Mountain Biking in Moab, Utah

Each mountain biker worth their salt will need to try the Slick Rock Trail, found in Moab, Utah - one of the toughest mountain biking trails in the world. Each sport has its "ultimate" challenge. Golfing has the Augusta Countrywide - host of the Pros contest, Tennis has the grass courts of Wimbledon, automobile racing has the Daytona World Speedway, home of the Daytona 500. Mountain Biking has the Slickrock Bike Trail in Moab, Utah. The Slickrock Bike Trail is a 9.6 mile trail which most gurus believe to be "the final mountain biking experience." There's lots of "easy and scenic" bike trails also but for the final ride, Slickrock is it. Moab is found in eastern Utah, about 230 miles east of Salt Lake Town , or 350 miles west of Denver, Colorado.

The origin of the name of Moab for this once small city ( incorporated in 1902 ) are misleading, but now the name is classic for great mountain biking. Moab is not a giant city - only about five thousand folk live there, but they get masses of tourist traffic - so much so that you will find over 30 hostels and motels, 10 bed and breakfasts, 2 resorts, twenty-six guest homes, and 15 privately held campgrounds. There are over twelve public campgrounds in the nation's parks nearby.

Holiday makers don't simply come for the mountain biking, of course. There's off-road jeep trails, hiking, camping, and motorcycling...there's even the Mill Ravine Dinosaur Trail, on which you can walk and see traces of dinosaur bones of a range of species. The very first thing any visitor to Moab should do is visit their Visitor's Center, that may have leaflets for each activity under the sun, trail maps and more. If you are new to Moab you don't need to go anywhere without a variety of trailmaps, and you shouldn't go anywhere without letting somebody know where you are going and when you intend to be back. Better still, always hike or bike with a chum who will help you out in the event of difficulty.

If you are a newb, there are lots of tour operators - mountain biking, white brook rafting, skydiving - who can take you to the right places and guarantee you've a good time. As you ride down on your cycle you'll see others littering or misbehaving, and question why you are meant to have the "least possible impact" on their environment...but that is just the way things are. Be in charge of your own private "footprint", even if you can not control what folks do. Moab biking trails consist of what's called "Slick Rock." I will get to that in a bit. For the moment, here's the list of good practices.

1 - Ride only on open roads and trails

2 - learn how to recognize and preserve cryptobiotic soil crusts. Okay - that is going to be tough. Wait till you get to Moab and then have somebody point them out to you.

3 - Avoid skidding your tires four ) When it's wet, avoid clay- like surfaces.

4 - Stay on the rocky, slickrock or sandy areas

5 - Don't ride down the sides of streams

6 - Don't pollute the water resources.

Off-road bike Trails - Over 100,000 people a year ride on the Slick Rock Trail - so named because its a trail of "naked" sandstone - stone that will keep hold of your bike's tires at "gravity defying angles." The trail is rated a "Class 4" - four being the toughest class.

The trail is 12 miles long, and if you were not focussing on the ground in front of you you'd see that it crosses a raised platform of sandstone trapped by cliffs ; cut by the Colorado River over millions of years. You are going to be able to view ravines, see Arches Countrywide Park across the stream, and the La Sal Mountains on the eastern skyline. The trail is a 12-mile long loop ( if you do not take any side trips ) and will take at least 4 hours. Ensure you bring plenty of additional water with you. You can bike on the trail from mid-February through Nov , but naturally is preferred thru spring and fall.

The trail is in the Sand Terraces Recreation Area, and there's a little fee enter. The charge pays for the upkeep of the whole area.

The Porcupine Edge Trail - also found in the Sand Residences Recreation Area, is also rated a Class four. This is an one way trail and takes about half-a-day to ride. if your folks are full of both talented mountain bikers and noobs, don't give up hope. There's lots of other easy mountain biking trails in this stunning area.- like the Bar M Loop.