Moab, the Mountainbike Mecca

Climbing up HyMasa
Climbing up HyMasa

The Moab ride on top of my must-ride list had been the HyMasa/Captain Ahab.  For good reason as I know by now.  This ride is truly outstanding.  Mostly on slickrock, it is technically challenging with lots of drops and climbs up and down ledges, yet, it has great flow (if you can master the challenging spots).  Moreover, the scenery you ride in and you look upon is already breathtaking – and the climb will let you gasp for air even more.  Much alike The Whole Enchilada, Captain Ahab is one of the greatest rides anywhere.  Already, I am longing to do this ride again…



Captain Ahab leading the way through the rocks.
Captain Ahab leading the way through the rocks.

Still there are many more fun trails in Moab.  I enjoyed again some evening rides on Slickrock Trail and the Mag7 Trails that are in fact magnificent.  Bartlett Wash served again as great slickrock-playground and I am already looking forward to my next trip to Moab…

MTB-Park City



This time we took advantage of Park City’s skiing infrastructure and invested in a lift ticket with bike haul.   We tried the different downhill options and concluded that the Mojave-Trail definitely was our favorite run with several berms and rollers.  The biggest challenge however, brought an unmarked, rather vertical trail running right under the chairlift.  Somehow, our visit to Park City felt like a skiing trip…


Magnificent Flow on the Rocks – Moab

I wrote about our MAG 7 ride already in an earlier post (Moab – Mountain Bike Mecca), however, now I have put this video together that shows a bit more of the magnificent flow on these magnificent trails.

Going back up on Gemini Bridges Rd. after Bull Run brings you to the trailhead of the Getaway Trail which simply means extended fun and pleasure with “flow on the rocks” for all levels of riders.  The combination with the Moab Brands (Bar M) Trails makes it an epic but throughout pleasurable ride.



Crested Butte, Colorado


Crested Butte is a ski resort in fairly high altitude in the most beautiful alpine scenery.  And this is basically what the mountain biking there is about.

My feeling was that Crested Butte is not as MTB-affine as e.g. Park City.  Of the many different types of taxes and fees that were added to the room rate on our hotel bill not a lot could have gone into MTB-infrastructure.  There is a downhill park, but there is not really a coherent trail system or purpose built trails.

The classic ride is the 401 trail.  As a loop from Gothic Road, it starts with a climb in high altitude over 11000 ft/3400 m that makes it breathtaking before the views will cause the same again.

A favorite ride among locals is Doctor’s Park.  Ideally done as shuttle, it wasn’t an option for us travelling in one car.  A shuttle service did not exist, due to constraints of the local authorities (according to the website of a shuttle company that wasn’t in operation).

We finally did the Strand Hill Trail with moderate climbing and nice singletrack between birch trees and alpine meadows.  A typical Crested Butte ride, yet moderate in length and altitude.

Moab – The Whole Enchilada


Whole Enchilada is the most raved about MTB-ride in and outside of Moab. And as the name suggests, it has it all: high-altitude alpine riding, smooth slalom berms, slickrock, views, technical challenges, etc.  It can be ridden as an epic loop with a length of 61 miles/100 km and a total elevation gain of 8300 feet/2500 meters.

For some reason we chose the shuttle ride option (like almost everybody else) that saved us almost about 1800 meters of climbing and costed only 25$.   There is still a climbing part at the beginning up to Burro Pass that made us gasp and feel a bit dizzy due to the high altitude of 11.150 ft/3.400 m.

The trail from Burro Pass down is steep with some switchbacks and loose rocks, but all rideable.  As the vegetation changes from alpine firs to birch trees the trail gets faster.  In Hazzard County the trail is zippy and fun as it is winding through wide open plains.  The Kokopelli Trail which is more a road than a trail leads to UPS and LPS, the upper and lower Porcupine Singletrack.  This is the best section: the trail goes up and down slickrock with fast and flowy sections on packed sand surface.  Views are stunning as the trail runs along the Porcupine Rim.   At the intersection with the Sandflats Rd the Porcupine Rim Trail starts, a gnarly Jeep track that beats you up.  Hard to enjoy.  
Eventually, when you are well shaken, the Porcupine Rim Trail becomes a singletrack again.  This is where the fun comes back. The trail turns towards the Colorado River Gorge and comes up with some tricky technical challenges and spits you finally out at a parking lot at the river.  The paved bike path along the Colorado River brings you back into town with sore wrists from the hundreds of drops that you did on this 35 mile/55 km ride and a big, big smile on your face.

