MOAB MOUNTAIN BIKE TRAILS
NOTE: This category can be considered either OUT OF SHAPE INTERMEDIATE (strong skills, but slow) or VERY FIT ROAD RIDER WITH LITTLE EXPERIENCE OFF-ROAD (strong legs and cario, but dangerous habits). We try not to mix the two. Generally the strong novice rider is aerobically fit with over a year of mountain biking experience at a rate of 1 or 2 times a week, but with limited technical abilities. If you have endurance, but cannot hop a curb with the front wheel, then you are a strong novice. Strong novice routes are generally long dirt road rides with elevation gain, but fit and strong novices are capable of riding intermediate trails barring those with continuous or sudden vertical exposure, and/or sustained extreme technical challenges. The secret for strong novices to ride "low intermediate" level trails is getting off and walking the most difficult sections. Obstacles slow the strong novice. Sustained climbs slow the low intermediate. Since we allow these two categories of riders in a single group, they must have patience with each other. If you are a fit intermediate rider in your neck of the woods, chances are that you are a strong novice when it comes to Moab terrain. If you are an intermediate experienced rider, but out of shape, then consider yourself a low intermediate/strong novice. There are other riders we place into this category. Experienced road riders who have never ridden a mountain bike are considered strong novices. The trails listed here are considered technically easy, yet physically challenging IN MOAB. Anywhere else, some sections of trails such as Klondike Bluffs could be considered technically difficult.
strong novice skill level
Dreamride's best routes are top secret! If you are looking for extreme solitude, hardcore riding, pristine environment and rare wildlife viewing, that is what Dreamride specializes in. Listings here are traditional mountain biking areas listed in guidebooks and on maps that can be bought. Our favorite routes are not listed anywhere.
This listing is provided by Dreamride LLC of Moab, highlighting a small sampling of trails offered as part of the company's Moab Vacation Packages. If you are looking for more information on mountain bike trails in the Moab area click on MOAB GUIDEBOOK. Be sure to visit the SAFETY GUIDE before coming to Moab. It could save your life and contains valuable environmental information that is required knowledge for all visitors to canyon country. For information on tour packages and other services offered by Dreamride in Uath, Hawaii, and Colorado, click on MTB VACATION CATALOG or CONTACT DREAMRIDE.
ADVANCED | HARDCORE GONZO | SLICKROCK AREAS
HOMEPAGE | VACATION CATALOG
Gemini BridgesGroup maximum size: 4 for standard open day tours (no mixed skills), 8 for private groups only.
Surfaces: Hardpack, rock ledges, bedrock, sand, and loose sedimentary rock on a 4WD track.
Distance: 14+ miles
Attractions: Western history (the drive out to the trailhead skirts the area where Butch Cassady once staged train robberies); the only twin arches around; views of Bull Canyon and vast areas southward; petrified wood; fossils; strange rock formations; mostly downhill direction.
The strong novice route alternatives for the Gemini Bridges Trail are begun from the bottom of the trail and heading up, or adding the pavement on Hwy 313 out toward the Island in the Sky. If you choose the pure dirt route, we ascend a large shelf over the Moencopi Geological layers, through the Chinle into Little Canyon. After a bit of fast downhill we continue to climb to the bridges above beautiful Bull Canyon. We will stop long enough to take pictures, play on the ledges, and snack. On the way back to the trailtail at 191 we have options for more mileage as we intersect various trail spurs. If you are interested in extended mileage, see Bull Canyon below or ask about Day Canyon Overlook or Dry Fork options. If you are a rock climber we can turn you on to the Crack House, a cave with inviting cracks in the ceiling perfect for hanging and climbing fun only a few feet off the ground. We have special knowledge of this area and will share our secrets. If you would like to book a custom tour of this area for a specific purpose like amateur photography then let us know. We can tailor the time spent out here to maximize your pleasures.
Note: With the advent of a Republican, oil-industry-friendly administration, the Gemini Bridges area has undergone oil and natural gas exploration that has degraded many rides in this area through the use of huge 25 ton seismic trucks with 8 foot wheels. That, along with over-use by large commercial groups, mountain bike, ATV, motorcycle and 4WD traffic has caused us to only use the main trail for novices and strong novices during periods of bad weather. It is still a great ride for visitors who are frankly stunned by the beauty of the Moab area, but if you are a jaded visitor, it is now just a bit depressing to compare the now widened road to times gone by when this trail was a hardcore downhill run with some of the best rough-riding in the area.
Bull CanyonA great Gemini Bridges area ride for strong novice to intermediate riders from the standpoint of solitude and scenery. It is a bit more difficult that the basic Gemini Bridges Trail, presenting you with a bit of technical challenge over babyheads and deep sand and offering a bit more climbing. The view of Gemini Bridges from below is far more impressive than from the bridges themselves.
Group maximum size: 4 on basic day tours (no mixed skills). 8 when booked as a private tour (mixed skills OK).
Surfaces: 4WD track, sand, loose rock.
Distance: 18 miles +
Attractions: Wildlife, Gemini Bridges, spectacular canyon views, slickrock fins (very rare rounded Navajo sandstone-like formations of the Wingate), arches, fossils, mining areas.
This tour visits Gemini Bridges from below. From the trailhead on highway 191 we ride up into Little Canyon past the Gooneybird toward Gemini Bridges, but instead we turnoff to Bull Canyon to ride under the bridges. Here we stop to snack and take photos, then ride back and maybe visit the Dry Fork of Bull Canyon You may want to explore mining sites, slickrock fins and arches.
Klondike BluffsA popular novice to intermediate tour, this is true mountainbiking for the entire family or avid riders of any skill level. A fantastic ride for those wishing to be introduced to slickrock skills, there are also long distance dirt road rides heading north and south. These options can be tied together in any number of configurations. Advanced bikers enjoy the Klondike Bluffs area as much as children do. Dreamride offers a couple of epic rides in this area suitable for expert riders, as well. The Klondike Bluffs Trail is perfect for your teenage son who fancies himself a racer, if you are worried he might kill himself on the Moab Slickrock Trail. This area is known for its dinosaur tracks and fossils as well as deposits of gem stone and, God save us, uranium and copper exploration. The old road now called the Klondike Bluffs Trail follows not only dino tracks, but the tracks of the huge tractor drilling rig that bored out rock samples to hunt for uranium. If you are new to Moab, sample this ride before you attempt more challenging ones. This is the Dreamride skills evaluation route where all of our multi-day and first-time clients are put to the test on their first day.
Note: ---a very sad note, the dinosaur tracks in the Klondike Bluffs area are being destroyed by people who, with no skill or education, are trying to make molds of the prints to take home. We have seen everything from plaster of paris to spray foam. Needless to say, if people do not know how to make molds safely (using a plastic wrap to protect the track), then they probably should be shot on site before they mess this area up for the true amateur paleontologists. Leaving plaster or plastic stuck to the inside of a track is only one small step away from trying to crack the tracks out of the sandstone. Please do not stand on or mar the tracks in any way.
Group maximum size: 4 for standard open day tours. 8 for private bookings.
Surfaces: Dirt road, technical 4WD track, a bit of single track, sand, and lots of beginner to intermediate level slickrock and ledges.
Distance: 12 miles+, depending on your strength
Attractions: Dinosaur tracks; gemstone; awesome rock formations; historic mine sites; Indian arrowhead factory; awesome stone bluffs.
A brief pedal in on the wide maintained road takes us alongside the exposed reds and greens (copper and iron deposits) of the Morrison formation to a more technical 4WD track that eventually leads to a dinosaur-tracked slickrock shelf that takes us out to former Indian camp spots and Klondike Bluffs. The trail surface varies from sand to slickrock and all around is scattered Indian-worked chert, agate, dinosaur bone, and gizzard stones (gastroliths). We follow the dinosaur tracks up the slickrock into Arches National Park for a spectacular view of the bluffs. After snacks and a short hike we descend to the trailhead. Options include various slickrock areas, Arches in COMPLETE SOLITUDE, and as much distance as you can handle.
Courthouse Wash (Arches National Park Loop)This long physically challenging route takes you on a huge loop out to the old Arches National Park entrance at Balanced Rock, then we ride the Arches Road on pavement to complete the ride on Hiway 191. The pavement ride is a bit "smooth" for most off-roaders, but the sights in Arches National Park are sooo much more rewarding from the saddle of a mountain bike. There are a few easily avoided technical challenges and some sand, but mostly the route is easy dirt road. Options for slickrock play are available, but not advised due to technical surprises and environmentally sensitive mosses and lichens on the rock that require skill to avoid.
Note: The BLM recently made all of the slickrock off of this trail illegal. If you are caught riding off-trail, expect to be ticketed.
Group maximum: 4 (no mixed skills)
Surfaces: Hardpack, sand, loose rock and bedrock on a dirt road and service road.
Distance: 25 miles
Attractions: Scenic vistas, National Park manicured pavement ride, lots of arches.
If you want to avoid the pavement in Arches National Park, we can opt to ride any of several side spurs to some pretty special spots. This way we can guarantee the solitude that is sorely missing in the national park.
Monitor and Merrimac/Courthouse PastureWe can customize your visit in the Courthouse Pasture area to include many slickrock options, a visit to Uranium Arch and Quasimoto, or any number of custom routes Dreamride has plotted over the years. There are many advanced routes out here!
Group maximum size: 4 for basic dailies. 8 for private groups.
Surfaces: 4WD track, sand, slickrock, hardpack, bedrock, ledges, singletrack.
Distance: 13++ miles (many options--up to 25 miles)
Attractions: Dinosaur bones galore at Mill Canyon; bizzare chert nodules scattered everywhere; photography; western history; geological spots of interest; slickrock riding challenges; strange rock formations; wildlife; sand slogging (if you like that sort of thing--we certainly do); the only dirty petroglyphs around Moab. If you or your group wants to avoid most of the sand we can custom tailor the route to avoid as much of it as possible. THERE ARE LOTS OF ROUTE OPTIONS.
The new marked route does not go to the Monitor and Merrimac Buttes. It goes around the Camel Butte in the center of Courthouse Paster. This newly marked route is completely different than the older route that follows the jeep trail. The jeep trails begins with a visit to Mill Canyon dinosaur fossil site, then head straight ahead into Mill Canyon across Courthouse Pasture and out to Monitor Butte. We usually encircle the Monitor clockwise, then tuck behind Merrimac Butte. We stop at the backside of Merrimac Butte for snacks and slickrock skills fun, then head to Termination Towers to ride around the slickrock shelf. We return to the Mill Canyon Trail then take a spur that carries us out and around unnamed buttes (we call it Joe Camel) above Courthouse Pasture. We then travel west of Courthouse Rock, visiting the Blue Buffalo rock art site, the head back to the trailhead, stopping to check out the old Thompson-Moab stage coach rest stop and a spot next to a spring where Indians once camped. This route can be completely altered to your tastes.
Note: Campers, ATV and 4WD traffic are rapidly destroying soild crusts, turning an already sandy area into a huge mess. Do everyone and everything a favor and camp in the managed sites close to town.
Colorado River Overlook in the Canyonlands National Park Needles DistrictThis ride is a perfect strong novice route, with only a few technical challenges to keep the ride interesting. If you have been riding to work on a bike for years but haven't tried mountain biking, or you have athletic children that want a challenge but don't want to get hurt, then this one is just fine. The destination is very beautiful, but the ride from Moab is long and the park requires an entrance fee. Check out the picture above left. Great fun. Very scenic.
Group maximum: 8
Surfaces: Hardpack, sand, and a bit of bedrock on a dirt road.
Distance: 14 miles (out and back)
Attractions: Scenic vistas and options to explore. Hiking at the Mesa.
For your information, there are a few more routes out here in the park, though they are extremely sandy. If you don't mind the sand, we can hook you up with more rides out here that access some very special areas for photograpy.
Back of BehindFor stronger riders lacking techical skills, this is a real monster of a ride. The strong novice route Dreamride has laid out Back of Behind the Rocks can present you with as much as 40 miles of dirt road and 4WD tracks.
