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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
[driving from Madison, spending two days riding in Fruita]
There maybe time for some other rides here and there, but I'm trying to narrow down the "must do" trails.

Day 1 Moab:Drive from Fruita to Moab. Maybe one ride (Monitor/Merricmac), camp BLM Sand flats

Day 2 Moab: Bike Moab, camp
• Slickrock trail: 12 miles, 2.5 hours, advanced -morning
• Klondike bluffs: 14 miles , 2.5 hours, intermediate- afternoon

Day 3 Moab: Short bike early then a hike? Or if legs need more rest – hike/explore all day, camp for the night
• Gemini bridges: 13 miles, 1.7 hours (shuttle)

Day 4 Moab: Bike all day, hotel for the night (leave the next morning for home)
• Porcupine Rim, one way (shuttle): 15 miles, 3.5 hours, advanced-morning
• Amasa Back trail: 11 miles, 2.45 minutes, advanced-afternoon

I'm getting so excited.
 

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I'd make sure to get Captain Ahab in there. It can be accessed via Hymasa back or Amasa back. If you're rushed for time, take the midpoint down, that's the best part anyways.

I'm not a huge Slickrock fan, but it's worth a go. I'd replace that first if you need to.

The Fruita 18 road trails are some of the best I've ever ridden.

Go Badgers!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the tip, I'm adding in Captain Ahab. Everyone always says to ride Slickrock....why aren't you a fan? (just curious)

And I love 18 road trails, too. So fun.

Go Badgers is right! Tight game, so close--could have gone either way.
 

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Thanks for the tip, I'm adding in Captain Ahab. Everyone always says to ride Slickrock....why aren't you a fan? (just curious)

And I love 18 road trails, too. So fun.

Go Badgers is right! Tight game, so close--could have gone either way.
Agree with bailing on slickrock. Would also get up to ups or hazard if shuttles in addition to porc

Blue dot, green dot, portal would be way more fun than slick rock, Klondike

Gemini bridges is a yawn.
 

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Come on, he can't come all the way out here and not ride Slickrock. Porcupine from as high up as you can shuttle is a must do. It's a half day affair. Park a car near Negroe Bill Canyon, otherwise you get to ride back to town on or by the road. Hymasa/Amasa/Ahab, is another must ride. Last year we went up Amasa, down Ahab, back up toward Pothole and down Rockstacker and Jackson. Avoid Rockstacker unless you are seriously adept, or you'll be walking. I thought Jackson was fun, though. Monitor and Merrimac...I'd pass and go to the MOAB brand trails and wander around a bit exploring. I really like Sovereign a lot as well and Klondike (Baby Steps, EKG, Megasteps, etc.) is a great place to just wander without anything too intense.
More info: Utah Mountain Bike Trail Index Page Everyone has different trails they like. You'll just have to come back to ride them all!
 

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Monitor/Merrimac is nice only because the Slickrock at the towers is good. But you are going to get that experience AT Slickrock anyways. M&M is also too sandy for my liking.

IMO he has to do Slickrock, that's what Moab is known for. It's also good to know what it's like so that you can compare the different Moab trails, there are a lot of great ones, and there are more and more every year.

You are making me want to go back NOW!!!
 

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I also just remembered. Several years ago I rode M&M in May, and there is one section of trail for about 1.5mi that runs next to a creek. My group were actually feasted on by Horse Flies in this area. I mean, feasted as in no $)#*&)#&* joke. We all rode out of there with 50 bleeding bites per man MINIMUM. Legs, arms, neck, back, anything exposed was bloody.

If I hadn't experienced it I would not have believed it, it was brutal. I'm not sure if that was a freak thing or if it's a seasonal risk, but it was no joke.
 

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I also just remembered. Several years ago I rode M&M in May, and there is one section of trail for about 1.5mi that runs next to a creek. My group were actually feasted on by Horse Flies in this area. I mean, feasted as in no $)#*&)#&* joke. We all rode out of there with 50 bleeding bites per man MINIMUM. Legs, arms, neck, back, anything exposed was bloody.

