Mountain Biking in Moab

Sharon and I were in Moab for more than a week recently.  Lots of good rides to post about…. as usual my blogging has a lot of catching up to do with my riding.

The Brand trails / Bar M ranch

This is a newer trail system relatively close to the city of Moab.  It is a stacked loop system with a decent variety of trails.  I decided to ride this trail system first because the Outer Bike, bike industry show was going to be setting up soon, and the area would become overrun with riders. There are currently about 27 miles of single track in total. My favorites were Dead Man’s Ridge and the other newer loop going out toward Killer B. The terrain is challenging but not overly technical as I was able to roll everything. Best of all, this trail system is still growing there are a couple more loops that have not opened yet.

The Porcupine Rim Trail

beginning of Porcupine Rim Trail

beginning of Porcupine Rim Trail

The Porcupine Rim is one of the Moab classics.  The first portion that starts at the end of the Sand Flats Recreation area is a less used high difficulty jeep route. After that it’s a closed road and then finally single track. This ride also offers up lots of classic Moab scenery.

I did manage to crash pretty hard on this ride not long after the point where the single track starts. I was going off a rather small and simple ledge at speed when a large wind gust pushed me way off the good landing zone. Just a little road rash and the bike suffered a bent derailleur hanger.  I kept my tires on the ground for the rest of the jeep road, which is not an easy task.  The final descent off of the rim on the single track is what makes this ride one of the frequently recommended classics.  The single track is hard in places but not unrideable.

This single track is also right along the rim and while the exposure here is not too daunting, the views offered up are great. Parts of this single track also flow well and give you the chance to carry some speed.

Amasa Back

This ride consists of the Cliffhanger jeep trail to the Pot Hole Arch trail to Rock Stacker to Jackson’s.  Amasa Back is a long narrow, tall mesa situated on the Colorado River opposite Poison Spider mesa.  This ride offered up some very technical terrain with a lot of exposure.  The jeep trail is one of the most technical around with virtually no stock vehicles getting through and it gets a rating of 4 or 5 with 5 being the toughest.  Cliffhanger is still no match for a skilled rider on a mountain bike. The single track on Rock Stacker may not have as many ledges, but it’s much harder and more fun to ride. I made my way up Cliffhanger without any drama and headed out toward Pot Hole arch on the single track while the weather continued to hold. The single track along here was a lot of fun with tons of great views. There was a huge section of downhill slick rock with natural rollers making for lots of speed and air time.

On a corner near the junction with Rock Stacker I struck my pedal and it broke in half.  Not good.  I decided to cut short the section that is an out and back to Pot Hole Arch. I proceeded tentatively down Rock Stacker and ended up walking a few sections since my bucked pedal did not offer much purchase for my foot or inspire any confidence.

Intrepid Trail System, Dead Horse Point State Park

Jay and Sharon on Intrepid Trail

Jay and Sharon on Intrepid Trail at Dead Horse Point State Park

I rode this one with Sharon and I should probably let her tell most of this story. It was a great scenic ride with perfect weather.

The White Rim road, Canyonlands National Park

This is a classic route through Canyonlands known for amazing scenery. My parents and their good friends Pat and Cindy Kennedy made this year their 14th Annual self-organized supported bike trip.  There were 11 of us total.  It was a great group and four days and three nights of camping, over 100 miles of riding, and pure fun.  Sharon and I should really have a huge entire post dedicated to this.  Most of the trip through Canyonlands National Park really is even more spectacular than the now famous Tom Till prints.

Slickrock Trail

This is the most well known trail in Moab. It is a unique experience and anyone visiting Moab to ride should not miss this one.  The riding is almost exclusively on slick rock.  Every one remembers the first time they ride slick rock.  Dan and Lisa Friedman joined me for this ride, their first slick rock ride. The term slick rock seems silly as soon as you ride on a bit since the sandstone surface that defines slick rock grips like sand paper.  Grades that would be unfathomable on dirt are easily tackled with the ample traction.  This leads to silly giddy fun while riding it, and later after a few visits to Moab and more experience it makes you want to try what seems impossible to ride.  We got a late start in the afternoon with sore legs from just finishing the White Rim so we did not ride the whole loop.  No matter, the ride was a huge success with two more riders now hooked.  I am sure the Friedmans are now already thinking about their yet to come next trip to Moab.

Below is a little video Dan took of me having fun riding off trail. It’s important to note that while my brakes squealed like a banshee there was never a skid so my tires left no trace on the sandstone.

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3 responses to “Mountain Biking in Moab

  1. I wondered about the brakes – I could hear you coming! So glad there was only the one crash. Nicely written post! Explained just what Melinda asked on Facebook about Slickrock. Love, Mom

  2. Yes, it did explain what I needed to know. Your riding posts are very interesting and well written, but sometimes I feel as though it’s a foreign language!! But your enthusiasm and expertise comes through! What a fabulous trip you two are taking!!!

  3. Pedaled the Bar M in the brands over the weekend. Researching trails for the kids to pedal. Saw about eleven youngsters on bike on various Brand Trails. While the LAZY EZ are short and sweet, I thought it required too much concentration for kids, especially when I heard Through my own ear bud noise, a nine year old yell at his dad, I want to go home! A high school Mountain Bike team is in the works http://www.utahmtb.org/, it is funny that this concept is just arising.

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