When traveling, finding activities that fulfill my needs and also cater to my kiddo’s abilities and mood of the day can be a challenge. After a failed attempt and a few shed tears when we threw the towel in on riding Slick Rock, we re-calibrated and found something a little more fitting for our pace and energy level that day. If you plan to visit the Moab, Utah area, I cannot recommend the paved bike path along UT-128 more. It’s roughly 2 miles south of the Arches National Park entrance and is super easy to access with the trail head being right off of a major intersection from the main highway into town. It has all the wow of a desert canyon ride with the ease required for those needing a low intensity trip.
The path starts at Lions Park, just north of downtown Moab at the intersection of highway 191 and UT-128. When my family and I find ourselves camping in the Moab area, this park becomes a daily stop for us. With bathrooms that stay open late, filter water bottle filing stations, shaded picnic tables, parking lot lights at night and a nice open greenspace to play, this is the perfect spot to stop to make breakfast or lunch after a morning of hiking, with space for my little one to run and climb while I cook. It also has plenty of car parking and bike path trial heads.
This specific ride takes the path that heads east from the parking lot. The trail is relatively flat, with a mild climb here and there so even if you are carrying kiddos on your Leap or EdgeRunner it will be a leisurely venture. The entire ride follows the Colorado River rushing with the same water that carved the Navajo Sandstone of the desert varnished canyon walls rising on both sides. If riding in the spring, summer or fall, keep a track of the shade from the canyon walls. We rode this trail in September and purposefully waited until late afternoon, when we knew the trail would be completely shaded by the canyon walls. If riding in winter, do the opposite – try to ride when the canyon is being warmed by the afternoon sun.
One thing I love about this short paved trail is there is no shortage of things to do and see. When the trail dipped down from the highway above, there were plenty of fun little places to stop and get off our bikes to explore. At Lions Park, there are bouldering rocks and a striking metal bridge that crosses the river. There was no safe river access while on this ride but if you keep riding past the trail’s end or you hop in your car, you can head further east on UT-128 to find swim spots in the warmer seasons.
The path merges into traffic at about 1.75 miles east. At this point, my kiddo and I turned around since we weren’t really up for a more intense “Take the Lane” ride but for those willing and able, you could then merge into traffic and continue on.
When you get back to the trail head and want a little more than your 3.5 mile ride, you can keep pedaling. If you cross the steal bridge and head north, you’ll ride along the Moab Canyon Paved Path that will take you to the Arches National Park entrance at 2.2 miles. If you ride 5 miles from Lions Park, you’ll reach Moab Brands mountain bike trails trail head. If you head south of Lions Park on the paved trail, you can get to downtown Moab but just take note that the paved path ends at 1.4 miles, there’s a bike lane for another .4 miles. Once the bike lane ends right at the edge of town, you’ll need to ride in the road and take the lane on Main St.
If you are in town and need tubes, a replacement water bottle, or to have those brakes looked at, I’d highly recommend Poison Spider Cycles. They also have super handy print maps of local MTB trails available for a few bucks.
If you have a spare few hours and want to enjoy a leisurely ride through a meandering desert canyon, be sure to add this one to your trip itinerary!