Special Limited Time Offer – Join Today and Receive our RV Foundations Course FREE for One-Year! Valued at $127. 

How Our Family Fell in Love with Mountain Biking on the Road

Kids and bicycles are as quintessential to the camping scene as roasted marshmallows and chocolate on graham crackers. But when those kids and their bicycles are taken off of the campground to explore the vast, seemingly limitless system of mountain biking trails that surround everywhere your RV travels may take you, something truly magical can happen.

Teaching our sons to ride bikes when they were young was important to my husband and me.  We were both cyclists, enjoy the sport, and wanted to share the joy of bicycling with them.  We are both also avid runners, and during the many hours we spent pushing a jogging stroller in our earliest parenting years, we looked forward to the day when our children could ride along next to us during our runs.

Throughout our RV travels, bikes have served our family well, providing our boys with a little bit of autonomy and independent transportation to the playground, and allowing our family to stay active together whether through leisurely rides or kids accompanying mom and dad on a run.

But it was a stay in Moab, Utah, during an extended RV trip to explore the Beehive State’s 5 National Parks that brought us to our first official mountain biking experience.  Our time spent as a family on those red dirt and slick rock trails made an imprint on our hearts and left us looking for new trails to explore everywhere we go.

Discovering Mountain Biking in Moab, Utah

Our primary goal for our two-week RV tour of Utah in the summer of 2021 was to explore the five National Parks the state boasts. A breathtaking sunset hike through Kodachrome Basin State Park near Bryce Canyon left us interested in exploring Utah’s State Parks as well.

While staying in Moab, Utah, we decided we would stop at Dead Horse Point State Park on the way back to our campground after a morning hiking the Grand View Point and Mesa Arch trails at Canyonlands National Park.  With two separate hikes already under our belts that morning – after two weeks of hiking the trails of seven National Parks through Arizona and Utah – our boys were less than thrilled to be embarking on yet another trail. At 4 and 7 years old, their little legs were tired, and a loop just shy of five miles – even if it did promise stunning overlooks – was out of the question. But with the bikes packed in the truck and knowing that Dead Horse Point State Park has a significant mountain biking trail system, we decided to change things up and make our adventure a parents-run, kids-bike event.

How Our Family Fell in Love with Mountain Biking on the Road 1

We pulled into the visitor’s center parking area of Dead Horse Point State Park and used the trail map to plan our route.  We would ride a combination of three tails to make a loop, keeping us on beginner terrain the entire ride, and offering us two scenic overlooks along the way.

While our boys had encountered roots and rocks on many of our previous biking adventures, this was our first true mountain bike trail experience.  The boys seemed a bit unsure and voiced their concerns over the first few minutes of their ride.  “Why are there so many rocks?!” Why is it so bumpy?!” I didn’t feel overly confident that we would make it very far.

Just as all hope seemed lost in navigating mountain bike terrain with young kids, a crew of roughly a dozen high school-aged cyclists came riding by us, politely hollering warnings that they would be passing us on the left. The crew greeted our boys with high praise, along the lines of “look at you little guys crushing it out here!”  Compliments from these “big kids” were all our boys needed to realize that what they were doing was pretty awesome, and a light switch flipped in both of them. 

How Our Family Fell in Love with Mountain Biking on the Road 2

Just over an hour later, having ridden the Intrepid to Great Pyramid to Raven Roll trails for a total of 4.68 miles of rugged mountain bike terrain covered, we rolled and jogged back into the parking area with two young cyclists begging for their next trail ride.

With a couple of days left to explore Moab, we took our next family trail run and mountain bike ride to the Bar M trails. Once again the boys rode while mom and dad ran, covering roughly half of the 8 miles of trail the Bar M loop offers.

Limitless Opportunities

Realizing that our boys could handle, and genuinely enjoy, the more rugged terrain and longer trails than we had typically ridden, we began to seek out mountain biking trails on all of our RV adventures. On our travels since, we’ve explored mountain biking trails that have brought us deep into the forest, and summits and peaks with breathtaking views – all places we likely wouldn’t have been able to find or access with young kids in tow without bicycles.

