Get your bike tuned up ASAP.
Posted by Travel+Leisure written by Stacy Leasca
The route, which opened to the public in mid-2021, offers outdoor enthusiasts the chance to see more of Utah’s backcountry than ever before and allows every guest to sleep in style thanks to its system of five glamping huts dotting the route.
According to the Aquarius Trail website, the huts provide travelers with “a luxury bikepacking experience,” and come complete with all the amenities travelers might need, including showers, solar power for charging electronic devices, fully stocked kitchens, lighting, hammocks, and even a full kit of bicycle repair tools, playing cards, and a fire pit to ensure the fun lasts long into the night.
Each hut was crafted out of repurposed shipping containers, which were once used to transport goods across the Pacific Ocean. The shipping-container accommodations each come with a kitchen, shower, and enough bedrooms to sleep up to 14 people at each site.
Located in Utah’s “Color Country,” the huts line the trail between the peak of Brian Head at 11,307 feet all the way to the town of Escalante at 5,820 feet. The trail passes through popular destinations like Powell Point, Bryce Canyon National Park, Brian Head Ski Resort, Red Canyon, Aquarius Plateau, Dixie National Forest, the Hogback scenic highway, Escalante National Monument, and much more.
Bikers can head out on self-guided trips between July and October — and group rates (to stay in the glamping accommodations along the trail) start at $929 per person for six days and five nights. Escape Adventures also offers guided expeditions for those who don’t want to go it alone, which start at $1,899 per person. (Shorter trips are also available.)
The Escape Adventures’ trips begins at Brian Head Peak with a ride down the Bunker Creek Singletrack. It’s a quick 2,885-foot descent over 12 miles straight to Panguitch Lake. From there, riders take a 15-mile ride through rolling meadows to the Hatch Hut in Hatch, Utah.
Day two takes guests on an eight-mile, 2,500-foot climb through Proctor Canyon to the top of the Sunset Cliffs, before an eight-mile drop to Tropic Reservoir, followed by a 19-mile section of the Great Western Trail to Red Canyon.
On day three, riders head out for a singletrack section down Thunder Mountain Trail, before riding up to the Casto Canyon trailhead and eventually meeting up with roads that cross the high plains of Bryce Canyon to Pine Lake Hut.
On day four, bikers climb to the very top of the Aquarius Plateau. It’s a lot of work to climb the 2,200 feet over 10 miles to the top, but the views are well worth it.
Day five includes a ride from the Aquarius Hut to Posey Lake. And finally, the trip ends with a climb along the border of the Box Death Hollow Wilderness, with a stop at Calf Creek, before a gradual descent to Escalante, where the journey concludes.
Ready to ride? Find more information about the self-guided and guided excursions here.