The Grand Staircase Escalante

The Grand Staircase Escalante trip out of Moab, Utah, where Western Spirit Cycling Adventures is located, is an example of one of their excellent tours.

Western Spirit Cycling Adventures has been in the business of fun vacations for over 25 years, and if you take one of their trips, you will discover why. They offer guided mountain and road cycling trips for all levels – from family trips to technical singletrack – across the western United States. Western Spirit takes care of all the planning, logistics and work, leaving their guests to relax and have fun doing what they like best, ride.

The Grand Staircase Escalante trip out of Moab, Utah, where Western Spirit is located, is an example of one of their excellent tours. Our knowledgeable and enthusiastic guides on this trip, Sean and Katelyn, went above and beyond to be sure all of the guests’ needs were met, and our group had a fantastic time. This introductory mountain bike trip has an added perk of spending the first two nights at the wonderful Boulder Mountain Lodge in Boulder, Utah, with meals at the intimate Hell’s Backbone Grill. The lodge is comfort at its best in a beautiful, peaceful setting, and the restaurant served amazing meals, reflecting their commitment to sustainability, including organic produce from their own farm. After eating here, it could have been a challenge for our guides to prepare delicious meals at camp, but they rose to the occasion. Everything was fantastic and enjoyed by all the following three nights. Dutch oven lasagna is hard to beat, especially when it’s followed by Dutch oven brownies!

The small tour group enjoyed pleasant rides, amazing vistas, and excellent support.

The Grand Staircase is so called for the series of plateaus that descend from Bryce Canyon south toward the Grand Canyon, marked by vertical drops of a number of cliffs named for their colors – it should be called the Grand Stare-case. This area is a geological wonderland, with amazing scenery around every turn. Our trip had some big mileage days, over mostly easy terrain, with a few hikes to access remote areas. Some highlights as we explored the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument and Capitol Reef National Park were the 126-foot Lower Calf Creek Falls, ancient pictographs, a slot canyon, a surprise hail storm on the Burr Trail, the fun Upper Muley Twist Canyon, the beautiful Wolverine Loop Road and Petrified Wood Area, and a full moon for our last night at camp.

BELOW RIGHT Shari’s daughter, Leslee, enjoying red canyons of Utah.

Most of the guests on our trip had been on several previous Western Spirit trips, a testament to a job well done. For anyone wanting to explore new, remote areas, without having to deal with planning and logistics, and meet great new people, Western Spirit is an excellent choice for a cycling tour company. It’s like summer camp with your favorite activities, great food and adult beverages, and no talent show! This was my second trip, and I plan to book another one next year. New this fall is a singletrack, four-day trip out of Phoenix, Arizona – a good choice when it is difficult to be away a full week. Check out this trip and others at westernspirit.com

Photos by Preston McCoy
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