Top 5 Moab Mountain Bike Trails

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March 8th, 2015

 

Choosing the top five trails in Moab is a bit like choosing your favourite song. It all depends on what kind of mood you're in, your energy level or how your day has been. Maybe you want to blow off some steam, grab your plush all-mountain steed and thrash your way down the gnarliest thing you can find, or maybe you want to break a sweat, get on your hardtail and  thrash your way up the gnarliest thing you can find.  Maybe you want to put on that Flume song that's in all those new bike videos and find a flow that seems to  join you and your bike with the trail beneath you, or maybe you want to ride for miles and miles and loose yourself in the landscape that surrounds you as the hours slip away. 

 

The fact is, a decade ago, it wouldn’t have been so hard to choose those top five moab biket trails. There were only a handful of trails that weren’t mostly composed of jeep roads back then. These days however, the trail building spree has made it really, really hard to pick the best, top 5 trails. Now, it’s more like you can pick the top trail in any number of categories: the most fun ‘Trail” ride, the most technical “All Mountain” ride, the most lung-crushing “XC” ride, etc. In addition to this, Moab is now really a cluster of individual areas, each composed of numerous trail segments and each having it’s own particular style and feel. So, on any given ride, you will probably ride half a dozen different trails.

 

That being said, there are some definite individual trail segments that can be considered the outright best in their own categories. Here are the top 5 trail segments that, in my mind, make up for the best riding in the Moab area and should definitely be on your list when stopping by for a visit. And hey, if you want me to take you for a ride, join us on one of our Utah Rides! 

THE 5 best mountain bike trails in moab, utah

 5. Getaway

This trail segment at the Magnificent 7 trail system is the one where you want to queue up your playlist with all the songs that get you into that intense but relaxed mindset where you can just flow through the terrain. The trail isn’t easy. It’s probably in the moderate range of technical difficulty, but it’s got just the right amount of downhill pitch to keep you going with minimal pedaling while being just technical enough to keep you from gaining too much speed. The result is a trail that is both technically and physically engaging while also being in some way relaxing. 

4. Captain Ahab

I think you may have heard of this one. If you haven’t, you’ve got to check it out (https://vimeo.com/63329681). This trail is probably, at this point, the crowning jewel of new Moab trail building. Built by local riders to be unapologetically technical, it is the epitome of Moab’s version of “All Mountain” riding. With numerous mandatory drops and steep technical descents, often with little warning, this trail keeps you on your toes. And in between the heart pounding thrills are some great flowy descents. In addition, there are myriad side options for additional technical challenges (we’re talking large drops and trials style bike handling) that I’m still discovering after riding the trail for over a year.

 

 

 

3. Alaska

Much like its namesake, Alaska is the most northern trail at the most northern trail network, Klondike Bluffs. And like I mentioned previously, the trails you choose to get to, and return from this particular trail segment can make the overall ride an all day endurance “trail ride” or a fairly quick “all mountain” style romp. But the thing that really makes this trail shine (in addition to the amazing riding) is the location. It begins by winding its way along a ridge that overlooks Arches National Park’s Salt Valley and the sandstone fins beyond. Lets just say it’s spectacular. That’s not the end of the trail though; as you leave the ridge you begin to descend a sandstone ramp that boasts some of the best slickrock riding in Moab. Check it out: https://vimeo.com/98273317

2. Bull Run

Back we go to the Magnificent 7 trail system. This trail is considered to be the “top” of the trail system. It’s the trail that starts at the upper most parking area/trailhead and thus the trail most people will ride first at the area. And it doesn’t disappoint. It’s another “all mountain” style trail descending about 1000 feet over 4.7 miles. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s just a downhill cruise though; this trail is physical. You’ll be sweating as it makes you work to maintain your speed and to handle its many challenging slickrock obstacles. Luckily for your legs, this is another trail where you’ll probably want to stop on numerous occasions to ogle down at the beautiful Bull Canyon as you ride along (and sometimes eerily close to) its edge.

1. Upper Porcupine Singletrack(UPS)/Lower Porcupine Singletrack (LPS)

These two segments are what I consider the middle third of the Whole Enchilada, and I lump them together because, well, why would you ever ride just one of them? Then again, most people would make the similar argument, “why would you just ride UPS/LPS?” And, well, they’d be right, too. But we’re talking single trail segments here, not entire “rides”, ok?
The simple fact of the matter is that these two trail segments are probably two of the most epic trails in the country. You’re riding along the edge (the very  edge) of a 200-foot cliff looking down into Castle Valley, one of the most scenic valleys in all of canyon country, and did I mention the riding is amazing? You’ve got super-fun slickrock roller-coaster areas amongst open Ponderosa Pine forest, tight and fast swoopy turns in amongst the pinyon/juniper woodlands, and all with small to medium sized technical drops throughout. It just doesn’t get much better.

experience porcupine rim through video below:

So there you have it. In my humble opinion, five of the best trails Moab has to offer. Yet by no means the final say. You’ll just have to come and make up your own mind.

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Article by: By Joshua Doucette

Main image by Tyson Swasey