An absolute mountain bike mecca - make your pilgrimage now! That slickrock is just so grippy, I wore a Panaracer Magic tyre out in just a few days of riding here! I liked the slickrock trail, its weird how you get so much grip, but once you've sus that you JUST CAN'T SLIP! then you ride up and down anything. Technically I prefer singletrack, see Winter Park. Make sure you take plenty of water, this is the hardest 9mile ride you'll ever do!
Monitor and Merimac was also a good route - although a little short, but a nice relaxing way to get into slickrock riding!
I also liked the Gold Bar Rim Trail, a good mix of slickrock and sandy tracks. I would have liked to do more of the real technical stuff, but we didn't have time.
Nightlife is fairly good as it's a stopping off point for coach tours. The Texmex places are best, and a couple are microbreweries too - the only way to a good beer in the US!
If you're in the area don't forget to do the National Parks, Arches and better, Canyonlands. We hired a Jeep and drove part of the White Rim Trail and got up to Dead Horse Point - Fantastic!
Slickrock Bike Trail
The slickrock bike track is world famous and rightly so. This is not an easy route and don't be fooled by it's apparent short length - it's a technical and physical challenge. See the map below for route. If you fancy more, you can always try some of the spur rides.
The 10mile long slickrock bike trail is way marked with daubs of white paint on the rock and was created for off road motorcyclists in 1969. The whole route is extremely challenging, I don't think I've ridden such a long way on the granny ring without gaining any altitude before!
The start is up the Sand Flats Road, and you have to pay if your gonna drive up (recommended as Slickrock is hilly enough in the heat without the big climb up to the start!). Park in the car park with the smelliest toilets in the world!
I strongly recommend you tackle the practice loop first as this will be enough to scare off the less technically gifted of you! At the end of the practice loop cut off and enjoy the sensation that is slickrock riding.
What nobody ever tells you is that the route isn't completely slickrock, but there are some sections of soft sand, some is very deep and soft and you may have to push! If your technique's not up to much you may find you have to push up some of the hills too, and even down some! (Polish halo time: I rode all the hills and descents without dabbing!)
What ever you do don't fall off as it is bound to hurt! Slickrock is as grippy as sandpaper and as hard as concrete!
Monitor and Merimac Trail
Taken from Moab website:
Beginning Point: Drive north on U.S. 191 for approximately 15 miles then turn left onto a dirt road just north of highway marker 141, cross the tracks and follow the dirt road for 0.6 mile to an intersection which is the starting and ending point of this loop ride.
Length: 13.2 miles
Type of Ride: 4-wheel drive trail, wash bottom, and slickrock; loop ride.
Area Attractions: Close view of the Monitor and Merimac buttes, Determination Towers, and the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail.
Route Description: From the parking area, take the right fork. The first part of the ride is through open desert. The road goes past a large powerline and crosses a large wash 2.2 miles from the parking area.
The route goes left up the wash into the Tusher Canyon drainage. (Do not follow the road which goes up a short hill). This wash is ridable, as it almost always has a small flow of water near its surface for much of the route. After 0.6 miles, a road climbs out of the wash to the right. Continue up the wash for another 1.2 miles. From this point, follow a left branch of the wash up through a gap in the large wall dividing the Tusher and Mill canyon drainages. Determination Towers are visible through the gap. At the gap, you will find a gate. Leave it open or closed as you find it. Follow the 4-wheel drive road towards the towers. Just past the towers, ride up onto the slickrock and head toward the towers. Cross the large flat slickrock area on the eastern side of the towers and follow another 4-wheel drive trail that heads up toward Monitor and Merrimac buttes. It is 1.2 miles from the towers to the base of Merrimac Butte. There are several sections of sand along this portion of the route. At an intersection near Merrimac Butte, go left for 0.7 mile to a five-way intersection. Take the 45 degree right fork that goes between Monitor and Merrimac buttes. Most of this trail is over slickrock. You will have a good view of the Seven Mile Canyon area, south of the buttes, from a large slickrock "platform" located between the buttes. To continue the ride, retrace your route back to the five-way intersection and take the road that heads directly down into Mill Canyon. Go past the Determination Towers and enter Mill Canyon. At the lower end of the canyon pass through a gate, leaving it open or closed as you find it. About 0.2 mile from the gate, a spur road will take you to the start of the Mill Canyon Dinosaur Trail. Many dinosaur fossils may be seen along this nature trail. Please leave your bike at the trailhead. From the dinosaur trail, follow the road north to your vehicle.
Big Bend, Canyonlands
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