It is difficult to say what elements must come together to create the ideal mountain biking experience, but most riders will agree that there are some places where those surreal moments just seem to come more easily and more often. Moab, Utah is one of those places. From the incomparable traction of slick rock to the absolutely amazing rock formations like Gemini Bridges, it is no wonder that Moab has become the mountain biking mecca of the world. The town is booming with adventure seekers who come from all over the world to test their skills against the red sandstone canyons, mesas, and slickrock that have made the area famous. A walk down Moab’s Main Street will reveal more bikes than cars and you will begin to notice that most of the people are sporting bike shorts, helmet hair, and well developed calf muscles. If you are a beginner, it can make you feel a little uneasy but do not be intimidated. Moab has a trail to suit every level of rider from the first-timers to the world-class professionals, and you don’t need to be a pro to enjoy yourself on Moab’s vast number of mountain biking trails.
Moab can get swelteringly hot during midday so it is wise to do your riding in the morning and spend the afternoon enjoying some of the other diversions that Moab has to offer. There are plenty of restaurants, gift shops, and museums to visit. Later in the day you may want to visit one of the nearby national parks. Arches National Park is just a few minutes from downtown and is home to hundreds of beautiful arches spanning anywhere from three to three hundred feet in length.
One of the most important things to do before hitting the trials is to get properly outfitted. You will definitely want to arm yourself with plenty of water, good sunscreen, a helmet and a map showing the rides and trailheads in the area. Hauling bikes through the desert to this remote Utah town is not always easy so you may opt to rent a bike once you get there. Moab has plenty of bike shops that will rent you a ride at a reasonable price; they can also offer great trail tips or even guided excursions. Whether you borrow, rent, or buy a bike, make sure that it is in good running condition before you start your ride. Because of the rough terrain it is a good idea to get a full suspension bike, but at the very least you will want a front suspension fork. The following is a list of Moab bike shops; contact them to learn more about renting, repairs, and tours.
ACME Bike Shuttle
550 1/2 N Main St
391 S Main
94 W 100 North
Chile Pepper Bike Shop
550-1/2 N Main
Poison Spider Bicycles
497 N. Main
Western Spirit Cycling
478 Millcreek Dr
Once you are geared up there is no end to the fun you can have on Moab’s miles and miles of mountain bike trails. It is important to remember that bikers are not alone on the trails; jeeps, ATVs, and dirt bikes share many of the same routes so be careful and yield to the motorized vehicles. This page contains information on some of the great rides that Moab has to offer, but it is a good idea to get a map that shows more of the trails as well as how to get there. Click on the links below to view biking trails in and around Moab Utah.
The Slickrock Trail is a mix of steep drops and climbs, ledges, half-pipes, and obstacles that will challenge any rider. The trail is marked by a white dotted line painted onto the red rock. Despite its name, Slickrock is not slippery. You will find that your bike gets incredible traction on this trail, allowing you to travel at great speeds and maintain control of your bike. You should allow 4 hours to ride this trail. The trailhead is located 7 miles east on Sand Flats Road - gravel.
The Gemini Bridges trail is wide enough for a jeep and contains plenty of slickrock and other obstacles to keep you entertained. You can choose to ride the trail to the bridges and back or you can have someone drop you off at the top of the trail and then pick you up down at the bottom. You will definitely want to take a break from your ride to stop and see the bridges, huge arches that span across the deep canyon below. The trail is 14 miles one way from the trailhead on Hwy. 313 to trail end at Hwy. 191 or 16 mile out and back from Hwy. 191 to the Gemini Bridges. If you start from the Hwy. 313 trailhead there is a 1,400 foot descent one way with a long, steep climb near the end. If you plan to ride out and back there is a 700 foot ascent to the bridges from Hwy. 191. The trail is a dirt road and jeep trail with rocky surface and some sand.
Porcupine Rim is a great trail if you are looking for some spectacular scenery. The ride begins with a four mile climb which turns into an eleven mile decent. The trail is very technical and not recommended for beginners, you may want to get off your bike and walk through some of the really rough spots. The trail is 14.4 miles one-way from the trailhead on Sand Flats Road to Hwy. 128 or 30.8 miles if you ride the entire loop. The trail is a combination of a loose, rocky jeep trail and single track. To get to the trailhead you must pay the Sand Flats Recreation Area fee.
Klondike Bluffs is a six-mile loop full of varied terrain such as sand, slickrock, and dirt roads. The trial is less challenging than Slickrock but still contains some great climbs and descents. The trail will lead you through great scenery and some petrified dinosaur tracks. The trail is 16 miles out and back to Arches National Park boundary from trailhead on Hwy. 191. The trail has an 800 foot ascent, it is a jeep trail with hard pack and slickrock; marked with dinosaur footprint stencils.
Pritchett/Back of Behind the Rocks:
This trail is also known as Kane Creek Canyon Rim. The trail is 21 miles one-way from the trailhead near Hwy. 191 to Kane Creek Blvd. it has a 1,500 foot descent with short, steep climbs. The trail is a jeep trail with rocky surfaces, big ledges and some sand, you must pa fee to landowner at end of ride.
This trail is also known as Steel Bender. It is an 18 mile loop including 6 miles on pavement. The trail includes multiple ascents and is a jeep trail with rocky ledges, steam cobbles, some sand and multiple stream crossings.
Poison Spider Mesa:
This trail is 12 miles out and back to Little Arch from the trailhead on Hwy. 279. It is a 1,100 foot climb on jeep trails with large slick rock area, sand and rock-studded sediment; marked with white jeep stencils on rock. There is an optional descent using Portal Trail. The single track is difficult and exposed.
This trail is also known as Cliff Hanger. It is 10 miles out and back from the trailhead on Kane Creek Road. The trail is a 1,100 foot ascent on a jeep trail with loose rock, ledges and hard-packed sections.
Monitor and Merrimac:
This is a 7.4 mile loop plus optional 6 mile out and back to the Monitor and Merrimac buttes from the trailhead near Hwy.191. The trail is a 700 foot ascent on a jeep trail with slickrock and some sand.
19.2 miles out and back from end of pavement on Kane Creek Road. The trail has a 900 foot ascent to Hurrah Pass on a graded gravel and dirt road. You may shorten this ride may by starting farther along the Kane Creek Road.
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