Trail of the Ancients 5-day Tour

Bears Ears, Utah

This is an overland journey by bike and foot that explores the remote forests & canyons of The Bears Ears, Elk Ridge, and the Canyoncountry through a region rich in Cultural History.  We’ll visit sites with remnants of multiple cultures that lived off the land in this fantastically scenic and wickedly rugged area.

Ranchers & the Ancient Puebloans (aka “Anasazi”) lived in these canyons, and built structures out of stone, wood, and mud before vanishing up to seven centuries ago.  Spanish explorers were the first Anglos to see this amazing country in the 1700’s.  And since then, numerous cowhands and miners have worked the land, barely eking out a living.  They all left something in their passing that contributes to the cultural richness that is found in this extraordinary region.

Tour Overview:

The MTB will be your access tool as you travel between camps and hiking trailheads on dirt roads with some rugged sections, demanding climbs, steep descents, sand, and miles of fantastically scenic cruising.  The hikes are all-day adventures that will give you an intimate appreciation for the tenacity and fortitude of those who chose to live off the lands in this area.  You’ll be entering a uniquely secluded and difficult to access region in the country – a wild land of thick forests, expansive mesas, sandstone canyons, and monolithic spires.

Book This Trip

Price: $1,340/person


  • healthy & hearty delicious meals
  • shuttle rides

Pre-Trip Orientation

We meet the group for a pre-trip orientation at 5pm in Moab on the evening before the tour and it typically lasts an hour.  Introductions, trip details, rental equipment, questions and last minute trip purchases can all be taken care of at this time. You will also be provided with 2 Dry Bags for packing your personal equipment for the trip.


You must bring your mountain bike to the Pre-Trip Meeting for inspection by your Guides.  If you will be a late arrival, or unable to attend the pre-trip meeting, or need help picking up your rental mountain bike from a local bike shop, then please let us know as soon as possible!

DAY 1: Breakfast on your own.  We’ll meet at 8am at the MAGPIE Headquarters in Moab to load all personal gear on the Gear Vehicle before we depart by van for Bears Ears Pass (3+ hours).  After the first hour and 20 minutes, we’ll stop at the Edge of the Cedars State Park for an in-depth introduction to the Ancestral Puebloan cultures that occupied the region hundreds of years ago.  Our next stop in route is the Butler Wash Ruin site – there we’ll eat lunch, check out the ruins, and then proceed in the van to Bears Ears Pass.  We’ll give a safety orientation at 8,500′ above sea level before we begin cycling to our scenic camp for the night overlooking Hammond Canyon at 8,200′.  (2 miles Hike, 10 miles MTB)

DAY 2: After a delicious hearty breakfast, we’ll pack up camp and ride through beautiful sub-alpine forests past South Elk Ridge, and onward to our next campsite near Duck Lake 8,650′ (frequently a dry lake in drought years) where wildlife sightings are more frequent, especially during the crepuscular hours.  (14 miles MTB)

DAY 3: Today’s ride will take us past North Elk Ridge, Round Mountain, the Seven Sister Buttes, and all the way to our last camp, a layover camp on Cathedral Point at 7,100′ overlooking the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.  Choose your tent site carefully – you’ll sleep here for two nights!  (19 miles MTB)

DAY 4: After another hearty breakfast, we’ll pack lunches and hike into Salt Creek for an out-and-back exploration of Ancestral Puebloan terrain, and possibly find a dramatic natural arch along the way!  Of course, if you’d rather, you can elect to chill-out at camp and rest your legs.  (0-9 miles Hike)

DAY 5: We’ll wake to a spectacular sunrise, eat breakfast, and pack up camp before we ride a descending route into the Indian Creek Unit of the Bears Ears.  We’ll enjoy one more lunch together and meet our van for the trip back to Moab.  We typically return to Moab by 5pm.  (16 miles MTB)


WHERE DO WE MEET? We meet the group for a pre-trip orientation at 5pm in Moab on the evening BEFORE the tour. Introductions, trip details, rental equipment, questions and last minute trip purchases can all be taken care of at this time. You’ll receive 2 Dry Bags, water & dust proof bags for packing your personal equipment for the trip.

PRE-TRIP MEETINGS are held at our MAGPIE CYCLING Headquarters = 711 N. 500 West, Moab, UT. They start at 5pm and typically last an hour. You must bring your MTB to the Pre-Trip Meeting for inspection by your Guides. If you will be a late arrival, or unable to attend the Pre-Trip Meeting, or need help picking up your Rental MTB from a local bike shop, then please let us know as soon as possible!!! Thanks

Is This Trip For You?

