Pedal, Paddle, Pedal (Mountain Biking & Packrafting Combo)from
Visit a remote section of the Green River on this spectacular self-supported, multi-sport adventure!
This amazing journey into the Green River wilderness combines mountain bikes and packrafts to travel through terrain that otherwise requires multiple days to access. This unique adventure is an excellent way to spend a long, full day in a remote area that not many people get to explore!
Reviews 2 Reviews5/5
Vacation Style Holiday Type
Activity Level Moderate/Difficult
- Duration: 10 – 12 hours
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Season: Year Round, best in Spring & Summer
- Rapids: None; A very scenic float through an amazing wilderness canyon
- Total Distance: 12mi/19km biking and 9mi/14km of packrafting
- All tours are private
- 2-3 people – $294/person
- 4+ people – $271/person
The “Pedal, Paddle, Pedal” is destined to become one of the most classic mountain biking and packrafting trips in the West. The legendary Green River and its beautiful side canyons provide both a peaceful and exciting venue for this unforgettable day of exploring some very remote backcountry.
Our day starts bright and early with a very enjoyable downhill mountain bike ride along the mesa top high above the Green River gorge. Easy, carefree pedaling soon leads to the rim of Spring Canyon, a very deep and rugged tributary of the Green. A spectacular dirt road carved into the sheer walls of Spring Canyon switchback down, down, down into the depths of one of the prettiest canyons around Moab.
This old road was blasted out over 50 years ago to access the rich deposits of uranium located in the lower end of the canyon. The mine sites have long since been abandoned and the dead-end road largely forgotten. Solitude, peace and quiet reign down here. The road rolls and weaves gently along the canyon floor amidst tall stands of cottonwood trees and sheer 500 foot high sandstone walls.
The awe-inspiring scenery often steals our attention away from the task of watching the road ahead!
The exhilarating downhill ride quickly brings us to the lonely junction of Spring Canyon and the Green River. It’s here where we enter the magnificent Labyrinth Canyon carved by the Green River. The road veers to follow along the river’s edge downstream for another couple of miles.
Lush (by desert standards!), pastoral expanses of sagebrush meadows along the river provide scentful, bucolic riding. In many ways the ride down Spring Canyon and along the river is reminiscent of sections of the nearby – and more famous – White Rim Trail in Canyonlands National Park. Soon we reach the road’s terminus and prepare for the next chapter of our journey.
At road’s end we’ll get off the bikes and relax a bit in this calm canyon setting. Taking the rolled up packrafts and disassembled paddles out of our backpacks seems an unlikely step here. While most folks are familiar with mountain biking, not many are familiar with packrafting. After all, who mountain bikes with rafts in their packs!?
The unique brilliance of this trip really begins to take shape here as we inflate our rafts on a sandy bench by the river. We’ll spend some time here discussing the fine art of mountain bike packrafting; how the boats inflate, how to lash the bikes to the raft and how to get in, get out and get on with our river journey.
It’s such a simple and beautiful thing, so much so you’ll probably want to order up one of these boats as soon as you get home!
Floating peacefully down the Green River now, we’ll look an odd sight. With bike frames, stacked wheels and backpacks strapped high on the front of our rafts you may wonder how this awkward combo can be stable on the water. The wonderful thing about your raft’s unlikely cargo is that it actually helps to balance the packraft.
These boats are so light that the bike’s weight on the bow nicely offsets your body’s weight, which is predominantly situated at the stern. These boats actually perform better when burdened with your bike! Several lazy river miles lay between us and the nearest road downriver – nine to be exact.
Within those miles is some of the most incredible, true wilderness scenery Labyrinth Canyon has to offer. There are no roads to be found, no noisy vehicles or crowds. Just quiet wilderness. Several beautiful side canyons flow into the Green, including Two Mile and Horseshoe. Precarious towers of sandstone soar high above us on either side.
I’m gonna stop describing things here, because – simply put – it’s next to impossible to find the words to describe the surrounding beauty.
As the day progresses, the changing shadows on the canyon walls become our timepiece. Without a care, we’ll eventually find ourselves rounding the bend with the gaping mouth of Hellroaring Canyon coming into view. Two massive isolated towers of sandstone stand guard at its entrance.
A faint jeep road along the river’s edge is barely discernible here. We’ll ferry over to solid ground and pull our boats up the sandy riverbank. In no time we’ll have our wheels back on the bikes, rafts rolled and stowed and on our merry mountain biking way on our last leg of the journey. But not without a stop at one of the more interesting historic inscriptions found on any of the miles of sandstone cliffs in southern Utah. Denis Julian, a French fur trapper, etched his name along with a curious image of a sailboat near the mouth of Hellroaring Canyon.
Of course, there are many such etchings found in the southwest. The mysterious, ubiquitous images of the Anasazi culture, over a thousand years old, are found all over the area. And evidence of the early pioneers who scratched a living, and their names, along these canyon walls are sprinkled here and there.
But Denis Julian was special. His inscription is dated 1836, long after the Anasazi abandoned the area and long before the Mormon pioneers arrival. Who was this man? Many think that he was the first white man to visit this area.
Perhaps the distinction is important to only a handful of regional historians, but it’s just one more fascinating mystery still unsolved in the history of exploration of the American West.
A few fun miles of riding down this trail soon leads to our journey’s end at Mineral Bottom. Still within the massive depths of Labyrinth Canyon, this is where we meet our shuttle vehicle and enjoy, in the comfort of our van, a truly spectacular ascent of the Mineral switchbacks.
Yet another product of the uranium mining boom days of the 1940’s, these switchbacks lead us out of the confines of Labyrinth Canyon and back to a well-deserved shower and beverages in Moab.
In retrospect you’ll find it very difficult to define which segment of the day was the highlight. Each segment of this amazing journey – the descent down Spring Canyon, the riverside riding, the Green River float, the Hell-roaring Canyon trail – would be an incredible day on its own.
Put together, however – and astonishingly all in a day’s time – these segments collectively make up one of the finest adventures you’ll experience…
- All biking gear, boating gear and safety equipment
- Instruction from experienced and fun guides
- Transportation to and from the canyon and river
- Splash gear and wetsuits (weather depending)
- Drybags to keep phones, cameras, etc dry
- Private tour – just your group plus your guide(s)!
- Lunch and snacks – please bring enough food to be out and active for 10-12 hours
- Water – we recommend between 2 and 3 liters of water per person
- You’re welcome to leave snacks and water in the vehicle for the ride back to Moab.
My son-in-law did this trip with Herb last summer. The trip started with an early morning ride through the desert and down into a steep canyon to the river. We broke down our bikes and inflated our packrafts - attached the bikes and floated for 6 hours through beautiful canyons. After our float, we reassembled our bikes and rode to the van. We both loved it. Great scenery, ride and float - we never saw another person all day. Herb is a great guide, very knowledgeable and made our adventure memorable.
This was the coolest thing we did in Moab! Our group of 4 wanted to do something a little different. We are SO glad we did! Unique trip, awesome and knowledgeable guides. The scenery was spectacular. This trip is so cool!