Moab – Mountain Bike Mecca


No doubt, Moab is the world’s most famous mountain bike spot.  The classic ride in Moab is the Slickrock Trail – an about 18 km long dotted line on pale red rock and still a unique experience.  The moderate total elevation gain and length may let the ride look easy, yet, it is a challenging ride, due to the many short, steep climbs.  Even if there are rides with more fun, flow or adrenaline in Moab, the Slickrock Trail is the one you just have to do.


The “Mag7” name’s origin comes from 7 magnificent trails in the upper area of Gemini Bridges Road.  And I fully agree that they are indeed magnificent.   This is the sort of Moab-ride you dream of:  views of Arches N.P. and other bizarre rock formations, tight turns, slickrock and red dirt, flow and fun.

Mag7 is best done as a shuttle ride starting from the upper end of the Gemini Bridges Rd.   Bull Run is the first Mag7 trail you hit.  After Bull Run you have the option to go back up the dirt road to do the Getaway Trail for extended fun and even more flow.  Continue on Arth’s and Cyn Trail to get either to the Gold Bar Rim Jeep Trail that climbs up again to the Portal Trail or take Gemini Bridges Rd to connect to the Moab Brand / Bar M trail system.  We decided for less climbing and exposure and did the nice and rather easy trails Lazy EZ, Rusty Spur and Sidewinder that brought us back in direction Moab.  A paved bike path brings you back to Moab.  Total length of the ride is about 50 km (30 miles).  One of the best rides anywhere!


Salt Lake City, Utah


There are not many large cities in which you can start a good, challenging trail ride in town.  Starting at the Popperton Park in the northwest of the city, you take the Bonneville Shoreline Trail that climbs up to the hills north of Salt Lake City.  Then the trail runs alongside the hills and offers great views.  In a turn to the left the Bobsled Trail turns off left down the hill in an old creek bed (and is easily missed).  The further you get down on Bobsled the better the flow and the bigger the berms.  In the lower part of Bobsled there are optional lines with jumps and drops that connect back to the trail.  Some of the jumps let you shoot in to the air over old, rusty cars, creeks or up a berm.  Serious fun.

Park City, Utah


Park City is a ski town, but in the summer it turns into a great spot for mountain biking.  There are more than 350 miles of trails for non-motorized use that want to be explored on fat tires.

I rode the IMBA Epic loop that combines various trails of Park City and neighbouring resorts.  It is over 26 miles (45 km) and you accumulate more than 3,600 feet (1250 m) of elevation gain.  Perhaps, my breakfast wasn’t big enough… my energy level was fairly low after the initial climb.  That climb after the start winds up through birch forests and lifts you up to an altitude of 3000 meters and makes your lungs and legs burn.   After the long climb you ride along the ridge with some ascents and descents until the downhill part of the ride starts.

As short ride before breakfast I went up the Spiro Trail and down the Crescent Mine Grade.  The ride was short (7 km), but fun, because the Crescent becomes a sort of giant slalom in the lower section.

Thunder Mountain Trail, Utah (nearby Bryce Canyon)


The Bryce Canyon Nation Park is spectacular.  On the close by Thunder Mountain Trail you ride through a similarly stunning landscape with red sandstone pillars and hoodoos.  When I was riding across the one of the ridges my senses just got overwhelmed by the views and the effort of keeping the balance on the exposed trail with wind gusts.

The trail is mostly smooth with packed sand and gravel surface and can be done as a loop or as out back.  As a loop it is best done in clockwise direction, so a part of the climb is on a paved bike path from the Red Rock Visitor Center and on a forest road that ends on the Coyote Hollow Parking Lot.  Because of the scenery, I recommend to ride the trail as out and back starting from the lower trailhead.  Thus, you can enjoy the stunning views from different angles and have fun on the downhill with some demanding steep switchbacks.  If you are in the Bryce Canyon area this trail is an absolute must.