DO I NEED PREVIOUS MOUNTAIN BIKE EXPERIENCE? Not necessarily – the terrain on this trip evolves sequentially over the course on day 1 to the late morning on day 2 from cruising on a maintained dirt road to safely negotiating a steep & rough jeep road that leads to the trailhead of your first hike. This trip is suitable for fit Experienced Beginners to Advanced riders. All of our Guides are certified MTB Instructors by the BICP – they have the knowledge, and expertise to teach you how to safely manage your machine and demonstrate correct cycling skills, and techniques to help improve your ability, and confidence on the mountain bike.

HOW MANY MILES PER DAY? Our Trail of the Ancients 5-day Tour features 12-28 miles of riding per day, plus out-n-back hikes 1-9 miles of overland travel by foot and 1,500′ of elevation loss/gain. Extra riding and hiking is available from camp for those who wish to extend their day.

WHAT KIND OF SHAPE DO I NEED TO BE IN? The more fit you are the more fun you’ll have! It all comes down to being in good general health, being accustomed to regular exercise outdoors, controlling your pace, and nurturing your self-preservation instincts. If you ride at a comfortable pace for 2-5 hours per ride you will do fine on the trip. Remember, it is possible to ride a mountain bike for fun – it doesn’t have to be a race. Everyone rides at their own pace so there is plenty of time for photos and relaxing.

WILL I NOTICE THE ALTITUDE? Moab lies 4,000 feet above sea level; most of our tour is between 8800’-4400’. If you live near sea level you may feel a slight difference; everyone adjusts at different rates. The quickest way to adapt to the altitude and dry air is to make an extra effort to drink plenty of water and eat salty foods when you arrive and throughout the day during your trip. It is dry here, so plan to drink lots of water, salt your food and snack frequently.


HOW IS THE FOOD? We prepare healthy & hearty delicious meals! Our outstanding menu reflects the nutritional needs that mountain biking and outdoor living requires. Our meals are prepared using Local Organic Ingredients; lean meats, fresh fruits & veggies, and whole grains as well as enough sweet treats to satisfy! We also bring snack bars, and electrolyte replacement mix.

Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Vegetarian or other dietary requirements & requests can be accommodated with advance notice. Celiac Friendly.

WHAT ABOUT BEVERAGES? We provide Orange Juice, Fresh Moab Coffee, Black & Herbal Teas, Vitalyte (an electrolyte replacement mix) and plenty of yummy water. If you want to bring beer, soft drinks or extra juice, we request you bring aluminum cans or plastic containers only! We typically have room for four beverages per person, per day, in our cooler. Please transfer wines & spirits from glass bottles to a plastic or metal bottle with a tight fitting screw cap lid.


WHAT ABOUT TIPPING? While not expected, it’s certainly appreciated for a job well done. 20% is customary in the service industry.


WHO ARE THE GUIDES? All trips are lead by our Professional MTB Guide/Instructor Staff; Mike Adler, Rundle Mike, Eric Boxrud, Sasha Pasler, Anne Saint Clair, and of course, the owners, Mike Holme & Maggie Wilson. Our Staff have a wealth of knowledge about the local area and a comfortable style bringing people together like a group of friends having fun on an amazing adventure vacation.


CAN I BRING MY OWN BIKE AND HOW DO I SHIP IT? Yes, you must make sure your bike is in good repair and has been recently serviced by a qualified bike shop. It’s vital to check all systems; brakes, shifters, drive train, cables, tires and wheels. Ship your bike to Poison Spider Bicycles, 497 N. Main St, Moab UT 84532, via FedEx. It’ll be ready when you arrive (or assemble yourself… see the Equipment List for details).

WHERE DO WE LEAVE OUR CAR? This detail will be reviewed at the Pre-Trip Meeting – parking at MAGPIE CYCLING Headquarters is limited. Carpooling is encouraged.

HOW LONG ARE THE VAN SHUTTLE RIDES? To access Bear’s Ears Pass there is a very scenic 3 hour van shuttle ride with a couple of quick stops along the way at Archaeological Points of Interest and a Fueling Station. We’ll depart Moab early in the morning and stop at least twice in route. The return van shuttle ride at the end of the trip will take another 3 hours (including stops).


WHAT ARE THE ACCOMMODATIONS LIKE? This is a camping trip! The campsites are primitive, at large, and non-designated by the National Forest Service. We will bring our own portable toilet and pack out all of our garbage & recycling.

WHAT CAMPING GEAR IS AVAILABLE FOR RENT? We offer rental tents, sleeping bags, and sleeping pads – advanced reservations are recommended. Your comfort is essential!

WHERE DO WE STAY BEFORE AND AFTER THE TRIP? For your convenience and safety, we recommend that you stay in or near Moab before and after your trip. Visit for a complete listing of accommodations in Moab.