Moab - Over rated? Not really - Part 1

Jul 2, 2012 at 0:01
Jul 2, 2012
by Sharon Bader  
 
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We had a great ski season. 94 days, half of them touring, 90% in pow. On April 14th ski season ended when it got warm and wet. The forecast wasn’t promising; it was too wet to even do trail work! What to do? Wallow in self pity, ski shitty snow, ride in the mud or... DRIVE 2000km South to Utah and Colorado.

This drive is best done over two days. If we leave early in the morning we can get to Mountain Home, Idaho by evening. This allows us to get to Salt Lake City by lunch the next day or Moab in the evening. It takes 22 hours to drive back from Moab to Vancouver. The full pull is easier to do on the way home. We have learned to eat at IHOP for breakfast. It's fast and predictable. We did find a great Mexican restaurant in Ontario Oregon for dinner, Tacos Mi Ranchitos - quick, easy and very good!

For an article on Pinkbike about riding in Moab

Lower Porcupine Singletrack


Views: 5,485    Faves: 10    Comments: 7


Since this was an impromptu trip we decided to camp at a campsite with Internet access as we still had some work stuff to take care of. Pack Creek Campground was our home for 5 nights. For cheaper options with few amenities you can camp in one of the BLM Sites on any of the major roads out of town. If you are feeling particularly ghetto you can camp anywhere in BLM land where you can find space. Just bring water and pack everything out.

We haven't ridden in Moab since 2007. According to internet wisdom this part of the American Southwest is overrated (we beg to differ). This area is HUGE with much to offer. We decided to stay in Moab because we heard they have new trails and have been upgrading their current network.

We were not disappointed!

Amasa Back

Our first ride in Moab was on the old Classic Amasa Back, Pot Hole Arch, Rock Stacker to Jackson. The last time we were here it was a 'secret'. A pretty well known secret mind you... Since then a new organization was formed - Moab Trails Alliance and Trail Mix - which seems to be the advocacy group responsible for working with the land owners, building new trails and putting up signage. You can find all the maps on this site, or buy them at any of the Moab Bike shops.

For a story on Pinkbike

Parking lot of Amasa Back to Jackson Loop


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Even the climbs have techy descents


For a story on Pinkbike

Slickrock and blue sky- what Moab is all about


For a story on Pinkbike

More Singletrack for the descent


Moab - Amasa Back at EveryTrail


This ride has it all, views, technical ups and very technical descending. Amasa Back to Pothole arch itself is mostly of the AM variety with lots of meandering climbs alternating with short downhills or incredible scenic views on a spine of red and pink sandstone, decomposing rock and slickrock with a smallish arch at the terminus. You go out and back on the Pothole portion then turn back onto one of the Rockstacker/Jackson entries.

Rockstacker (and the later portion of the trail, Jackson) has very technical descents of the steep, loose and sometimes tight variety followed by a surprising amount of climbs - some moderately long, but mostly punchy short climbs. You end with a beautiful (kind of unnecessary to say this really) descent back to the parking lot.. More pictures, video and map info here.


Klondike Bluffs


Also described in this link above is another area that has been developed - Klondike Bluffs - which has less technical but equally fun, fast trails. After our 3 and a half hour ride we were tired, maybe because we rode 27km without even realizing it!

Klondike Bluffs used to be mostly out and back doubletrack with a grand view of Arches National Park at the terminus. Added to this area is now a network of doubletrack linking singletrack. Views here are not quite as spectacular as with Amasa Back, but that's not a fair comparison is it? Anyone who relishes mountain biking with variety will love this trail network

For a story on Pinkbike

Klondike Bluffs Area Info


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Well marked intersections on bi-directional trails


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Nice route selection


Moab - Klondike bluffs at EveryTrail

Views: 5,485    Faves: 10    Comments: 7



(to be continued in Part 2)
Must Read This Week






41 Comments

  • + 5
 I went out there last fall and it was well worth checking out. No way is it overrated! Plenty of trails to choose from (none are beginner so keep that in mind if fledgeling riders are contemplating accompanying you). Only downside is the el strangeo liquor laws. You cannot carry a pitcher of beer from the bar to a table, the bartenders have to serve behind an enclosure before handing it over (made it feel like some kina weirdo peep show!) and max alcohol percentage in beer is 3.2% by weight (4% by volume).

