You love mountain biking, and you love your dog. It only seems natural to combine the two and bring your furry four-legged companion—who I’m certain is a very good boy or girl—along for the ride. Unfortunately, between leash laws, trail use restrictions and the inability of most dogs to utilize the mechanical advantage of a wheel and axle for efficient travel, finding the right rides for you and the pupper isn’t as easy as it sounds. These are a few of our favorite mountain bike rides in Utah to do with your dog.
Off-leash dogs and mountain biking are legal on all the trails described here. When riding with your dog, remember to use a leash in parking lots and at trailheads, and be responsible when it comes to yielding to other trail users, picking up waste and keeping your doggo nearby and under control. Local ordinances about whether voice command and the use of a radio collar are suitable replacements for a physical tether are often vague. If you’re courteous and use good judgement, you can usually get by.
Now get out there and enjoy the ride with your trail dog!
For people who love biking with dogs, Round Valley (located in Park City) is about as good as it gets. The entire trail system is a designated off-leash dog area. The variety of trails meandering through the foothills in Park City at 6,500 feet is incredible with everything from chunky old-school rock gardens on Rambler and Backslide to fast, flowy singletrack on Nowhere Elks to sweeping berms, rollers and jumps on Pulp Friction.
Round Valley’s maze of interconnecting trails is well marked and easy to navigate, meaning you should have little trouble linking together loops of varying lengths and styles to suit you and your dog. There are even some directional, bike-only trails which are a nice treat on busy weekends.
Unlike neighboring Little Cottonwood and Big Cottonwood Canyons, which are part of the watershed, dogs are allowed in Mill Creek Canyon. Mountain bikes are also allowed on trails in the canyon. Seems like a match made in heaven, right? Unfortunately for the mountain biking dog enthusiasts out there, most trails in Mill Creek allow off-leash dogs and mountain bikes on opposing days. Pipeline is the exception.
Bikes are always allowed on Pipeline, and dogs are allowed off leash on odd-numbered days, so be sure to double check your calendar. On the 1st, 3rd, etc., you and your trail dog can enjoy the smooth, fast singletrack, a consistently mild grade and expansive views along the trail. Because of the location and easy access, Pipeline can be quite popular at times. Ride in control and be prepared to stop and yield.
Just north of Salt Lake City in Bountiful is the North Canyon Trail. There isn’t a blanket ordinance for off-leash dogs on “natural surface” trails in Davis County, so as long as your pooch is well behaved, you can likely enjoy a ride together. North Canyon features a stout 3.6-mile climb with nearly 1,600 feet of elevation gain, which makes it a good choice for fit riders and even fitter dogs.
Start by grinding up steady doubletrack before the trail transforms into scenic singletrack. When you reach the top at Ruby Flat, turn around and head back down the way you came. To lengthen the ride and enjoy some flowier, easier singletrack, continue past Ruby Flat to the Mueller Park Trail.
Moab is a world-renowned mountain bike destination, so it’s only right you enjoy some slickrock desert trails with your bike-loving trail dog. Grand County has leash laws for dogs within towns, but there aren’t specific ordinances outlawing off-leash dogs on trails in surrounding land managed by the BLM. Mountain biking in Moab can be challenging with a steep learning curve, and that goes double for dogs. High temperatures and a rough trail surface can make it difficult for dogs to cover distances they’re usually comfortable with, so bring extra water and be conservative with your trail choice to conserve your pup’s paws.
The Navajo Rocks trail system is an excellent choice as numerous short trail loops intersect Highway 313, making it easy to adjust the length of your ride by adding or subtracting additional segments of trail. Trails like Ramblin’ and Rocky Tops feature the slickrock, red desert soil and ledge-filled climbs and descents for which Moab is famous, all in trail-dog sized packages.
Looking for more dog-friendly activities? Check out our list of dog-friendly HIKING trails.
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