trip to take for experienced cyclists who are looking for an adventure in a place that is as challenging as it is breathtaking. Take in the views of canyons and other natural formations in between riding breaks. On top of that, the Maze at Canyonlands National Park does not get super crowded. Cyclists will get the best of both worlds: a challenging yet rewarding cycling trip with some peace and quiet.

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