Peaks and Plateaus: Bikepacking Utah (Video)
In his latest video, Mick Turnbull takes on our Peaks & Plateaus bikepacking route in Utah, presented with rich cinematography that captures the region’s spectacular beauty. Find the nine-minute video alongside photos and a short trip report from Danielle O’Hara here…
Words by Danielle O’Hara, photos and video by Mick Turnbull
The panoramas, the quiet, and the dry have drawn us to rides in the desert the last couple of years. While Peaks & Plateaus was an ordinary desert bikepacking trip in most ways, it provided a few desert firsts.
The ride delivered the usual logistical shenanigans. We calculated distances between water and organised a 10L water drop with friends who were climbing in the area. We found the balance between staying light and avoiding food panic, and we were oddly excited over microwaved frozen cheese sandwiches at the only food store.
There were big desert skies, curious creatures, and plenty of desert dust. A multi-sensory gift, the dust left stains on our gear, added crunch to our food, and lingered in our eyes and up our noses. There were hours of sailing down nicely graded gravel roads and hours hiking/carrying our bikes up steep rocky ledges and loose technical pinches. The Steelbender jeep track took hike-a-bike to the extreme, small scrambles with loaded steel bikes requiring more arm-power than leg-power.
The bikes did what they were meant to and got us places. We had the occasional mechanical, including a torn sidewall and our most random bike glitch to date, a snapped brake lever. Mick took MacGyver-style satisfaction in a temporary fix of a tent peg stuck on with gaffer tape. As the last loop of our month-long trip, Peaks & Plateaus, provided the ideal final chapter, a summary of time well spent on Utah’s limitless trails and backroads.
About the Route
Peaks and Plateaus is a diverse 3-4 day bikepacking loop in Utah that follows a scenic mix of dirt roads and tracks. It meanders between mesa tops, through valley bottoms, along sandstone canyons, and past snow-capped ranges that leave riders in awe of the regional geography. Find the full route guide here.
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