“One of the last "Old-School" Moab rides where just finding the way is a big challenge.”
— F. Felix on Nov 6, 2013
DescriptionPick a day after recent rain for the most rideable sand conditions and cooler temperatures--there's precious little shade on this ride. Come loaded with extra food and water in case you bonk, get lost, or otherwise have an epic journey. I highly recommend a good map, or the MTB Project mobile app: there are a lot of spur road options.
I'd also wear shoes with grippy soles: the hike-a-bike could be difficult or even dangerous with slippery cleats. If you can manage dismounting your bike on some of Slickrock Trail’s steeper features without issue then you should be fine.
It’s physically easiest to run a shuttle (obviously). If you are hard core or just demented, try riding this as a loop of roughly 35 miles. Start in town and get the 12-mile, gently up-sloping road segment out of the way in the morning before the afternoon heat and headwinds pick up. Chili Pepper Bike Shop is well positioned as a start/end.
I recommend riding Spanish Valley Drive, rather than Hwy-191. You can cut right to return to the highway on two unmarked connector roads after the left turn for Ken’s Lake (there's also an early fork to a gravel pit you'll want to avoid).
However you reach the trailhead, pedal out Behind The Rocks Road, keeping to the main graded road past many spurs. The road has occasional carsonite markers and the spurs are mostly smaller, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble staying on route, with three major exceptions: in the first 1/2-mile, and where the road drops into two big cottonwood washes. When in doubt, go left.
You'll encounter graded road, sand, loose rubble, ledges, slickrock and finally singletrack on this ride. The faint one-track segment at the end of the ride can be a tricky trail to follow as it snakes over slickrock benches and through boulder gardens. Fortunately, the Hunter Canyon rim is narrow, so it’s hard to get too lost without rappelling off a cliff. This is a very difficult trail segment, with little engineering and big natural features with gravity working against you. Expect to walk a fair bit of it.
You may have to do a little scouting to find the right way to hike-a-bike down to the Kane Creek road, but there’s just one mildly tricky, less-than-obvious downclimb move over large boulders--you shouldn’t have to do any radical rock climbing. Have faith!
Once down, turn right onto the Kane Creek gravel road. Ride back to town beside the beautiful Colorado River cottonwoods.
ContactsLand Manager: BLM Utah - Moab Field Office
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