79-mile round-trip road ride through Indian Creek Recreation Area to Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. The route starts at the Junction of 191 and 211 40 miles south of Moab and ends at Big Spring Canyon Overlook.
Unlike the other road rides mentioned on this site, this one starts 40 miles south of Moab at the junction of 191 and 211. This ride takes it guests up a long straight away through open range ranching to the start of a long downhill punctuated by Newspaper Rock, one of the most elaborate and accessible panels of Petroglyphs from 1500 years to more recent Ute tribes. The route then travels through the world famous Indian Creek Recreation Area, one of the greatest rock climbing areas in the world. The route then enters Canyonlands National Park and the Fiery Red surreal rock formations come into view. Turn around at the Big Spring Canyon Overlook.
What Makes It Great
Starting 40 miles south of Moab, this ride, from the start has a more remote feel than other road rides listed here. The Needles area is less visited than other parts of Canyonlands but there is ranching traffic and climbers flocking to the world famous climbing area Indian Creek that this ride sees in all it’s glory after dropping the long descent that more or less starts at the seemingly endless straight away at the beginning of the ride. At mile 12, take a break at Newspaper Rock, one of the most impressive Petroglyphs panels known with art dating back to Pueloan people who inhabited this area from 100 B.C to 1540 A.D. There are outhouses at this well signed pullout.
From there, spin past Dugout Ranch, one of the first ranches in the Southwest that was purchased in 1995 by the Nature Conservancy to protect it from commercial sale. While protecting biological diversity it is also the home of the Canyonlands Research Center.
The route then passes through Indian Creek Recreation Area, world famous for it’s splitter cracks and solitude in its remote nature. The road enters the park and there is a fee for access. The turn around is the Big Spring Canyon Overlook.
Who is Going to Love It
This is a long ride in a remote area. With… altitude change, this is a serious workout. As it is an out and back it is possible to shorten or make easier. To shorten the ride, drive 12 miles from the Junction of 191 and 211 and park at Newspaper Rock. Or shorten the ride further by parking 19 miles from the Junction at Dugout Ranch.
Plan to bring your own, ample supply of water for this ride. In the summer months, this will be a scorcher. Temperatures and rider fitness should be realistically assessed.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
Drive south from Moab on 191, the main route south, drive 40 miles and take a right across from the Submarine rock formation. Park in the pullouts on the side of the road by the information boards. There is no fee for parking here or at Newspaper Rock or Dugout Ranch. There is a $5 fee for entering the park.