It’s been over 8 years since our last riding trip to Moab, Utah. Long seen as one of mountain biking’s epic destinations, locations like Whistler and Sedona have been taking precedence the last few years, with more and better singletrack options. Though Moab is known for its beautiful settings and challenging terrain, there really wasn’t a lot of single track to ride, with most trails being repurposed multi-use jeep routes.
We’ve been hearing about new trail construction in the area for a while so this year we changed this year’s road trip destination from Sedona to check out the new Moab experience, and the all-new trail systems that have been constructed.
But first, we made a stop in St. George to log some desert miles and get acclimated to the dry dessert riding terrain on an old favorite, the Zen Trail. (check out our post on riding the Zen Trail here)
One of the things we’ve liked about the riding in Hurricane and St. George is it’s been easy to find a place to stay for the night. Unfortunately, that looks like it may have changed. Our favorite zone now had signage in a number of areas with new restrictions on overnight stays. During our last visit we saw RVs and tents scattered throughout the area; this time we mostly saw no camping signs and had to hunt to find an area that didn’t have restrictions posted.
Fortunately, we know enough Utah locals that we should be able to get some local knowledge to find alternatives for next time, but this appeared to be a trend on this trip.
Moab Brands Trail System
After waking up and making some coffee, we got back on the road to Moab. Our first stop: the Moab Brands Trail System. A full network of purpose-built, mountain bike optimized single track trails, Moab Brands is located just off the highway on the road into town, making it an easy first stop, and our first chance to ride the all-new Moab experience.
With the Moab Brands system, it’s clear there was an emphasis on creating trails that cater to a wider range of trail users. Many trails are less technical and there is a lot of signage making it easy to navigate. The easy accessibility off the road makes it convenient for new riders to sample Moab mountain biking, and its very family friendly.
One thing I thought was cool was the option to pedal to the trails from town. There’s a paved multi-use path that parallels the highway, making it easy for riders looking to a dedicated XC experience to leave their car behind and go for a big pedal.
It’s not why I personally travel to Moab, but these improvements should aid with trails tourism and growing the sport, which means more trails for all, and that’s definitely a good thing.
Starting on Lazy EZ, we continued to onto Deadman’s Ridge for a bit before connecting to Rockin’ A. From there we ended up back on Bar M, connecting to the North 40 and ending on Maverick. It was a nice route that gave us a sampling with a bit of everything.
We enjoyed some sections more than others, but it’s all relatively short. You’re never really far from the highway and with a wide range of loop options, you can easily put a ride together based on how much time you want to spend on the bike.
Amasa Back & the Captain Ahab Trail
After our ride, we headed to the local hostel to get showered up before finding a place to eat and sleep. The next morning, we were off to ride our main destination: Amasa Back and the Captain Ahab Trail.
The last time we rode Amasa Back, it primarily consisted of a jeep road climb. Pedaling in from town, we did the ride as a large loop, climbing Amasa Road and ending on Jackson’s Trail.
This time we rode the new route, using Amasa Road to climb up HyMasa, a new singletrack climb. For the most part, it parallels Amasa Road. As it was jeep week, being able to avoid the jeep road climb was a relief.
Finally, we made it to the main event: the Capt. Ahab Trail. It wasn’t all downhill though – the overall descent is broken up by a few punchy climbs. Ahab is filled with fun alternative options to the main line, and lots of them are definitely a push back up for a brief session.
Although I had been taking it easy for the bulk of the trip, one technical shelf drop looked too good to pass up, and I had to hike back up to take the alt line.
After our ride, we found a nice spot by the river to park for a while before heading to the local McDonalds, which boasted the best wifi in town.
Our plan initially was to check out Arches National Park to enjoy a chance of pace. However, between the line of traffic looking to get in and the massive fee to access the park, we elected to find something else to do for the rest of our day. If you’re planning a trip, trying to schedule something around jeep week is probably a good idea too. With all the extra people around, trying to find a quiet place to boondock the van was a bit more of a pain than usual.
Bull Run & the Magnificient 7
For our third day in Moab, we had trouble agreeing on what we would ride. Although Porcupine Rim is an old favorite, snow on the upper portions meant the lower sections were the only trails accessible by shuttle, so we elected to ride one more new to us trail system to see what it was like.
The Magnificent 7 area was the most XC system of the bunch. While I would have preferred a full run down the Whole Enchilada, sometimes it’s nice to check something new out. Inga enjoyed the loop quite a bit as it was a beautiful rim trail with plenty of epic views. As a training ride it could have been cool, but as it was mostly XC, I wasn’t terribly stoked – it’s just not the kind of trail I drive 18 hours to ride.
News: we’re finally on YouTube
This is our first real crack at a full YouTube edit — if you like the site, we’d sure appreciate a like and comment on the site and YouTube page. It goes a long way towards being able to create and produce more content like this.
Also, big thanks and shout outs to our friends and sponsors — Shimano, Fernhill Co, SDG, BMC Bicycles, Bikeskills, and Showers Pass for the support in helping make this trip happen.
MTB Project: HyMasa/ Captain Ahab