Utah launches new huts along a 305km bike trail

A series of huts has opened on the Aquarius Trail in the south of Utah in the USA

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Five new huts have been strategically spaced 50 to 65km apart along Utah’s Aquarius Trail, allowing mountain bikers and e-bike cyclists to discover more of it.

The repurposed shipping containers fit up to 14 people and come with bicycle repair tools and stands. Each are fitted with bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens and lighting, as well as spacious decks, hammocks and firepits. Electronic devices can be charged with solar power.

One of the new huts (2021 Sublime Public Relations)

One of the new huts (2021 Sublime Public Relations)

The route is made up of jeep tracks, dirt roads and narrow tracks spanning from Brian Head peak to the town of Escalante, passing through Bryce Canyon National Park and Red Canyon and along Aquarius Plateau to Dixie National Forest and Escalante National Monument.

The first day’s ride begins at Brian Head Peak and descends the Bunker Creek singletrack – voted by Mountain Bike Action magazine as one of the USA’s top 10 best trails – before passing by Panguitch Lake and through ponderosa and juniper forests and bedding down in Hatch.

Day two starts with a climb through Proctor Canyon to the top of Sunset Cliffs, which border the Bryce Canyon Valley. After a pitstop in Tropic Reservoir, cyclists can continue along the Great Western Trail to Red Canyon, where you can hike to Cassidy Loop in time for the sunset.

Mid-way through the route starts with a ride down Thunder Mountain and up to the Casto Canyon trailhead, which has views of Slate Mountain and Powell Point. After crossing creeks cyclists join jeep roads over the high planes of Bryce Canyon to Pine Lake Hut, where you can fish or swim.

Views from the Aquarius trail in Utah (2021 Sublime Public Relations)

Views from the Aquarius trail in Utah (2021 Sublime Public Relations)

Day four begins with a challenging climb to the top of the trail’s namesake – the Aquarius Plateau – with an optional additional ride to Powell Point for views across the south of the state. Back on the route, continue on to Barney Top and across meadows to the hut at Clayton Springs. If you still have energy you can also explore Barker Reservoir.

Cyclists have two options on day five, both of which leave the Aquarius Hut and end up at the midpoint of Posey Lake, around which you can hike. Opt for a non-technical ride on Hell’s Backbone Road or a country track on the Great Western Trail, from which you may spot antelope roaming freely.

The last day is a ride along Hell’s Backbone Road to Highway 12. Cool off in Calf Creek or hike 5km to the 39m high Calf Creek Falls before the route ends in Escalante.

Five-night self-guided tours are available from July to October with Escape Adventures. Shorter trips are also available.

For more information, visit aquariustrail.com

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