A rugged mixed-surface loop into the backside of Arches National Park.


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Willow Springs Road provides a dirty way to get up into the backside of Arches National Park, making for a stellar mixed-surface drop-bar ride! The route shown here is an even rowdier version than the typical route, utilizing the Zephyr trail. The ride as mapped begins at the Lions Park trailhead, but if you so choose you can easily pedal to Lions Park from downtown Moab via the bike path.

From Lions Park, the ride begins climbing via the Moab Canyon Pathway, passing the main entrance to Arches and heading uphill through beautiful rock formations. Before the highway underpass, continue straight along the dirt roads to pick up a little-used doubletrack winding through the desert to the northeast.

This doubletrack eventually connects to the Zephyr mountain bike route, which is well-signed and easy to follow once you reach it.

While Zephyr is easy to follow, it can be a challenge on a drop-bar bike.

You'll have to negotiate slabs of slickrock, rough downhills, and soft sand.

While the riding is tough on a gravel bike, the incredible isolation and gorgeous views are so worth it! Be sure to stop at the edge of the canyon that you'll ride past and marvel at the verdant greenery in the canyon bottom.

Along Zephyr, you'll both cross into and leave Arches—be sure to close the gates both ways. After crossing Courthouse Wash, the trail turns from doubletrack to singletrack for a ways, but thankfully it's pretty easy pedaling on smooth, flowy trail.

But you'll soon rejoin a doubletrack that bisects the Klonzo trail system. After pedaling through the Klonzo Trail System, you'll see a sign noting the entrance to Arches National Park—you've officially made it! From here on out, the road is narrow and sandy, but largely free of traffic.

Be sure to savor this beautiful stretch of pedaling along a wide-open mesa, with views of Arches improving as you draw ever closer. Soon, you'll reach a right turn onto the paved road, which leads through the southwestern region of Arches, providing spectacular views of stunning rock formations the entire way! Pedaling through national parks is always a surreal experience.

As you see people drive by in their climate-controlled vehicles, not even bothering to step out and take in the view, you may realize that by immersing yourself in the warmth of the sun and the cool of the breeze, you are experiencing the park in a much more intimate way than millions of typical tourists. The ride finishes with a fast, twisty downhill to the entrance station, where you'll pick up the bike path to return to Lions Park or downtown Moab.