Easy Riding: Southern Wasatch to Monument Valley
Talking about freedom and living it are two different things. Utah’s iconic American West offers both the picture-perfect backdrops to freedom and the roads for living it. This six-day itinerary follows the open-road inspiration of “Easy Rider."
Start: Lehi to the Alpine Loop S.R. 92
Finish: Southern Utah
Hours of riding: 12 to 16+
Route: The high-elevation loops on this itinerary may not show up on all Maps, and all three close in winter. See days below for maps in closer detail.
Talking about freedom and living it are two different things. Utah’s iconic American West offers both the picture-perfect backdrops to freedom and the roads for living it. Scenic byways connect the parks and monuments along climbs into high-alpine mountains and descents into red rock country. This six-day itinerary launches with a history lesson in Harley-Davidson and two scenic loops excellent for motorcycle touring before making its way south, where it’s a long way from the city and exactly where you’ll want to be. This is “Easy Rider” territory. You won’t need a watch. Just a good sense of direction and a thirst for the freedom of the open road.
The Alpine Loop and Mount Nebo National Scenic Byway are the scenic highlights of the first two days. Both roads close in the winter, so check ahead for conditions. There are additional spurs in Northern Utah or head southeast. By the end of Day 2 you might be set up on the patio of Red Cliffs listening to the gentle lapping of the Colorado River.
This itinerary opts for the winding La Sal Loop for high-elevation views over “Westworld’s” Castle Valley before heading south toward Bears Ears National Monument. There are options to catch a view of the Needles district of Canyonlands or to set up camp for the night in or near the national park.
While there are many places to stop and take it all in, a focal point of this tour is Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park. Stop for the long, sweeping, panoramic views. Listen as the wind blows. Linger late. It is sunset. You are a silhouette against the horizon. Sound familiar? “Easy Rider” captures the moment, but it’s just one of dozens of films shot on location in Monument Valley. Director John Ford made it famous, specifically in "Stagecoach" and "The Searchers."
The trip then turns back north with options to tour the scenic drive around National Bridges National Monument and to take the spur into the North Lake Powell region. Spend a day or two with guides to get off the bikes and onto OHVs or paddleboards. From there, it depends on your schedule and direction. If freedom calls, some of Utah’s best drives and parks are still ahead.
Blazing Sandals in North Lake Powell
It’s not unreasonable or out of the ordinary to go UTVing, paddleboarding and canyoneering all in the same day (or weekend) at Lake Powell.
Finding Solitude on the Provo River
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Goosenecks State Park
Located north of Mexican Hat, Goosenecks State Park is an easy-to-get-to area with a million-dollar view. The San Juan River begins in the mountains of Colorado and travels to its junction with the Colorado River at Lake Powell.
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San Rafael Swell
San Rafael hikes and bike rides offer unique terrain and jaw-dropping scenery. Learn about the area’s trails and start planning your trip!
Visitors looking to get away from crowded national parks to enjoy the beauty of Southern Utah will find an escape in Ticaboo. Boating, fishing, biking, canyoneering, and off-road riding are all popular.