If you like real beer then load up before crossing the UT border or there is always Fruita, CO (close by) and oodles of other awesome riding destinations throughout Colorado.
  • + 4
 That last part isn't true. You can get real beer here at liquor stores, breweries, bars and at some restaurants. Real beer isn't hard to come by in Moab, thankfully haha. By the way Utah's breweries are some of the best so don't think the Mormons are ruining the fun Wink
  • + 1
 my twin brother and i drive out from denver to moab to camp and bike every year. Its one place that could never be overrated, if you call yourself a mountain biker, its worth checking out. And if you go to moab, fruita co is just an hour and a half east. The biking is amazing (if you like fast and flowy, theres nothing better) and the camping is free
  • + 1
 Oh but yes it is true scott-townes...see the paragraph below. The other thing that blows is I had a heck of a time trying to get a daggone cup of COFFEE in downtown Salt Lake. One of the locals chuckled when I expressed my sleep deprived consternation and said if you think that is bad, for those that partake of "gentlemans clubs" (which by the way is not my thing), the predominant religion there writes down license plate numbers and fines parishioners found to be patrons.

From the www.utah.com state liquor law web page: "Taverns and beer establishments sell beer from 10 am-1 am. This includes a variety of venues: taverns, lounges, cabarets, nightclubs, cafes, bowling centers, golf courses, etc. Beer may be purchased without ordering food and is sold on draft and in bottles and cans. Beer sales "to go" are also allowed, but not in open containers.
Packaged beer is also available at supermarkets, grocery and convenience stores. The maximum alcohol content is four percent by volume, or 3.2 percent by weight for beer sold in taverns, beer establishments and stores."
  • + 2
 I'm well aware of what the laws are here since I've lived here for the past 5 years. They consider any beer over 3.2 as a malt liquor so I can see why you're a bit confused by what the law reads and what actually happens. I can tell ya that there's a lot of myths that float around about this place and that some of them aren't true, such as that license plate thing you heard, haha. SLC itself is not populated by as many Mormons as you'd think. In other areas def. but I can say that some of my rowdiest nights have been in the downtown/U of U areas.

Next time you stop on by hit up some of the breweries, I think you'll enjoy them.
  • + 1
 Regarding quality of brews: I was there man Wink The stuff at the Moab Brewery was mediocre at best. They would not let me carry a pitcher of beer from the bar to a table.. summin is definitely unnatural/wrong/badeffingform with THAT!

Having spent a lot of time in Oregon (McMenamins, Rogue, etc. make some incredible stuff- Terminator Stout on nitro is summin else) plus other killer spots like: Red Lodge, MT (Red Lodge Ales whooohooo), Stoud's near Lancaster, PA and countless other establisments in the US and the UK, it just isn't the same. The greatest disappointment of going to Moab was seeing a Dale's Pale Ale truck pass (and not stop with me running after it even eheheh), headed for the 24 hours at Moab. Trails out there awesome no doubt but beer is nuttin spectacular- no biggie.The locals I chatted with said given the lowwww alc %, they tended to drink shots of liquor at home, then go out drinkin the beers!
  • + 1
 The Moab brewery? The next time you're in SLC stop by the Wasatch, Squatters or Uintah breweries. Until then you have not a clue about the quality of beer here, haha.

And as for people taking shots before they go out, that's because bars are expensive. No matter where I was, VT, NH, UT, OR, people pregamed before going out to the bar. The magical part about alcohol is that your tolerance changes so if you just move to Utah, you're going to notice the weak beer. Give it less than a month and your tolerance adjusts to the alcohol content so you get drunk just as easily as you normally would. The difference between a normal beer and a Utah beer (talking generic beers) is only 1% by volume. That means 4 reg. beers equals 5 Utah beers. And of course you're not going to get used to it if you maintain your high alcohol tolerance by regularly drinkin the hard stuff.

Aside from that and weird laws like the Zion Curtain (can't show beer being poured), or having to buy real beer in singles rather than in 6-packs, Utah is hardly different than many other places. Like with anywhere else, you gotta know where to go and what to drink.
  • + 1
 Hmm, sounds like 1 UK beer = 2 Zion Curtain brews with a heck of a lot less loo time involved eheheh.

