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Slickrock

Consensus:    (details)
 4.4 from 46 votes
  Intermediate/Difficult from 5 votes
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Rating: -none- change
Rank: #2 in Moab
#3 in Utah
#15 Overall
Featured Ride near ,  
“A totally unique experience on the world's most famous bike trail.”
Nick Wilder on May 4, 2013
Getting There     GPX File     Print
10.7 Miles 100% Singletrack 819’ Ascent -819’ Descent 4,464’ Low 4,771’ High
Restrictions
Follow the white stripes, stay on the trail, and do not disturb the cryptobiotic soil.
Overview
2:31 average ride time for 10.9 miles. Details

Slickrock is often called the best bike ride in America. That's highly debatable, but what is not: it is one of the coolest, most unique experiences you can have on your bike.

About 95% of the ride is on incredibly tacky, smooth slickrock, and it's just remarkable what your tires will hold. If you have the nerve, muscle, and balance, everything is rideable, including inclines that look ridiculous at first glance. Oh, and the scenery is some of the most amazing in Moab...
Need To Know
The entire trail is very exposed and very crowded. It's open to motorized dirt bikes. Bring lots of water, avoid hot days, and come early or late in the day to avoid crowds. Sunset is a spectacular time to be out, as long as you know you can get back before dark!

There is a fee of $5/vehicle or $2/bike to enter Sand Flats Recreation Area. There is lots of great camping along Sand Flats Road, within easy biking distance to this trail and others in the area.
Description
Starting from the largest parking lot ever dedicated to a single trail, head north on easy terrain. You'll come to the Slickrock Practice Loop in .25 miles, which is well worth the detour. It's a good introduction to the main Slickrock loop, slightly easier and adds another fun mile to your ride. It reconnects to this trail half a mile later.

The trail is a never-ending series of short but incredibly steep climbs and descents. The rock provides incredible traction, and after a while, you'll realize that everything here is rideable, even if it appears to be way to steep to ride at first. If this is your first time, walk the steeper ones and work up the difficulties slowly - falling on rock hurts more than dirt.

From the intersection with the Practice Loop, you'll ride a short connection to the main loop. Along this section, you come to a cool view down Abyss Canyon, then wade through a sandy pit, and then intersect with the 4x4 trail called Hell's Revenge (don't follow that trail by accident).

At 2 miles you'll come to the loop part of this lollipop, and the preferred direction is clockwise (though either way is fine), so take a left and ascend along 'swiss cheese ridge' high above Moab. This is a long, generally straight in direction, section of trail. The ups and downs are steep for sure. Along the flatter sections of slickrock, be on the lookout for potholes that cradle prickly pear cactus or want to swallow your tires.

At 3.5 and 5 miles, there are optional spurs (each a couple tenths of a mile) that go to the edge of the cliff for great views and are well worth it. The trail turns to parallel the Colorado River here and begins to descend towards a vast, flatter expanse of slickrock. It's wise to roll up to edges slowly.

The Natural Selection viewpoint at 7 miles is really cool, and a great place for a rest before you head back to the west and south to complete the loop. On the return you'll find more punchy climbs and steep descents with some sand traps mixed in for good measure. This part of the route will pass a couple of different canyons and you'll get some spine tingling views across the red rock landscape.

There's one big climb and descent to tackle before reaching the intersection to head back to the trailhead. Your legs will be tired but keep riding, you're about the complete the world famous Slickrock!
History & Background
The rock is Navajo Sandstone: 200 million year old petrified sand dunes from the Jurassic Period (yep, dinosaur fossils are all over Moab).

The Slickrock Trail was originally created by dirt bikers in 1969.

Though incredibly tacky for bike tires, horses with metal shoes do not have the same experience, so settlers in the 1800's named it "slick rock".
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Forecasting the weather...
Recent Conditions
Mar 27
Good
Oct 4
wet after rain, but dried out very quickly
May 17
Dry
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COMMENTS
OTHER RIDES NEAR HERE
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5.0 (3)
Stunning scenery and great singletrack. One of the very best beginner/interm...
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PHOTOS of Slickrock
 4.8 from 8 votes
You can see the last section of the Porcupine Rim trail in the backgroun... (Moab, UT)
 4.6 from 7 votes
360 panorama from Moab to Arches to the La Sals (Moab, UT)
 4.3 from 3 votes
The views of the La Sal mountains is pretty sweet. (Moab, UT)
 4.0 from 4 votes
There's life among the sandstone. (Moab, UT)
 3.8 from 4 votes
Glorious Riding, such a unique style of riding:) (Moab, UT)
 3.8 from 4 votes
Shrimp Rock in the background. (Moab, UT)
 3.8 from 4 votes
Dont Get to Close, best view of Colorado River from Slickrock trail (Moab, UT)
 3.8 from 4 votes
Riders making their way back to the start of the loop. (Moab, UT)
 3.7 from 3 votes
A series of steep climbs are found on the north end of the loop overlook... (Moab, UT)
 3.5 from 4 votes
Follow the white dashes to all the fun and be ready for fast transitions... (Moab, UT)
 3.4 from 5 votes
Trail junction to head out to the Main Trail loop. (Moab, UT)
 3.3 from 3 votes
Downtown Moab (Moab, UT)
 3.3 from 3 votes
La Sals in the background of the Slickrock Trail (Moab, UT)
 3.3 from 3 votes
The first steep climb - here the switchback technique is in full effect (Moab, UT)
 3.3 from 4 votes
Overlooking the river from a distance. There's a spur that you can go ou... (Moab, UT)
 3.0 from 5 votes
The junction of the lasso loop. Heading left is a little less climbing. (Moab, UT)
 3.0 from 4 votes
A peek into Arches National Park...you can still see an arch or two. (Moab, UT)
 3.0 from 2 votes
Nice roller coaster! (Moab, UT)
 3.0 from 2 votes
View over Moab (Moab, UT)
 3.0 from 2 votes
View of Arches National Park from Slickrock Trail (Moab, UT)
 2.8 from 4 votes
The first junction of the trail from the lot is for the practice loop or... (Moab, UT)
 2.8 from 4 votes
Follow the dots! (Moab, UT)
 2.8 from 4 votes
Someone felt the need to kill the soil. Look out for the Cryptobiotic so... (Moab, UT)
 2.8 from 4 votes
A video showing the highlights of the Slickrock trail. (Moab, UT)
 2.8 from 4 votes
It's called Slickrock, but there's still some sections of sand! (Moab, UT)
 2.8 from 4 votes
Watch out for the zip liners! This also starts a section of pretty steep... (Moab, UT)
 2.8 from 4 votes
First time mountain biking. All is good on Slickrock! (Moab, UT)
 2.8 from 4 votes
The trail intersects with a 4x4 "road" occasionally, but there are plent... (Moab, UT)
 2.4 from 5 votes
Sandstone switchbacks. Tight turns on the Slickrock Trail. (Moab, UT)
 2.4 from 5 votes
Mileage highlights listed on the sign in the parking lot. (Moab, UT)
 2.3 from 4 votes
By mid-day more and more trail users will be out in the peak seasons, le... (Moab, UT)
 2.0 from 5 votes
Overview stats for Slickrock. (Moab, UT)
 1.7 from 3 votes
You might encounter motor bikes as well on Slickrock. (Moab, UT)
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