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Cycling Red Canyon Trail to Bryce Canyon Path

Updated: Mar 18

Red Canyon Bike Path

Are you looking for a fantastic cycling adventure in one of Utah’s most beautiful areas? The Red Canyon Bike Trail and the multiuse trail to Bryce Canyon National Park are two of the country's premier bike paths and now they are actually connected. These two trails make for a popular route for outdoor enthusiasts, both hikers and bikers. The best part about this route was that it was only about an hour from our centrally located vacation rental Zion Adventure Home located in beautiful Kanab, Utah.

Red Canyon Hoodoos

Red Canyon Bike Trail: This is a scenic trail that takes you through the stunning red rock formations of the Dixie National Forest. Some may consider this a warm-up for the main event at Bryce Canyon with its beautiful vistas. However, I think I enjoyed the Red Canyon trail more as you are riding through the scenery and not just riding up to it and observing from viewpoints. The path is paved so it is accessible to any type of bike, on-road bike or off-road bike. Our group actually consisted of three gravel bikes and one mountain bike.

Red Canyon Bike Trail Utah

Many mountain bikers use the Red Canyon Trail to climb to the Thunder Mountain trailhead and then have a generally downhill off-road ride back to their car at the Thunder Mountain Trailhead, the start of the Red Canyon Trail. The route is also very popular with walkers and people accessing the many hiking trails along the path.

Along the way, you will pass the Red Canyon visitor center and several campgrounds. Thus, this ride can take as long as you like. Just ride the trail for a quick visit to the canyon or visit the visitor center and learn more about the area. With so many campgrounds along the road, you will never be too far away from a restroom if nature calls.

Bryce Canyon Vacation Rental
Red Canyon Hwy Arch

If you are not familiar with Red Canyon, it is like a mini Bryce Canyon with red rock hoodoos and a few arches. Speaking of arches, the main highway next to the trail actually passes through two manmade arches. If you are wanting to bike but others in your group are more interested in hiking, my favorite family hiking trail in all of Utah is located in Red Canyon, the Birdseye Trail.

Ruby's Inn Bike Trail

Between Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon National Park, you will be riding through Emory Valley. Emory Valley is not really a valley it is more like a large park, similar to the parks between mountain ranges in Colorado. This section of the trail is not very interesting, but that is a small price to pay for what comes next. One plus is that you can see Mount Dutton to the north. Just as the trail makes a turn to the south, there is a Subway located at the corner of UT-12 and UT-63. We chose to ride a little farther and got lunch at the iconic Ruby’s Inn. I recommend the chicken sandwich.

There is actually a gap in the trail at Bryce Canyon City. As you enter the city you will need to ride along the edge of the road which is quite wide or on the sidewalk. Bryce Canyon City is actually just a few hotels and tourist trap-type places. The Bryce Canyon Multiuse Path starts up at the edge of the Bryce Canyon Shuttle parking lot, it can be easy to miss if you are on the west side of the road.

Bryce Canyon Multi-Use Trail

Once on the Bryce Canyon Multiuse trail, it is still a mile or two to the entrance of the National Park. As soon as the trail enters the forest you know you are on a gem of a trail. Instead of the typical boring straight path, this path weaves in and out of the ponderosa pine trees. It is almost like you are on a well laid out but paved mountain bike trail. Never once is the trail straight, you are always sweeping to the left or right and all of the climbs are just the right incline for pedaling up.

North Campground Bryce Canyon

Before reaching the overlooks, you will first pass the Bryce Canyon visitor center. As a way to promote the multi-use path, an entry fee is not charged to bikes, the trail goes right around the pay stations and straight to the visitor center. It is a short ride from the visitor center to the first overlook the trail visits at the North Campground Amphitheater. This overlook is just a warm-up to the more impressive overlooks right around the corner.

Sunset Point Bike Trail

The next stop along the trail is Sunset Point. The views from Sunset Point are spectacular. The overlook offers breathtaking views of the hoodoos and other geological formations the park is famous for. If you have a sharp eye, you can see the hiking trails located below the rim as they snake their way through all of the fantastical-shaped hoodoos. Unfortunately for bikers, those trails are for hikers and equestrians only, but it is hard not to dream of ripping a mountain bike and long the flowy trails.

Bryce Canyon Bike Trails

Each overlook has bike racks to park your bike at. It is best not to leave the bike unattended for too long or to lock them at each stop. With so many people passing by going to and from the overlooks, it would be easy for a bike to disappear. Also, each bike rack is about 100 yards from the actual overlooks, so it is best to wear walkable shoes. Road cycling shoes are not recommended, one member of our group actually wore his road shoe cleats out walking to the overlooks.

Ripping Bryce Canyon Bike Path

The last stop along the multi-use path is Inspiration Point. Don’t despair that you are missing other viewpoints. The stops along the multi-use path are the best viewpoints in my opinion and there is no real need to continue up the busy park road. Inspiration Point is where the fun really starts, as it’s all downhill back to the National Park entrance. This means you can rip the downhill and have a great time. Just remember, there are others using the trail so don’t get too excited near the busier areas, and always be on the lookout for others as you zig and zag along the path through the trees.

Dixie National Forest Gravel Routes

Immediately after exiting the park, we decided to make a detour for our return route. Instead of riding back across the boring Emory Valley we turned left and took the gravel forest service roads through the Dave’s Hollow Dispersed Camping area. This turned out to be a great addition to our trip. These roads are frequented by UTVs and their tires had made burms in each of the corners.

Dave's Hollow Bike Trails

This meant that we could rip each little downhill. Also, instead of being in the open field we were on the edge of the field and were still zigging and zagging through the trees.

After a short ride on paved East Fork Road, we turned back onto gravel and continued all the way to Coyote Hollow. This entire route was a fun roller coaster of a ride with small climbs and burned descents. I was on a gravel bike but was really wishing for a mountain bike so I could really rail the burms.

Speeding Bikes in Red Canyon

Now we had a decision to make a left and go to the Thunder Mountain Bike Trail and risk a flat tire with our gravel bikes or turn right and head back to the Red Canyon Trail and rip the descent. We decided to rip Red Canyon Trail and it was awesome. It only took us ten minutes to zoom through the entire canyon.

Red Canyon Trail, Utah's best bike path

Since we had already taken in the scenery on the climb there was nothing stopping us from letting loose on the paved trail. Even after all of the majestic scenery, this was the best part of the ride. There was nothing but grins, laughs, and stories when we returned to the trailhead. What a great ride.

In closing, if you are a cyclist and visiting the Bryce Canyon National Park area, it would be worth it to consider this trail. If you don’t have a bike with you don’t worry, a quick Google search will have you on a rental bike in no time. We actually passed several e-bike rental places in Emory Valley. If you are traveling with others, they could easily drop you off at either end and you would not have to do an out and back.

My favorite bike route in the area is the Duck Creek bike route, located just across the valley from the Thunder Mountain trailhead.

View our route on Garmin Connect at Garmin Connect


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