Hang on to Your Handlebars: Bike Trails and Tours 

The term "bike trail" takes on an entirely new meaning on western public lands. So make sure your helmet is buckled tightly, because you can be sure that rocks will be close at hand— whether you’re tackling the slickrock mountain biking trails in Utah or rocky, single-track routes through Colorado’s San Juan Mountains.

The steep, smooth rocks and dramatic views of Utah’s Slickrock Bike Trail in the Sand Flats Recreation Area have become legendary for mountain bikers from around the world. Numerous other trails criss-cross the area, challenging riders of all abilities. Kokopelli’s Trail, for instance, connects to the Slickrock Trail and runs for 140 miles from Moab, Utah, to Loma, Colorado, near Grand Junction. Each spring, thousands of mountain bikers converge on Fruita, Colorado, for a 4-day mountain biking festival that features BLM trails such as the Kokopelli.

If you’re trying to get away from the mountain biking traffic jams, consider one of BLM’s Back Country Byways or mountain roads. These areas are lightly traveled and have stunning scenery that rewards the extra effort. California’s Alabama Hills, for example, has dramatic rock formations of weathered granite—somewhat gentler in slope than the nearby Sierra Nevada Mountains. Northeastern Nevada has become a popular mountain biking destination, even though there are few established trails. Here, you can ride through badlands, river canyons, mountain forests, or vast high-desert basins. Looking for a serious adventure? Try the "Bloody Shins" Trail, accessible from the Water Canyon Recreation Area near Winnemucca, Nevada. BLM has developed a comprehensive management plan for mountain biking to ensure that this popular sport will continue to be managed properly. Over the next few years, thousands of miles of new trails—on all types of terrain—are likely to be developed.


• Wear a helmet, eye protection, and other safety gear.

• Ride only where permitted. Stay on the trail or road.

• Control your bike.

• Always yield the trail to those passing or traveling uphill.

• Cross streams at a 90° angle; better yet, dismount and walk your bike through moving water.

• Respect wildlife; avoid sensitive species and habitat.


Mountain bikers pause to take in the spectacular alpine scenery surrounding Utah’s challenging Slickrock Bike Trail. (Frank Jensen) 
Mountain bikers pause to take in the spectacular alpine scenery surrounding Utah’s challenging Slickrock Bike Trail. (Frank Jensen)