Right on... I researched the heck outta where to ride (did like 8 rides in 4 days) and didn't pay sufficient attention to the suds scene. I may cruise out again in the fall but prolly hittin Fruita then Crested Butte - Aspen and 401 trail.
  • + 2
 The trail crew in MOAB have really done a great job adding new trails and improving the classics. I only live a few hours away and had stopped going just because it was mostly jeep roads, sand, and not much singletrack. To make matters worse we drive right by Grand Junction and Fruita on the way and usually everybody was like, I'd rather ride singletrack here and it's half the drive. But with a bunch of new trails and improvements to many others I think the trip is worth it. You can ride in Moab all winter as well, and that is when we usually go. November is my favorite time to go. The leaves are changing and the temps are perfect. Spring and fall are probably the best times to go. The upper trails might have some snow on some years, but there are still plenty of trails to ride down lower. The summer months can be brutally hot, but there is some fantastic high alpine singletrack up in the La Sals. If you want to escape the heat. Don't be afraid the call the shops to get current weather conditions because it can change greatly, and Internet weather is often wrong. If you haven't been to Moab in a while or have never been you should make the trip. The views are incredible and the riding will demand your respect.
  • + 2
 I live in Grand Junction and ride Moab about 3 times a month. Don't go in July or August. April, May June, Sept. October, November are generally great temps. wise. There are many new trails and always the classics. The scenery is outstanding and the whole town is in to Mnt. biking. Great vibe. Don't get me wrong there are equally great singletrack trails in Junction.
  • + 1
 Man, after all these years, I was so jazzed to ride Moab the one & only time I was going to go through there with enough time to ride it, I was bound & determined. I budgeted for extra time, brought all my kit, pulled up to the trailhead, ...whew it's hot... geared up, ....boy it sure is hot... and met the only other person there, a ranger, who spent 15 minutes politely pleading (but not overtly demanding) with me to not go out in the 115deg heat, & at very least stick to the beginner loop and bring 4 full water bottles. Hell, I survived a July Boot Camp in Texas, and didn't drive all the way across the country with a bike for nothing, so damn the torpedoes, out I went. What a stubborn, stupid old ass I am. It took 20min to get out, and over an hour to get back, having drank all the water, hid under the only shade tree there in the sandpit trying to escape the broil, until I was completely disoriented and dizzy and only by some miracle drifted directionlessly back to the lot, nearly blacking out by the time I got there. Really looking forward to going again some time, just not in August.
  • + 1
 I went to Moab and had a pretty mediocre time. I was always either scared shitless from the ridiculous exposure or being rattled around from the rough bumpy surface so much I had to buy a cushion for the ride home. The heat wasn't too bad in the spring, but the endless up and down really wore on me... I have found much better places to ride.
  • + 4
 Moab isn't a place for beginners. Its a reason why its called the mecca, haha.
  • + 2
 Moab's a full body workout, and the tech moves and exposure make it about as difficult a place to ride in existence. The beginner trails aren't really beginner trails there, but you can still have fun, just be prepared to walk a few spots.
  • + 1
 I think the only beginner trails I saw were the dirt roads... seriously. I always feel bad for the people with rental bikes, bobble-head helmets and tennis shoes on that get pulled into the slick rock trail because it says practice loop and its a very easy place to get to. This one girl we brought had only ridden twice before ever and she took two of the hardest falls I've seen on there. One was an over the handies on a little roller/drop to her face/shoulder and the other was her trying to dismount but she tried to step off with the foot facing down the hill. That one ended up with her doing two backwards somersaults. Those were within 10 mins of each other but man was she a soldier about it and she did have a blast. Luckily there's more to do in the area for those who aren't spending all their time on the bike, like that illy waterfall just outside of town.
  • + 1
 I rode my trail bike all week and never really struggled on the tech... I'm confident on my bike enough to ride all the drops and ledges... well most of them anyways. I rode Amasa Back and the Mag 7 just fine technically, but I just failed to find those trails fun! I guess I like riding dirt more than rocks... And the fear i mentioned was only on those nuts ledges you find. The 200 foot drop does not thrill me at all... That being said I have yet to find a more awe-inspiring place to ride a bike...The scenery is amazing
  • + 1
 I agree, dirt is better. But Moab is unique and the scene and buzz around bikes there is pretty damn cool. I saw a girl riding with her boyfriend on Slickrock last November (later learned it was something like her 2nd or 3rd ride - like above). On on spot where the trail rides around a pit with a steep incline down to it she high sided a pedal while making the off camber uphill turn to follow the trail. That's when her bike tumbled down into the pit, and she tumbled too (not all the way thank goodness). She too was a trooper, and we helped her up and to fix her twisted bar and stem. Probably one of the scarier things I've seen happen on a bike...
  • + 1
 I rode Moab earlier this season, great people and tons of fun. Bring extra parts, local shops mark up by about 20%. The Whole Enchiladas is the way to go and plenty of shops that run shuttles to the top. April, May, Sept, are the best times to go, otherwise its too damn hot!
  • + 4
 Moab mtb is fun.......But it is simply GOD LIKE on a MOTO !
  • + 1
 Went there this past April. Beautiful weather (though we got stuck in a rainstorm riding Porcupine rim). Road Porcupine and also some of the new Brand trails (varying levels of difficulty and length). Love it!
  • + 1
 IT IS... THE BEST place to ride in the U.S.(non bike park) Followed closely by Sedona. But, everybody has their own opinion on what type of terrain is the best. I love the desert with mountains and lots of ROCK!
  • + 1
 Do people really say it's over rated ? I have never been there but if it's half as good as it looks then it will be mind blowing still..
  • + 1
 Some do. I really don't consider Moab to be overrated at all, but that's mostly because its so different. It isn't an endless paradise of trails like some might say, but the ones that are there are really good. I think a lot of people have trouble because the good stuff in Moab is really really hard. I enjoy that, but I'd never send a beginner there for a week.

