Jim's the main cyclist in our family and he found plenty of places to
ride his mountain bike in the Red Canyon-Bryce Canyon area for a month.
In addition to riding with Casey on the Walky-Dog attachment in the
he often drove a couple miles to the nearby trailhead for the nice
paved Red Canyon Bike Path, which courses up through the canyon for five
miles and beyond. Several times he took her for five- to ten-mile
run-rides on the bike path.
One day I took these pictures after letting Jim and Casey out at the
top of Red Canyon so they could ride five miles, mostly downhill and
flat. The second and third photos are at the trailhead at the bottom
end of the path:
Start of the run-ride at the
"top" of the canyon
Above and below: All done.
That was fun!
Casey enjoyed those rides not just because of the exercise, new scents,
and Daddy-time, but also because she'd get to see other
people and dogs on the bike path. She's quite the social butterfly.
Jim also rode with her several times on quiet residential streets in Panguitch. They'd often begin or end a ride with a ball-throwing session
in a grassy area near a horse farm. Casey likes horses, too.
In this entry I'll show more photos where one or both of us rode on
the bike path, which extends to and through part of Bryce Canyon
National Park, plus dirt roads in Red Canyon and on the plateau before Bryce
Canyon and the Thunder Mountain Trail in Red Canyon.
I don't have photos of all the places Jim rode. He seldom took
pictures when he was riding, except a few from high points on the Thunder
RED CANYON BIKE PATH . . . AND BEYOND
Jim rode most of his cycling miles on the nice paved bike path that winds up
and down through Red Canyon. It continues next to Scenic Byway 12 across
the Paunsaugunt Plateau and along the access road
to Bryce Canyon National Park for another twelve miles, plus at least
five more miles inside the park -- a total of 23-24 miles one way.
That was his favorite long ride in this area and it was very
convenient to the campground.
In addition to that, he could
have ridden lots more miles on paved roads inside the national park
but didn't because of traffic.
Part of the bike path (L) on the
plateau between Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon
At the time of this visit the bike path was finished from the
entrance to Red Canyon (i.e., near our campground) for only about 14 miles.
The last 9-10 miles were graded and the dirt was packed sufficiently for
Jim to ride on it when crews weren't working on the unfinished parts
inside and outside the park.
By the time we left, more of the path was paved but the striping and
landscaping weren't done:
Part of the bike path in the park
(right) that was just paved
[When we retuned in May, 2016, the whole
length was paved and nicely landscaped. It's great!]
I've mentioned that I drove up to Bryce Canyon National Park several times a
week to hike. Most of the time Jim went with me and either hiked or took his
bike so he could start riding from the park. He liked riding back out
through the park on
the unfinished bike path and "down" to our campground.
I put quotes around "down" because although it was a net
downhill ride from about 8,200 feet to 6,700
feet, the only real descent was in the last seven miles through Red Canyon
and on Hwy. 12. Going that direction (north, then west) there are some
uphill sections through the park and across the broad plateau before
reaching Red Canyon.
The two photos directly above, and the next two below, are
ones I took along the upper parts of the path when I
was driving. This fall I didn't ride anything on the bike path except the
part through Red Canyon.
Dilapidated buggy and building
[I did ride the whole length of the bike path in May, 2016 and will
show photos of the new parts in the 2016 journal.]
I took the remaining photos in this section on an up-and-back 10-mile
ride I did just through Red Canyon. That day my GPS recorded 6,858 feet
at the lower trailhead and 7,573 feet at the top end of the canyon where
I turned around.
The first photos show the path outbound (east/uphill), beginning near
Some of the bike path through Red Canyon is farther from the busy
highway, so it's quieter. The interesting red-rock scenery helps
distract riders (and hikers) from the traffic where the bike path is
close to the road.
First of two tunnels on Hwy. 12
A bridge crosses the wash and the upper two miles
of trail are farther from the road.
The rest of these photos are coming back down the path from
the top of Red Canyon:
The other tunnel on Hwy. 12
Above and below: Red Canyon
NFS Visitor Center
We often saw other road cyclists and mountain bikes on
this scenic path, as well as people walking. The path goes right by the
Forest Service campground in Red Canyon so it's a good way for people
who are camping to access the visitor center and various trails.
DIRT FOREST SERVICE ROADS
There are a bunch of Dixie National Forest roads in this area
that are great for mountain biking, off-road vehicles, and 4WD vehicles.
The two roads I talk about below are accessible to 2WD vehicles like our
Odyssey minivan, too -- at least when they are relatively dry.
Casto Canyon Road is about a mile from our campground off Hwy.
12. It goes north for several miles and accesses Losee Canyon, Casto Canyon,
and other public and private land. On this trip we went back only three miles
on this road to Losee and Casto Canyons to hike. That part is suitable for
any passenger vehicle, horse trailer, or RV, although it goes through several
washes that might have some water in them:
The road continues farther and branches off several
times but it narrows and becomes more of a 4WD road past Casto Canyon.
[In May, 2016 I rode my bike several miles farther back this road;
photos when I get caught up!]
Another dirt road that cyclists
often use is Coyote Hollow. It's on the plateau near the
"top" of Red Canyon and runs south off Hwy. 12 for a
couple miles to the upper trailhead for the Thunder Mountain Trail.
There are parking areas at Hwy. 12 and at the Thunder Mtn. trailhead.
One day I took this picture of several mountain bikers on Coyote
Many cyclists do either a clockwise (easier) or
counter-clockwise (more difficult) loop that includes the paved bike
path, Coyote Hollow Rd., and the Thunder Mountain Trail. The total
distance is about 15 miles.
Watch out for free-ranging
cows on this road. One day they were right next to the road in one
spot and grazing near the campground host's 5th-wheel in the
equestrian campground halfway back the road:
There are lots more dirt roads north and south of Hwy. 12
between Red Canyon and Bryce Canyon, as well as the lengthy
Fremont ATV trail. Bikes are allowed on all of these roads.
Continued on the next page: scenic photos from the awesome
Thunder Mountain Trail
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil,
Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup
© 2015 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil