Mountain Biking Has The Slickrock Bike Trail In Moab
Every mountain biker worth his or her salt will want to try the Slick Rock Trail, located in Moab, Utah – one of the most challenging mountain biking trails in the world.
Every sport has its “ultimate” challenge. Golf has the Augusta National – host of the Masters tournament, Tennis has the grass courts of Wimbledon, car racing has the Daytona International Speedway, home of the Daytona 500.
Mountain Biking has the Slickrock Bike Trail in Moab, Utah.
The Slickrock Bike Trail is a 9.6 mile trail which most experts consider to be “the ultimate mountain biking experience.” There’s plenty of “easy and scenic” bike trails as well, but for the ultimate ride, Slickrock is it.
Moab is located in eastern Utah, about 230 miles east of Salt Lake City, or 350 miles west of Denver, Colorado. The origin of the name of Moab for this once small town (incorporated in 1902) are unclear, but now the name is iconic for great mountain biking.
Moab isn’t a big city – only about 5,000 people live there, but they get plenty of tourist traffic – so much so that you’ll find over thirty hotels and motels, ten bed and breakfasts, two resorts, 26 guest houses, and fifteen privately owned campgrounds. There are also over a dozen public campgrounds in the national parks nearby.
Tourists don’t just come for the mountain biking, of course. There’s off-road jeep trails, hiking, camping, and motorcycling…there’s even the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail, on which you can walk and see traces of dinosaur bones of a variety of species.
The first thing any visitor to Moab should do is visit their Visitor’s Center, which will have brochures for every activity under the sun, trail maps and more. If you’re new to Moab you do not want to go anywhere without a selection of trailmaps, and you should never go anywhere without letting someone know where you’re going and when you plan to be back. Better still, always hike or bike with a buddy who can help you out in case of trouble.
If you’re a beginner, there are plenty of tour operators – mountain biking, white river rafting, skydiving – who can take you to the right places and ensure you have a good time.
As you ride along on your bike you may see others littering or misbehaving, and wonder why you are supposed to have the “least possible impact” on their environment…but that’s just the way things are. Be responsible for your own personal “footprint”, even if you can’t control what other people do.
Moab biking trails consist of what’s called “Slick Rock.” I’ll get to that in a little bit. For now, here’s the list of good practices.
1) Ride only on open roads and trails
2) Learn to recognize and preserve cryptobiotic soil crusts. Okay – that’s going to be tough. Wait until you get to Moab and then have someone point them out to you.
3) Avoid skidding your tires
4) When it’s wet, avoid clay- like surfaces. Stay on the rocky, slickrock or sandy areas
5) Don’t ride along the sides of streams
6) Don’t pollute the water resources
Mountain Bike Trails
1) Over 100,000 people a year ride on the Slick Rock Trail – so named because its a trail of “naked” sandstone – stone that can hold onto your bike’s tires at “gravity defying angles.” The trail is rated a “Class 4” – 4 being the hardest class.
The trail is twelve miles long, and if you weren’t concentrating on the ground in front of you you’d see that it crosses an elevated platform of sandstone surrounded by cliffs – cut by the Colorado River over millions of years. You’ll be able to view canyons, see Arches National Park across the river, and the La Sal Mountains on the eastern skyline.
The trail is a 12-mile long loop (if you don’t take any side trips) and will take at least four hours. Make sure you bring a lot of extra water with you. You can bike on the trail from mid-February through November, but of course is most popular through spring and fall.
The trail is in the Sand Flats Recreation Area, and there is a small fee enter. The fee pays for the maintenance of the entire area.
2) The Porcupine Rim Trail, also located in the Sand Flats Recreation Area, is also rated a Category 4. This is a one way trail and takes about half-a-day to ride.
However, if your family is full of both skilled mountain bikers and beginners, don’t despair. There’s plenty of other easy mountain biking trails in this beautiful area.- such as the Bar M Loop.