Story and Photos By Monique Beeley
Nestled in the heart of the Dixie National Forest and sitting at 9,600 feet, Brian Head is Utah’s highest mountain resort town. Boasting more than 200 miles of mountain biking trails and with summer temps averaging in the high 70s, Brian Head is a biker’s paradise. Whether you’re a novice, downhill daredevil or endurance junkie, this high elevation oasis offers it all.
Novice/Beginner: The Town Trail is a 6-mile wide single track that heads east of the Navajo Lodge and winds through the lush forest and beautiful meadows that surround Brian Head. This trail has many different access points throughout town making it ideal for families who just want a short scenic ride. Color Country is a great option for those wanting to utilize the lift-serviced mountain biking at Brian Head Resort. This 6-mile trail heads south from the top of the Giant Steps lift and offers amazing views of the nearby fiery red rock amphitheaters of Cedar Breaks National Monument.
Intermediate/Advanced: The Mountain Bike Park at Brian Head Resort offers many options for the experienced rider as well as access to some amazing backcountry trails. Ascending 250 feet in three miles from the top of the Giant Steps lift, the Brian Head Peak Trail takes you to 11,307 feet where you can access the epic rides, Dark Hollow and Bunker Creek. The infamous Dark Hollow is a 14.5-mile, point-to-point downhill dropping over 5,000 vertical feet. The ride gets technical in spots, with some steep and rocky descents. Intermediate riders may choose to walk some of these short sections. The Right & Left Hand Fork of Bunker Creek is a 12-mile, point–to-point, with the Right Fork offering an option for the less-experienced rider. A shuttle is recommended for both trails and is available at the resort or at local bike shops.
Downhill Daredevil: Brian Head offers many options for the gravity-seeking enthusiast. Timberline, a local’s favorite, is the location of the downhill competitions at the resort. This technical trail is complete with tabletop jumps, high-banked turns and huge rollers and is easily accessed from the Giant Steps lift. Dropping 3,300 vertical feet in just over seven miles, Blowhard is a challenging, technical and rocky descent that borders Cedar Breaks National Monument. Steep sections of the ride bottom out with a 25% incline through some amazingly tight rocky and root-covered switchbacks that are sure to pump your adrenaline. Arrange a shuttle for this ride or the climb back might put you over the edge.
Endurance Junkie: The five–star Virgin River Rim Trail is an epic 32 miles of amazing single-track that winds through some of Utah’s best landscapes. There are many options for the ride; one-way with a shuttle, out and back or make a weekend out of it, with an overnight camp at Navajo Lake. With elevations ranging between 8,000–9,000 feet. This is a great place to ride and escape the heat of the summer.
For more information about mountain biking in Brian Head call1-888-677-2810 or visit brianheadutah.com
This story has been edited for length and reprinted from the Late Summer 2008 issue of Sports Guide.