If I hadn't experienced it I would not have believed it, it was brutal. I'm not sure if that was a freak thing or if it's a seasonal risk, but it was no joke.
Timing is everything!
 

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I don't care for slickrock because I ride a 1x10 with a 36t chainring, and the trail is very steep consecutive ups and downs. It's a cool trail where cleaning a 45 degree climb is possible and surprising, and still a must-do, but I prefer other trails.
 

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I'd do it this way:

Day 1-arrive. Ride Klondike Bluffs trail network on your way in to town. KB is north of town. Park at the northern trail head on the way in to Moab and ride as long as you like. Go to town and find a campsite. Sand Flats can be very busy on weekends so consider Kane Creek as well for camping.

Day 2-assuming you are either camping at Sand Flats or along Kane Creek Rd. Sand Flats gives easy access to Slickrock and KC gives easy access to the Amasa trails.
-Ride some combination of Hymasa/Amasa/Ahab. There's more climbing than you'd think up there and the overall "tech" difficulty is a good bump up from most of Fruita.
-Then, go ride all or some portion of Slickrock. Slickrock will feel like interval training. Depending on your fitness level it may be the longest 10-12 miles of your life. It's technically not too difficult, but there are many short steep climbs that take a toll. You can ride as far as you like-do the loop or do an out and back.

It's easy to ride between Amasa and Slickrock, so camping in either location to hit both is no problem. It's a short drive or moderate pedal to connect the trail heads.

Day 3- Get up, break camp, drive in to town and park. Get on the 2nd shuttle of the day(10:30?) for whatever variant of Porcupine is running. I rode Lower Koko/UPS/LPS/Porc several times 2 weeks ago. Snow knocked it back to LPS this week, but Lower Koko shuttle drop should be back in action soon. This will be the best "long" ride in Moab for the majority of riders in my opinion-scenery, speed, terrain, trail variety, overall level of tech difficulty. Go fast or go slow. Pack a lunch and stop at a viewpoint or just concentrate on the trail. Doesn't matter, it can be a great ride no matter how you approach it. Minimal climbing but a lot of moderate descending. You'll be pedaling a lot and your suspension will get a workout. Figure a 5 to 6hr total investment of time for most first time riders including shuttle time and pedal back to vehicle/town.

Hotel that night. You should be able to check in immediately after finishing Porcupine.

Day 4-feeling good enough to ride? Great, go do some variant of MAG 7 and the Moab Brand Trails. Shuttle service to MAG will meet you at the Moab Brand Trails parking lot. Drop a vehicle there. Ride Mag whatever(lots of options), slog out the Gemini Bridges road, and end up at the Moab Brands. Ride Brand loops or not. Done riding or didn't feel like riding today? Go for a hike in Arches NP and return to your hotel in Moab.
 

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I'd do it this way:
This is a really good way to do it as well. I prefer starting Slickrock by riding the practice loop (adds about a mile) and then doing the main loop clockwise. If you go to Arches there's a really cool hike into "Fiery Furnace" a natural labyrinth of narrow passages between towering sandstone walls where it's easy to get turned around and GPS doesn't work. There are guided tours or you can go out on your own once you've sat through a brief from the Park folks.
 

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I'd do it this way:
I second this plan as well. I've always liked camping at Sand Flats as you are able to warm up or wind down on the Slick Rock trail. Slick Rock is a great trail to help you get used to riding the terrain in Moab and is a must do at least once. But after riding Amasa Back/Captain Ahab, and Porcupine Rim, Slick Rock isn't high on my list of trails to do anymore. When you do ride Slick Rock and are planning on doing the whole trail, I would do it as the last ride of the day and not the first. I'd personally skip Gemini Bridges, and ride other trails. Then as mentioned I would check out Arches and spend some time there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I'd do it this way:
Wow! Ok, this is super helpful. Also...just for the record on some of the posts - I'm a girl :) Slickrock stays. Gemini is out. MAG 7 and the Moab Brand Trails in (depending on if my legs hold out). Skip M&M. Sigh, too many trails, not enough days! We're hoping to move to CO next year so at least we'll be closer than a 22 hour drive!

