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Moab’s Slickrock Trail

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So, you made it to Moab, an outdoor adventure destination drenched in geologic oddities and perfect spring and autumn weather. The amount of epic activities here is overwhelming, and if you came here to mountain bike, it’s simple – you have to ride the Slickrock Trail.

The terrain here ranges from jagged and rough to poetically polished. Natural features invite playfulness from riders of all ages as they flow with waves of stone.

Professional mountain biker Ricky Krompton of Manchester, England travels the world racing, and during his first trip to Moab, he said he was blown away.

“I’ve never ridden terrain like this,” he said. “Never seen something quite this vast in my life.”

The 10 or more miles of ”trail” roll among endless sand dunes baked into stone, clashing against distant alpine peaks as they rise and fall. Here, your tires reveal a new level of tenacity and your ability to climb and descend sheer grades is incredible.

The trail is a path of painted dashes on a lunar moonscape often so perfect it seems hand sculpted by the brush strokes of geologic time. Everywhere, the effects of wind and water are recognized in the stone.

The main loop is reached by a short trail from the parking area forming a lollipop outline. Riding counter clockwise is considered more difficult, but clockwise features at least one inconceivable hill climb among many others.

This entire trail is ridable- even the ominous “cogs to spare” climb to Swiss Cheese Ridge, three and half clockwise miles in. It’s a question of skill, fitness and finesse. And be careful – the Navajo sandstone will melt the skin off your bones in a wipe out.

Note: The shorter practice loop comes highly recommended. It’s not much easier, just shorter.

Mountain bikers make a pilgrimage to Moab to ride this. Most trails in the region feature sandstone segments, so master it here and you’re set. It’s a rigorous, rewarding training ground; a test piece on mountain biker bucket lists the world over. Krompton knows.

“I’m finally getting the opportunity to come to Moab,” he said. “It’s a total dream come true.”

~B. Mathis

 

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