The Maze. The Flint Trail. The Orange Cliffs. The Harvest Scene. The Land of Standing Rocks. You won’t soon forget these iconic place names of Southern Utah’s Canyonlands. A mountain bike is a perfect vehicle for traveling through this remote country. Big descents, big views, room to stretch out your peddling legs and let your mind roam.
The Flint Trail offers the only vehicle access through the Orange Cliffs, and it’s a challenging 4WD route at that. You will be glad you are riding your bike down this break in the cliffs! This was a route used by cattle ranchers to access the country underneath the Orange Cliffs, and was expanded for 4WD vehicle access during the uranium boom of the 1950’s. Such restricted access to the Maze country is one reason it feels as if you are entering another world when you venture out into this vast dry landscape.
That lack of water is another reason The Maze seems other worldly. Animal and vegetative adaptations to aridity are what make desert regions of our country so fascinating. When we come across one of the springs sparsely located in the area, we feel the miracle of water firsthand, as we breath in the moist air, and see plants that grow only in these seep areas. And we can’t discount that for all of its lack of water, water is the most powerful force in shaping the curvaceous canyons that await our explorations.
Above those canyons loom buttes and spires. You’ll have a smile plastered to your face while you ride your bike through the Land of Standing Rocks. Watch the sunrise with the Chocolate Drops in your field of view and a cup of strong camp coffee in your hand. These Organ Rock shale spires were protected from erosion by capstones of White Rim Sandstone, and sport names such as The Wall and Chimney Rock.
You might wonder how it is possible to survive in this land, but humans have done so for thousands of years. Those who have come before us have left behind artifacts and put their mark on this place. When you follow the trail from the Maze Overlook down into The Maze, walk the broad wash upcanyon, come around a bend and see the shamanic images that comprise the Harvest Scene, you are reaching back and connecting with those ancient inhabitants of this canyon country. Take your time to marvel at these haunting and detailed images that are classic examples of what is known as Barrier Canyon Anthropomorphic Style Pictographs. These figures were painted on the rock by people of the Archaic cultures, predecessors to the more well-known Anasazi people, or Ancestral Puebloan people.
Come explore the Maze with Magpie Cycling Adventures, and experience the other worldly magic of this remote, beautiful and ancient land.