One question Clydesdale - why hotel after porcupine instead of camping one more night (but as I say this I remember getting really tired of the tent after 4 nights at Fruita last year (but that was in 100 degree heat).
 

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Hotel or camp-entirely up to you.
Why would I recommend a hotel?
If the budget allows, it's a rare person that wouldn't find a hotel to be the best $80-$100 they've ever spent after Amasa/Ahab + Slickrock + Porcupine.
After those rides, I find it takes a few showers to scrub the red dirt out of every pore/orifice.
I also find that combination of rides really heightens my appreciation of 100 thread count sheets, cable TV, wall mount AC units, no name shampoo, and hand soap. The in room coffee is a bonus.
Your tastes, needs, and overall fortitude may differ though.
My favorite decent "cheap" Moab hotels are the Redstone and the Virginian. You can usually get both places for under $100 if you plan ahead.
If you choose to camp, showers can be had at several places in town. Poison Spider keeps their showers clean. You can often rinse your bike off there as well.
Or, if you want to go full dirtbag, you can rinse your bike and yourself at the hose in the La Quinta parking lot. It's fantastic, don't count it out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Solid points. You pretty much just convinced me to do that. We'll have already spent 4 nights camping between Fruita and Moab...probably will be ready it...and need it!
 

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Every one of the rides on your original list, with the exception of Slickrock, has undergone major revision (to the tune of massive addition of singletrack) over the past 5 years. Your list reads more like the 1998 Moab itinerary than the 2014 Moab itinerary, and it can be hard to differentiate the two (and discern properly "current" advice) for someone who has never been here.

That said, I think there is pretty uniform opinion about what constitute the Big 4 Moab Must Rides, assuming some technical tolerance and love of long rides. They are:

(1) A Porcupine Shuttle, from as high up as possible. This is called The Whole Enchilada when in summertime and early fall you can start way up high. These are essentially a series of trails that start at progressively higher levels above Porcupine. The shuttles will usually be depositing riders on the highest option open for the particular time of year.

(2) A Mag 7 Shuttle, either the "heavy" version all the way across Gold Bar and down the Portal (for the all day tech fest types), or the "light" version bailing on the Gemini road and finishing instead with Brands Trails variations and the spin down the paved bike path back to town. Either way begins with the fun and fairly benign Upper Mag 7 Trails that are the "contemporary" version of what used to be ridden as "Gemini Bridges".

(3) An Amasa Back Ride. The easiest and most popular loop now is Hymasa to Ahab. The popularity is well justified.

(4) A pure rock ride, either an afternoon quickie on Bartlett Wash (Entrada Sandstone) or a quick portion of Slickrock Trail (Navajo Sandstone). At Slickrock , I usually recommend riding just to the Harder / Easier junction 2.5 miles in (and back). This way, you get the idea of iconic pure rock riding and can decide if this is your thing (it's really not for most people). And, you don't sacrifice an entire day you could be doing one of the other biggies (which most people prefer) just for the "experience".

Hope this helps.

Also, skip M&M. Not worth the sand.

hfly
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Ok new itin, one final question. We'll get to Moab early and I think we'll have time for more than Klondike Bluffs. So we'll ride, set up camp, and probably be able to fit in another ride. Which one might be best to scoot in if we camp at Sands or Kane? Check out Slickrock? That might make for room to get Mag in on day 2?

I NEED MORE DAYS! :)

(Day 1 in Moab) Ride Klondike Bluffs trail network on the way into town. Park at the northern trail head on the way in to Moab. Sand flats or Kane creek for camping (Monday night so hopefully won’t be an issue).

May 13: (Day 2 in Moab) Ride a combination of Hymasa/Amasa/Ahab. Then ride all or a portion of Slickrock-ride just to the Harder / Easier junction 2.5 miles in (and back). Camp again.--Notes: Hymasa/Amasa/Ahab, is another must ride. Last year we went up Amasa, down Ahab, back up toward Pothole and down Rockstacker and Jackson. Avoid Rockstacker unless you are seriously adept, or you'll be walking. I thought Jackson was fun, though.

