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Adventure, Cycle, Travel / November 6, 2016

4 beginner-friendly rides in Moab

Written by: Jan Bennett

Moab, Utah is known as a mountain bike Mecca. That’s due largely to the Slickrock Trail: a highly technical classic that tours some of the coolest terrain in the Southwest.

But Moab isn’t just for expert riders. The area is home to almost 100 lesser-known easy and intermediate trails. I’ve ridden more than a few of these, so I can recommend some great spots for those rides who aren’t exactly looking to enter the next World Cup race.

Dead Horse State Park


A short drive North out of Moab will take you to Dead Horse Point State Park, which houses more than 16 miles of moderate trail.

Stay to the west of Highway 313 for an easy, flat, all-ages ride with stunning views. Then, if you’re up to it, cross the highway for more technical riding. Be sure to bring a camera for the views of nearby Canyonlands National Park.

One of the great perks here is that the state park’s visitor center is located in the same parking lot as the trailhead. Facilities and water are available during normal operating hours, providing options for family members who might otherwise stay back in town.

Navajo Rocks Trail System

Many of the trails in Navajo Rocks are technical, but most remain accessible to intermediate riders.

Parts of the Ramblin' Trail skirt steep cliffs.

While driving to Dead Horse State Park, you will pass Navajo Rocks trail system. This 18 mile long trail system is more technical is more technical—the hits are a bit harder and the drops a bit rougher.

The system is best run in a figure-eight pattern. From the parking area, cross Highway 313 on Middle Earth, then swing right onto Coney Islands. Follow that up with Big Lonely and Big Mesa, which provides for a fun little downhill jaunt.

Top off your water at the trailhead before heading back out on Middle Earth. Take a left at Coney Islands this time, head to Rocky Tops, and finish with Ramblin’. On this trail, keep an eye out for a section of slickrock that seems to fall off into the abyss.

Horsethief Trail System

The seven-mile Getaway Trail is a fast, flowy ride that all riders can enjoy.

Bring a camera for the formations of Gemini Bridges.

Between Dead Horse and the Navajo Rocks, there’s a turn out for the newly created Horsethief trail system. This system boasts a few areas that might catch on overly ambitious rider off guard, but most trails are fun and flowing.

For an insanely fun seven-mile downhill, take the nearby Getaway Trail. This trail is not to be missed, and doesn’t require a downhill bike. Take it all the way to the bottom, and you’ll arrive at the Gemini Bridges landmark. From here, take a gravel road or the Bull Run Trail back up.

Some prefer to run the more technical Bull Run downhill, then take the easier climb up Getaway. I personally think Getaway is too much fun to pass up.

Moab Brands Trail System

The Moab Brands trail system offers wide, easy trails as well as technical descents.

Many trails in Moab Brands are old jeep roads, making them wide enough for two-way traffic.

Head north out of town on Highway 191 for about eight miles, and you’ll find the 30-mile Moab Brands trail system. This system has something for everyone, from doubletrack jeep trails to technical descents.

For a moderate ride, start out of the parking area on the easy Pipeline Trail. Then take EZ back north to the North 40 and Maverick. As with many trails in Moab, bi-directional traffic is a possibility.

Moab has unique topography, which demands a particular sort of bike. My pick would be a 120mm full-squish trail bike with 2.25”-2.5” moderately aggressive tread tires. Bike rentals are plentiful in town, so consider leaving your own bike at home.

about the author

Jan Bennett

An adventure seeker at her core, Jan Bennett has always been drawn to the outdoors and being active. Completing three different wilderness expeditions before graduating high school, Jan has always been at home in the wilderness. Even though she has a degree in Technology Management and a minor in Business, Jan took the leap and left corporate America in 2015 in order to persue her cycling passions. On any given day, you can find Jan in Dallas, Texas preparing her mind and body for the next outdoor adventure.

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