Everywhere we go, I’m in awe of the miles upon miles of mountain biking trail options available.  Our family relies on three main sources for finding mountain biking trails during our RV travels.


Offering a website and a free mobile app, my husband and I have used Strava for years to record our runs, bike rides, and hikes.  Using the “Maps” tab while allowing Strava to use your location, users can search for popular running, biking, and hiking routes and segments nearby. 

MTB Project

The MTB Project website and free mobile app allow riders to search for mountain bike trails by location.  Each trail profile includes an elevation map, a detailed description of the ride, and personalized comments about the trail from other riders.

National Park Service

The National Park Service website offers a complete list of biking opportunities within each National Park.  The site lists all U.S. National Parks in alphabetical order, and details which roads and trails within each National Park are accessible by bicycle.  Bicycles are not always permitted on the hiking trails within National Parks, but the NPS website often offers suggestions for mountain biking trails near, but not within, the National Park as well.

A Supportive Community

Similar to the RVing community, our family has found the mountain biking community to be kind, welcoming, and helpful.  We’ve had nothing but positive experiences so far with other bikers out on the trails.  Riders we’ve met on the trails have offered advice on the best trails for beginners and guided us to smoother trails when our youngest was overheard lamenting about all of the roots and shared with us their bike pumps and repair tools. 

How Our Family Fell in Love with Mountain Biking on the Road 3

While we rarely see other families with kids as young as ours out on the trails, I am continually impressed by how welcoming the mountain biking community is to our young sons.  Just like that kind group of teenage riders in Moab, Utah, our boys regularly receive words of encouragement, high fives, fist bumps, and warm, genuine welcome from the other mountain bikers we meet on the trails.

Not Always Easy, But Always Worth It

I can only hope that this little taste of mountain biking we’ve given our sons at a young age will foster a lifelong love for the sport, or at least remind them that biking through a forest, red-rock desert trail, or any other terrain they may encounter is always an option when they’re looking for adventure.  Some of our rides these days include all four of us on bikes, but many of our outings are still two boys on bikes with parents running along. 

How Our Family Fell in Love with Mountain Biking on the Road 4

I imagine a day when our sons will have far surpassed the skill level of their parents, and less of our time on the trails will be spent running and riding together. And so, while tackling mountain biking trails with our young sons hasn’t always been easy, I try to remind myself that the days of dismounting to help someone up a steep incline with a gentle nudge, of taking frequent rest breaks to explore rocks and bugs, and of carrying small bikes over particularly tricky terrain, are short-lived. Armed with water, snacks, a good attitude, and a lot of patience, I’ll continue to enjoy these rides while they last.

Our family’s experiences so far are modest, and we realize fully that we’ve barely hit the tip of the mountain biking opportunities iceberg.  We’re thankful for the memories the trails have created for us so far and are looking forward to all of the adventures yet to come.  If your family loves biking around the campground, I hope you’ll consider seeking out a local mountain biking spot and taking the bikes off the campsite grounds for an adventure on the trails – like us, your family might just love it.

Did you like this post? Pin it on Pinterest!

How Our Family Fell in Love with Mountain Biking on the Road 5
How Our Family Fell in Love with Mountain Biking on the Road 6


Rachel Murphy

Rachel is an RV enthusiast and outdoor adventure-seeker, who is happiest when found traveling the country with her husband and two young sons. A former teacher, she is currently working as a freelance writer offering copy and content for the RV travel and outdoor recreation industries and hopes that her words will help more families find joy in the great outdoors. More of her family’s adventures are chronicled on the blog page of her website,

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Limited Time Offer

Join Today & Receive RV Foundations FREE!

$127 Value!


Sign up for Escapees RV Club News and Never Miss a Thing!

Find Your Community at Escapees Events!

Learn to RV with Escapees!

Whether you’re a part-time or full-time RVer, you can learn to RV with our in-person and online training. 

RVers Boot Camp is your in-person opportunity to learn directly from RVing experts.

RVers Online University allows you to learn at your own pace from the comfort of your own home or RV.

Never miss a post.

Sign up for Escapees RV Club News now!