Mountain-Biking-The-Bar-M-Loop

Mountain Biking in the Moab area

Some say the Moab has the greatest mountain biking trails on the planet and the choice is certainly wide – there is something for everyone, from the highly technical Slick Rock Bike Trail to an assortment of easy and extremely scenic biking trails such as the Bar-M Loop Trail.

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The Moab Brand Trails spell out MOAB – Bar M, Circle O, Rockin’A, and Bar B – courtesy of Discover Moab. There’s a quick glimpse of what slick rock looks like here (cjw513):

Moab does not only attract mountain bikers. There’s far more on offer than just this one extreme sport. You can also hike, climb, tour and river raft creating many possibilities for passionate adventurers.

But it’s mountain biking we are concentrating on today, so without any further procrastination let us continue…

Many people will recognise the name ‘The Slick Rock Bike Trail‘ as it is one of the nation’s superior mountain bike trails, but local riders know that it is but one of many great rides in the Canyon Country. However, it is rather a special one…

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There’s a practice loop of 2.2 miles which is recommended and then the main loop is  10.5 miles. It is extremely challenging, technically demanding and strenuous.  Physically and technically difficult.  This trail is located on a heavily eroded sandstone plateau between Moab Valley and the Colorado River in the Sand Flats Recreation Area. It crosses steep side slopes and traverses narrow ledges. The routes of both the main trail and the practice loop are indicated by painted white dashes. Trail intersections are also painted on the rock. Short sections of sand provide a change from the rock. There are tough spots that may, for some, require walking bikes.

This route was originally designed for motorbikes and is still shared with them.

Not to be forgotten on this ride, in fact – not to be forgotten on ANY ride in the Moab is the scenery. Each route and everywhere you look has stunning views.

Moving on to the Moab Brand Trails, we start with The Bar-M Loop.

This loop is 7.9 miles long and can be shortened. It’s a nice easy family day out on dirt roads with rocky sections and is shared with motorized vehicles.

The Circle-O Trail is more difficult and just 3 miles long. It is mainly on sliprock with many dips and turns. It connects to another trail – the Rockin’A.

Rockin’A is again on sliprock and only 1.5 miles long. It’s a fun bumpy trail with several quick turns designed to catch you out. Rockin’A is across from Bar-B and connects to Circle-O.

Bar-B is again a difficult ride, 2.5 miles long. It goes over hills and across valleys on slick rock and dirt roads.

And finally there’s Killer-B – only 1 mile long, but very very hard. What it loses in length it makes up for in its adrenaline charged challenge. You will find slickrock, cliff edges, loose soil,tight turns and steps here. Bikes must be walked or carried on portions of the trail.  Novice riders should test their riding skill and stamina on the practice loop prior to attempting the main route and be certain that your brakes are in good working condition!

Monitor and Merrimac Trail is 13.2 miles long on a dirt road, across desert, slick rock and a wash which is nearly always rideable although for much of the route it has a small flow of water near the surface. This is a great route for novices to come to terms with slickrock. Dinosaur fossils may be seen just off this route, but please do not take your bikes beyond the trailhead to the fossils. Do not mistake the bike route here for the jeep route otherwise you will find yourself knee deep in beach sand and thoroughly miserable!

Baby Steps. Now that sounds nice and easy doesn’t it? But don’t be fooled. It is the quintessential desert ride with all types of terrain and is about 20 miles long. The first two single track sections were specifically designed for mountain bikes and offer some fun, semi-technical riding that will challenge any rider. The last single track section back to the valley floor is one of the most fun downhills you’ll find anywhere. Allow 3 hours to finish this loop.

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Moving on from Baby Steps is Klondike Bluffs (same map) – a moderately difficult ride with varied terrain and exciting downhills and 9.5 miles out and back. Although some sections are physically challenging it fits comfortably between easy and moderate. Keep your eyes open for the dinosaur tracks here.

Sovereign Singletrack is another technically challenging and difficult 16 mile point to point route. The single track climbs and descends ridges of the Morrison Formation; rocky, technical sections are broken up by smooth and flowing trails. You can expect to encounter motorcycles on this route.

The 13.5 mile Gemini Bridges Trail is of moderate difficulty and nearly all downhill. A plus I should imagine, at the end of a long hard day! The Gemini Bridges are a pair of natural rock spans with stunning views and colourful rock formations.

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I am going to finish with the Hurrah Pass Trail, although I will have by no means documented all the trails in Moab. This trail is a good 33 miles round trip from Moab and you can see the exact location of this trail on the map above – again with thanks to Discover Moab.

My information has been gleaned from various websites though I think ultimately comes from elected trail information courtesy of Colin Maher/Trail Mix Committee – and has been disseminated through the web in various forms.

It is an area which is obviously well worth visiting for mountain bikers looking for an energetic, adrenaline filled weekend not to mention an extreme one. and here’s another small taste of what slick rock is like, with thanks to lumite

We would, however, like to draw your attention to the extremely fragile eco-system that abounds here and ask all bikers to please be considerate to the environment. Stick to the trails and leave nothing behind but your tyre marks!

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