The perfect cycling combination awaits in the rolling desert hills near St. George, Utah: a butt-kicking workout on the way up followed by an adrenaline-pumping downhill race. When I first rode up Snow Canyon last summer, it was a real "sufferfest." Finally I crested that last sweaty hill, pushing my poor legs harder than they had any right to be pushed, filling my lungs with hot desert air... then I looked around. Miles of pristine Navajo sandstone stretched out before me, carved into towering walls of red and white striations. I felt like I was on Mars, and I was hooked.
I woke up toward the end of the drive from Salt Lake City to Southern Utah and realized the world had completely changed. The land was brilliantly red, and I could see across the sloping rocks for miles. It was unlike any landscape I had ever seen. The rocks there twist themselves into pillars, arches, giant craters and vibrating hoodoos as they reflect the brilliance of the sun. This land can be brutally hot during the summer, but it also invites you to participate in the world in a unique way. Since my first trip to St. George, Utah, I've never lost the awe I felt for the area's interactive geography, myriad state parks, beautiful scenery and animal wildlife.