I do consider Fruita to be somewhat overrated. They rave about their single track there, which is very nice for Colorado/Utah, but really isn't as good as the best of the PNW.
  • + 1
 "I do consider Fruita to be somewhat overrated. They rave about their single track there, which is very nice for Colorado/Utah, but really isn't as good as the best of the PNW."

So the trails in one town in Colorado aren't quite as good as the BEST trails in an entire geographic region? You got us there. Smile

The nice thing about Fruita/Grand Junction, and Moab is you don't have to pick just one place to go - they're an hour and a half away from each other. I call Fruita home and that's one of the big reasons I do. Hopefully we'll get summer lift-access at our local ski hill soon and it will truly be heaven on earth.
  • + 3
 Sorry. Not trying to rag on Fruita too much, it really is a cool place and worth a visit. I was just disappointed after seeing all of the stuff in the magazines etc about the incredible single track and then finding that the Bookcliffs area was really just a bunch of super short loops. Great for families, but hardly legendary single track. Same for lunch loops in Grand Junction. Kokopellis really lived up to the hype though! I think its a matter of perspective. Having been there now, I probably would never tell anyone from Oregon, Washington, or BC that Fruita's single track (other than Kokopelli) has anything to seriously rival Bend, Oakridge, Bellingham, or Squamish. The fresh dirt, smooth trails, and big trees out here are simply better. Soooo, because of that Fruita was somewhat of a letdown from the hype. By the same token, the PNW has absolutely nothing on Colorado/Utah when it comes to technical rocky terrain.
  • + 1
 apples and oranges
  • + 1
 I think Moab and Fruita and Grand Junction can be considered as one big network and a great place to visit and explore for a week - heck even two! It used to be that Moab was short on legal singletrack. Times seem to be a -changing as that trail advocacy group has sure stepped it up!
  • + 3
 Utah has it all from moab to virgin utah for rampage
  • + 3
 Looks such a rad place to ride... Just maybe a bit too hot for my taste.
  • + 1
 It isn't that bad. I rode the Gooseberry Mesa in July and I was just glad the humidity wasn't there.
  • + 2
 Go in October - its really nice Smile - warm and like Karpiel said no humidity - that's always the killer.
  • + 1
 Stick to the high country during the summer and you'll be fine, the lower stuff is great in the fall and spring.
  • + 2
 I went there a long time ago, it was awesome, you just have to start your ride VERY early in the morning though
  • + 1
 Great article, brought back some great memories. one time we spent a whole day in July riding the ski lift that used to operate there. It's a good thing bikes are stronger now cause the rocks destroy bikes.
  • + 1
 True that! 'Rode 24 miles on Saturday here in St.George, Utah where our average July temps are well over 100 degrees, and had an awesome time; we started riding at 5:30 AM to be off by around 9 AM. Any later than 9 AM out here and you're begging for trouble Frown
  • + 1
 Its a shame thats in the middle of nowhere....well nobody can have it all. One day I will be there!!
  • + 2
 I grew up in moab, miss it everyday!
  • + 2
 Porcupine Rim Trail... I have a bone to pick with that trail!
  • + 1
 me too! I cut my spinal cord on it 5 years ago. I want revenge now that I can ride again!
  • + 1
 I spent 2 weeks in moab last year and didn't get to ride once!
  • - 2
 Needs more fisheye

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