Author Topic: UTAH! and CA Sierra Nevada's  (Read 5891 times)

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Offline LaraEbee

UTAH! and CA Sierra Nevada's
« on: November 17, 2008, 07:38:13 pm »
Hello Cycling Friends,

I am currently looking for any information on Cycling Utah. I am interested in hitting up all the National Parks - or anything else wonderful in Utah that people may recommend.
Of course, I am familiar with the AC maps and will look at them more, but I'm not finding the best information online yet. I also prefer first hand experienced advice. Anyway, would love to hear what you have to say.
This also goes for biking in the Sierra Nevadas. I'm interested in finding a route that would go lengthwise down them, allowing me to stop and go climbing in certain areas. Has anyone on this site done this before?

Short lists, mini essays, and blogs/long stories are welcome!


Offline wanderingwheel

UTAH! and CA Sierra Nevada's
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2008, 12:08:00 pm »
Im not sure what information you are looking for regading Utah.  My good friends Brian and Debbie of Planet Ultra put on an organized tour of Utah that sounds to use a route like what you are looking for, and is pretty similar to Adventure Cycling's Utah Cliffs route.  I rode it with them a few years ago, my only organized tour, and it was a spectacular trip.  The scenery is amazing, the people are welcoming and friendly, and the roads are in great condition.  I highly recommend a similar trip to any cyclist.  They now put on an ultra distance race (oof-dah!) over the same route that I keep promising them that I will do, but haven't made it yet.  Here is their web page with some information:

Regarding the Sierras, a route along them will largely folow Highway 395.  There are side roads you can take here and there, but 395 is really the only N-S road in the Sierras.  It is another neautiful ride.  Closer to Tahoe, you will probably follow 89 through Woodfords and Markleville, and over Monitor Pass to 395.  I'm not sure where all the climbing is, but you can certainly head up Tioga pass towards Yosemite.  June Lake Loop is a gorgeous side trip, and then you can head up to Mammoth and Devil's Postpile.  Further south, there's lots of climbing around Bishop, Big Pine, Independence, and Lone Pine.  Hope that gets you started.


Offline LaraEbee

UTAH! and CA Sierra Nevada's
« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2008, 01:57:22 pm »
Thanks Sean, I really appreciate you taking the time to reply to my post.
I'm not absolutely positive as to what I am looking for either, seeing as
you never really know until you're there on your bike. However - in
regards to Utah, I like the AC route, but want to explore the state
more...I'd probably add on a north to south route and then do a National
Parks loop or something.
Anyway, thanks again!


Offline cgarch

UTAH! and CA Sierra Nevada's
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2008, 04:53:21 pm »
In regards to the Sierra, it depends which side you plan to ride. As Sean
noted, 395 runs N-S along the eastern slope. There are plenty of
spectacular spur roads up into the Sierra, but many are quite steep. If
by climbing you mean foot-style climbing, then be sure to check out
Whitney Portal. Monster climb from Lone Pine to approximately 8,000
ft, but from there you can access to the trail Mt. Whitney. Just about
any of the roads that head west from 395 end up at campgrounds with
hiking into the wilderness. 395 also has a fair amount of truck traffic
that you may find unpleasant.

If you're on the western side, then you can probably use SR 49, though
it has many narrow stretches. There are countless side roads that you
could use to get away from 49 but you would really have to map this


Offline MrBent

UTAH! and CA Sierra Nevada's
« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2008, 12:18:21 am »
I can't comment on Utah, but I have hiked, climbed and biked extensively in the Sierras.  In the far north, the only main route is Hwy 89.  This is fantastic in the area south of Tahoe.  North of Tahoe, it gets mighty nasty, and I strongly urge you to avoid it.

Hwy 395 is generally excellent.  My wife and I rode a big section of it from near Ridgecrest all the way to the turnoff for Monitor Pass, which was tough and one of the best roads we've ever done.  Traffic varies.  Note that there are some very nice options to 395 depending on your motivation and interest.  Around Lee Vining/June Lake, you can head out Hwy 120 and Benton Crossing Rd to loop around the Glass Mtns--one of the great rides of the western US! (virtually no water on route, however, so carry lots) On getting up or down at Tom's Place/Sherwin summit, check a map and you'll find the Little Rock Creek Rd. which drops down through Paradise and back roads to Bishop.

Many stretches of 395 have great shoulders but there are sections along the Walker River north of Bridgeport where things get tough.  These are pretty short, however.

If rock climbing is your goal, will you be carrying gear, trying to meet people, or will you be hiking?  I've climbed all over the range for 30 years, so I can give lots of advice.  Doing much on a bike would be tough.  There is some fantastic cragging above Tom's Place and a campground at the base--Gong Show area and others--sport and traditional.  Out some dirt roads east of Mammoth is Clark Canyon with loads of excellent sport climbing and free camping (surface water available--but filter it).  The trick is hauling enough food and having access to water, depending on the climbing area.

As noted, getting up the east side roads to the higher altitude crags would be huge work but possible if you don't mind considerable suffering.

Note that once you get to Bishop, summer temperatures can be pretty high 90 to 100 deg. F.--not my cup of tea.

Note that excellent climbing guides are available, so do your research.

Best of luck!


Offline litespeed

UTAH! and CA Sierra Nevada's
« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2008, 03:27:07 pm »
Bicycle touring the parks in Utah is difficult to do unsupported. There are long stretches of highway between the parks with no facilities at all. The parks are very automobile oriented - no shoulders on the roads, lots of tourists in cars and RV's and long stretches of nothing even within the parks. You will also run into "no water" a lot.

You will need careful planning, plenty of time and be prepared to pack food and plenty of water.

Also, be prepared to lock up your bike and hike a lot. Many of the sights are only reachable by trail.

This is spectacularly beautiful country but on a bicycle you have to earn it.

This message was edited by litespeed on 12-27-08 @ 1:35 PM

Offline Westinghouse

UTAH! and CA Sierra Nevada's
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2008, 07:18:10 am »
I have no cycling experience in that area. These people seem to know what they are talking about.