(Day 3 in Moab) Grab a shuttle up Porcupine as high as it will go (pack a lunch). Super 8 hotel booked.

(Day 4 in Moab) Possible rides for this day or alternatives/extras for other days. Super 8 hotel booked.
--Mag 7 Shuttle-- either the "heavy" version all the way across Gold Bar and down the Portal (for the all day tech fest types), or the "light" version bailing on the Gemini road and finishing instead with Brands Trails variations and the spin down the paved bike path back to town.
--Bartlett Wash
OR – Arches hike, Dead horse sunset…something.
 

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If you camp at Kane Creek, do a loop on Hymasa/Ahab. You can do the short loop in an hour +/- from the parking area. Bigger loop including Upper Ahab would likely be 1.5-2hrs.

If you camp at Sand Flats, go check out Slick Rock.

There are also many other ride options north of town between Klondike and the Brand Trails.
You could check out Sovereign and/or Klonzo if you want to do another ride on your way in to town before finding a campsite.

Trail Mix
Klonzo Trails

Here's more up to date trail info on Moab:

Moab Area Trails
 

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I like the fact that you don't have two epic rides on the same day anymore. You'll feel all the miles there, as well as the heat (this weeks highs are upper 70s and it's still early April, by mid May it can be pretty warm). I think shorter and/or flexible rides make the perfect second ride of the day, and I'm partial to doing a big ride first, then laying out of the midday heat, eating an early dinner, relaxing, then doing a second ride in the early evening.

Some good short and flexible rides are;

-- The practice loop at the Slickrock trail. It's right at the trailhead and you can combine it with an out and back of the regular Slickrock trail, going as far as you feel like. Might be great for your first day because you may want to try and nab a campspot up the Sand Flats road reasonably early in which case you'll be right there. All the camps up Sand Flats are easy riding distance from the Slickrock TH.

-- Pipe Dream. On the south edge of town. 4.8 miles one way or 8 total round trip. Easiest loop is made by parking at the southern Trailhead, riding the trail back towards town and then either riding the Jeep road (which you will be looking at in the flats the whole ride north) or jumping on hwy 191 and running the asphalt back to your car, or riding the trail back uphill. Fun techy sidehill stuff.

-- Bar M trails. Only 9 miles north of town. Lots of nested loops so you can choose your own adventure and mileage. The jeep roads are strictly for kids and connecting the real trails but the singletracks are great warm down fun. Slickrock may have been the most popular spot in town when nothing else was there except 4wd roads but for my money Circle O has the best slickrock playground that side of Bartletts. You can wander around all you want out there. And North 40, Rockin' A, Deadmans Ridge will keep you entertained for hours.

--My favorite overlooked second ride trail is 7Up. It starts at the Mag 7 Trailhead (park on the highway and ride the first 1.5 miles to the T.H. its all downhill coasting) and is 9.5 miles, but there's enough elevation loss that it feels shorter. The tough thing for you is that you need to shuttle a car (it ends on the same highway, 313, that it starts on) or double your mileage.

Here's a couple other hints nobody has mentioned yet. There's a very nice pool in town, and since school isn't out yet it won't be overrun with kids. Google it up and take a look. Take a suit and a towel, use their showers, and lounge the heat of the afternoon away.

A very nice campground with lots of shade trees and showers is the Pack Creek Campground and RV Park. It costs more than the Sand Flats but shade is your friend and you can reserve in advance so you don't have to worry about all the first come first served spots being full.

Are you planning on jumping on I-70 and blazing east when you leave Moab? If so, here's a sweet alternative. Head SE to Cortez, Co, about two hours from Moab and ride Phil's World instead. Hours of swoopy fun. You will be very happy you did. Then head on east over to Pagosa Springs and find a motel for the night. The can't miss spot in Pagosa is the Overlook Hot Springs. It's in a Victorian Building in town, and has hot springs inside and on the roof (yup). You can't stay there but they are open late and it's only about $10/person. It's really not far out of your way to drive across the more southern route thru CO.

Good luck, have lots of fun.
 
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