Follow along in this short video as Darren Alff and his friend Bryan go bikepacking in Bears Ears, Utah!
The Bears Ears, in case you don’t know, are a pair of red-rock mesas located in San Juan County in southeastern Utah in the United States.
In recent months, Bears Ears National Monument has been at the center of local and national news because the Trump administration has recently made moves to rescind the Bears Ears area from federal protection.
While many are actively working to save Bears Ears as a national monument, there are many on the other side of this argument (including many of the locals in the nearby town of Blanding) who want Bears Ears to continue operating as it has been for many, many years – as open, state-controlled public land.
I don’t know what the future of Bears Ears will be, but while all this political maneuvering was going down, I wanted to go to this vast desert landscape in southern Utah and experience it for myself. And what better way to do that than with a bikepacking adventure!?!
I recruited my friend (and www.bicycletouringpro.com reader) Bryan to join me on this short cycling holiday in Bears Ears National Monument, so we drove for more than six hours to the city of Blanding and then drove west to the base of the Bears Ears. Once there, we parked our cars, packed up our bicycles and hit the road!
This was a short, two-day, one-night bikepacking tour. The first day we cycled approximately 35 miles up a steep, rocky mountain, only to discover a green forest of trees growing at the top of a high desert mesa.
After cycling through the trees for a couple hours, we eventually made camp in a flat, open area where others had obviously camped in the past – as there was already a fire pit located in the center of this remote campsite.
After pitching our tents, Bryan flagged down a man driving past in a truck and asked if he had some matches or a lighter so we could make a fire. Remarkably, the man did have a lighter and he gave it to us for free! That meant we were able to spend the rest of the evening sitting by the fire and keeping warm.
The following morning we packed up our campsite and cycled back to our cars. Along the way, we discovered an abandoned cave and went inside to explore. Then we mounted our bicycles once again and rode the final few miles back to our waiting vehicles.
We may have only cycled sixty or seventy miles on this particular bikepacking adventure, but I think it goes to show that an epic bicycle touring trip can be had in just a short amount of time. You don’t need to travel for weeks or months on end to have a memorable experience. Sometimes, a short overnight bike tour is all you really need to get away, have fun, and explore the world on two wheels.
Click here to watch the video on YouTube: Bikepacking in Bears Ears, Utah