Moab for intermediate riders

May 5, 2004
Outside Magazine
Week of October 3-9, 1996
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Moab for intermediate riders
Question: I'm going to Moab in mid-October. What are the less-populated bike trails for an intermediate?

Kevin Chappell
Louisville, CO
[email protected]

Mountain biking along the Colorado River is less slick than Slickrock.
Adventure Adviser: Gemini Bridges, Amasa Back, Hurrah Pass. These are the places for Moab's middle-of-the-road mountain bikers anxious to avoid the skinned-knee, bashed-helmet hazards of more crowd-intensive trails. Granted, none will give you the 100 percent pure friction fun of the famous Slickrock Trail. They have short screaming sections of slickrock but are mostly hardpack crushed gravel and rock, with some stretches of loose red clay and sand.

Gemini Bridges, a 14-mile loop, probably has the longest stretches of slickrock. If you have two cars, park the first one just off U.S. 191, about 9.5 miles north of Moab, and drive the second one north for a mile to a left turn onto Utah 313 toward Dead Horse Point State Park. From here, you'll follow a generally circular route along the main gravel road, to a short spur trail that will take you to the twin bridges themselves, and on to your shuttle car at U.S. 191. Because the trail diverges at several points into a maze of small, primitive paths, you'll want to pick up a topo map of the ride from Rim Cyclery (801-259-5333) before heading out. If you only have one car, start the ride at either end and simply retrace your path back to the trailhead when you're ready to stop.

For a longer ride, try the 29-mile out-and-back spin through the Colorado River and Kane Creek canyons to Hurrah Pass. Start at the south end of Moab, at the junction of U.S. 191 and Kane Creek Boulevard and pedal northwest on Kane Creek to Kane Creek Road, at which point you'll start to parallel the Colorado. After about five miles, you'll leave the pavement and enter Kane Springs Canyon for another 10 miles of grinding past cottonwoods and sheer cliffs to your turnaround at Hurrah Pass. Follow the same route back.

If you opt for the 20-mile Amasa Back loop, you'll take Kane Creek Road about a mile and a half out from town to a right-hand turn onto an old jeep road. Again, you'll be best off picking up a map before trying to negotiate this moderately challenging ride.

For more details on these and other rides, pick up a copy of Todd Campbell's Above and Beyond Slickrock before heading out. As always, bring plenty of water and a well-stocked repair kit, and a clue about fat-tire etiquette--while not overrun, these trails do get their fair share of mountain bikers.

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