Group maximum size: 4 for basic day tours (no mixed skills). 8 for private groups.
Surfaces: Dirt road, sandy 4WD track, hardpack, a bit of slickrock and sandstone ledges is available upon request.
Distance: 11 miles
Attractions: Wildlife; fun; desert botanical variety; vistas; speed; sand slogging; beginner slickrock practice; sand dunes; stone age middens; scrambling around at the very scenic and marvelous Prostitute Butte (once an Indian camp--with caves and arches); Picture Frame Arch (a square arch, did you say?).
Back of Behind is a vast area of pasture broken by emerging Entrada sandstone formations. Jack rabbits and colorful lizards greet the early birds. Many ride options include various visits of canyon rims overlooking Kane Springs Canyon. The area is huge and if you like the challenge of sand riding you have the opportunity to ride in complete solitude in areas that will simply leave you breathless, in more ways than one.
Hurrah PassA perfect ride for road riders wishing to make the transition to mountain bikes. We leave from Moab for maximum mileage.
Group maximum: 12 (low impact allows larger groups sizes)
Surfaces: Gravel, hardpack, sand, and bedrock on a dirt road and 4WD track.
Distance: 28 miles
Attractions: Scenic vistas; bizarre rock formations; Anasazi rock art; springs; beautiful tight canyon; photography of petroglyphs and scenery; Kane Creek and the Colorado River Canyons; challenging distance.
The ride leaves from Moab and travels up Kane Creek Road all the way to Hurrah Pass, stopping at petroglyh sites, a fresh water spring and picturesque rock formations. We will stop for a rest at the top of the pass then double back for the fun downhill. For more skilled riders this ride can include the Moab Race Course Loop, Amasa Back, Chicken Corners. The Challenge Route is also available to those looking for a complete mountain biking experience that requires many days of riding. Call for custom camping tours.
Canyon Rims Recreation AreaA host of rides await strong novices in this recreation area larger than the Canyonlands National Park that borders it. The Mountain Bike Challenge Route travels through this area as well, though the route is a bit much for novices of any fitness.
Group maximum: 10 (low impact allows larger groups sizes)
Surfaces: Gravel, hardpack, sand, and bedrock on a dirt roads and 4WD tracks.
Distance: As much as you can stand.
Attractions: Scenic vistas; bizarre rock formations; Anasazi rock art; challenging distance.
The rides here are mostly dirt road and vary in challenge depending on surface. The pictured ride is of Canyonlands Overlook Trail. It has a bit of slickrock to play on and other attractions, aside from the astounding view at the end of the trail. Another ride nearby is Anticline Overlook Trail. There are so many that we have simply mentioned the recreation area here. Dreamride can arrange camping based tours in this area, but only for private groups.
The La Sal and Abajo MountainsIn summer and fall these two mountain ranges, among the three youngest on the planet, are a wildlife delights and lush scenery. The network of narrow service roads in both ranges are novice options that offer cool forest cruising. We recommend Taylor Flat, Geyser Pass, Elk Ridge, or Dark Canyon Lake for strong novices. There are so many options though, that the choice is best left to us after an evaluation of your fitness and skills.
Group maximum size: 8
Surfaces: Gravel, hard pack, stream bed, and sand on 4WD track.
Distances: 5 to 55 mile multi-day camping
Attractions: Abundant wildlife, beautiful views, cool forests, water, fishing combos.
Trails: Taylor Flat, Geyser Pass, Elk Ridge, Aspen Flat, and many more.
"There are trail guides; and then there's the real deal." ~ Bike Magazine
"Mountain Bike America's Moab guide is setting a new standard for guidebooks. Lee Bridgers' first-hand accounts give the reader a sense that they have some behind-the-scenes information about Moab." ~ Brian Fiske, Senior Editor of Mountain Bike Magazine
Lee Bridgers' Moab guidebook is now available in bookstores around the world. Get a signed copy: CONTACT DREAMRIDE.
FAX number is 435-259-8196.
or write to:
P.O. Box 1137
Moab, UT 84532