Moab is one of the world’s most well-known mountain biking destinations, and at least some of that fame is due to one ride in particular - The White Rim Trail. Located at the very heart of Canyonlands National Park, The White Rim’s popularity with riders is due to its moderate/intermediate skill level, close proximity to Moab, and amazing long distance views down into the Colorado River basin, across to the snow-capped La Sal Mountains, over to the Maze, and up to the Wingate cliffs of Grand View Point.
Though it is possible to ride the 85 - 100 miles of The White Rim Trail in a single day (only for the extreme athlete and during optimal conditions) most riders do the tour in 3 or 4 days, camping at several of the national park campsites along the way, and hauling gear and supplies in a four-wheel drive vehicle. These expedition-style rides are usually done during Spring and Fall (Summer being considered by most as too hot for camping.) Individuals can apply for private group permits and campsite reservations through the NPS website.
Due to the difficulties of hauling gear, food and enough water for the duration over extremely rough roads, many riders chose instead to book a spot on a professionally outfitted tour.
Rim Tours is Moab’s original mountain bike outfitter, operating tours since 1985 (in fact the company’s name derives from The White Rim Trail, the first tour they offered.) Their White Rim tours run mid-March through Memorial Day, and from mid-September through Halloween. Whether riding on your own, or leaving all the hassles to an outfitter, the key to a successful White Rim Tour is personal preparation.
Below are a few tips for preparing for a ride on The White Rim Trail.
Ride Your Bike:
Get on your bike as much as possible before the tour starts to get your butt in shape! You'll be riding all day for multiple days so, if you haven't been on a bike in a while your butt will be sore, guaranteed! Also, the better shape you are in, the more you will enjoy your tour. Even riding a stationary bike at your local gym will help. The terrain you will encounter on your tour is on 4-wheel drive roads with intermittent rocks, small ledges, and sand, and ranges between 4,000 and 6,000 ft. in elevation. Our guides are skilled instructors to help the more inexperienced riders adopt the proper techniques for this kind of riding.
If Bringing Your Own Bike:
Have your bike tuned up before the tour and have any worn-out parts replaced. You may want to ship your bike ahead of time to Rim Tours. Our assembly fee is $40 or $80, if we also disassemble and box it up at the end of the trip as well. As for tires for your tour, any good off-road tires are fine. We use Wilderness Trail Bike’s latest creations. They're the best! We do recommend bringing a full suspension bike. Rim Tours rents high quality full suspension bikes for $45-$70 per day.
While traveling to your tour, drink water. Keep fully hydrated. This will help your body to adapt to our dry desert environment, to deal with the higher altitudes, and to allow you to recover better from the full days of riding. Avoid excessive caffeine and alcohol. These will dehydrate you.
We provide waterproof bags (dry bags) for your gear. Most soft shell duffel bags fit right into these 12 ½” x 18 ½” x 30” bags. It is best to divide your gear and pack into several small to medium sized duffel bags. Please do not bring hard shell suitcases. These will not fit into the dry bags, and the dry bags are much easier to pack on our support vehicles.
Getting to Moab Utah from Salt Lake City, UT:
- Fly directly into Moab via SkyWest Airlines (projected date for beginning regularly scheduled flights is May 1)
- Rent a Car: Drive time is about 4 hours to Moab. If renting a car please know you must return it to Salt Lake City or pay an exorbitant drop fee.
Getting to Moab from Grand Junction, CO:
- United, Delta, Sky West and Allegiant Airlines all fly into Grand Junction. You’ll need to rent a car to get to Moab but it’s a beautiful, less than 2 hour drive, take Hwy 128 if in daylight!
- Thrifty Rental Car (800) 373-0277
- Enterprise Rent-A-Car (970)242-8103, 406 S. 5th ST. Grand Junction, CO.
Suggested Reading For helping to get into “The Moab State Of Mind:”
- Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey.
- Canyon Country Wildflowers by Damian Fagan.
- Open Space of Democracy by Terry Tempest Williams.
- Any of the Guide books by F.A. Barnes.