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looking for tips for my first 5 day trip to Moab!!

Original Post
luis aguilar · · Atlanta · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

Hi I am planning a trip to Moab in April or May 2018, it would be my first trip there. I have been reading forum posts and googling quite a lot and have an idea of what I would want to do. If you have experience in similar trips to Moab I would really appreciate any tips, advice, traps to avoid, anything you would share! about the trails as such and about the logistics, guides, rent bike, etc... !!! Thank you!!

My basic plan:

day1 WED: fly in, salt lake, drive to moab, 6 hours?, get to the hotel in Moab late night but hey! at least I am there!

day2 THU: get a rental good mountain bike, put it in the car, drive to the loop-parking for trail Slickrock; do the trail, no rush... all day for that.

day3 FRI: find one of those buses or vans or similar so I can get a ride to the middle of Porcupine trail; do that 15 miles portion of Porcupine Rim trail... at the end ride the bike back to the hotel in Moab

day4 SAT: drive to the the loop trail Flat Pass.

day5 SUN: travels back home. 

My profile: intermediate; I ride a relic-2004 Scott double suspension, 26 wheel and 3 by 8 ...  yes, I know, it's time to get a new one... when I see a decent Scott Spark under 2k I'll go for it... 

My questions: 

--- for an intermediate, would you recommend the trail choices or if not what would be the right trail alternatives (i am ok if somewhat above my level as long as doable; I am not all about jumps and downhill but rather "excursionist" looking for scenery, challenge, fair climbs and some spice going downhill.
My worry is to pick a trail way above my level and suffer the day instead of enjoying it. 

--- would you have a contact recommendation to rent a "normal" good mountain bike at a "normal" good price ? I would love to try 27.5, but not plus, and maybe it s the time for me to try the famous 2 chainrings instead of my current - obsolete - 3 by 8 ...  

--- Should I get "guides" to do these trails? or can I do as I normally do which is get the trails on my Garmin and just figure it out out there... ? 

--- Should I expect bike-traffic jams , especially on Fri and Sat? I suppose Moab is so famous that there are so many bikers? 

THANK YOU So MUCH for any advice!!!

Moab Utah 1 · · Moab, Utah · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 0

You might dig on a demo event in Moab, to ride other bikes than your relic? is in April. If you came in March, there is too.

More on bike trails -- The Blue are intermediate.

Each of the bike shops in Moab has a shuttle connection. Find the shops on, join those shuttle for cost sharing. Live links to investigate brands and rental prices.

Thanks for choosing Moab!

luis aguilar · · Atlanta · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

hi thank you for those great tips!!! will look it all up!

Mark Michaels · · Draper, UT · Joined Sep 2006 · Points: 30

Reserve your room NOW.  April/May is peak season in Moab.  

Know that it will be hot.  Or freezing cold.  Or perfect.  All in the same day.  Take plenty of water and snacks.  Then pack extra.  

If you're from Atlanta you have no idea how much water you will need to drink in the high, dry, Utah desert.  A ton. 

But it will be amazing.  I took my first trip to Moab in about 1991.  It has grown a lot, but the scenery is still as good as it ever was.  

luis aguilar · · Atlanta · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

thank you Mark! Really appreciate the flag "all in the same day" !!! I am set re lodging and will make totally sure about water, no compromise there. I did have couple ride experiences in the arab emirates in Ras al Khaimah where I promised myself I would never be short on water again in those type of conditions... check one of those trails !  : )

Dawn Scheneck · · Allamuchy, NJ · Joined Jul 2015 · Points: 0

I agree, that you should reserve both your room and a rental bike NOW ! I'd definitely try a 27.5" from one of the fantastic LBS that is in Moab. I've rented from both Chili Pepper and Poison Spider in town and both were a great experience.  

As an Intermediate riders, my husband and I were out there in August 2017 and had no difficulty riding the Whole Enchilada - but that was definitely an entire day's adventure.  We've done the Slickrock practice loop, which was more than enough for me - we prefer Navajo Rocks area which has a nice mix of everything good in Moab riding, IMHO.  

Also agree with the advice on the weather - make sure you bring plenty of water as well as snack. 

Moab is awesome, enjoy your first trip, I'm certain it won't be your last :-)

Tom McBride · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2018 · Points: 0

See Hannah at The Chili Pepper Bike Shop. A young woman that is an avid rider who can answer your questions and refer you to other sources as needed.

luis aguilar · · Atlanta · Joined Jan 2016 · Points: 0

First of all, thank you so much to all those who gave me tips to this trip to Moab. Really, it was just perfect advice and allowed me to plan the trip in the right way. Every tip you gave me really meant something good for my plan!

For anyone planning a trip to Moab as I did some months ago here is my recap of what I just learnt;

1./ absolutely yes, you need to book your hotel/inn or similar MONTHS in advance.

2./ absolutely makes more sense to rent a fantastic bike there than the hussle of transport if you are flying in; I used Chile Pepper Bike shop; there are many others. Service was spot on. Bike was a Giant Trance 1x 27.5 seat drop; it had everything I needed; it was in very good condition.
Remember, Moab is a mountain bike world hub... if there is a place to rent a good bike, it’s Moab.

3./ it all depends on your level and your appetite. Moab has all levels and can satisfy any appetite. Key tip is PLAN well; learn about Moab before you are there.

4./ Should I take a guided tour or not?
 Depends on your level, what trail you are going to do and how used you are to make use of a GPS with downloaded trails in it.
My recommendation is to consider hybrid: do the easier ones on your own, consider a group for your challenge. There are various providers and they know what they do really. I used Rim Tours one day to do Mag 7 trails and it was a great experience. I would have struggled to do those trails on my own that day.

5./ Food. Moab is a outdoors sports tourist mecca. You find what you want.
If you feel you can treat yourself with a bit more upper meal, I recommend Desert Bistro. Extremely good but you gotta make reservation in advance.
Breakfasts are not always great depends where you stay. There are quite good places for breakfast; if it is not your hotel’s strongest point, you might want to look them up.

6./ Water
...and beyond. It’s not just water; these trails in this temperature (I did in May) will test your fluids... I drank all the liters of water and yet lost electrolyte and ended up one day crawling my way back to the car when doing Mag 7. Enhance your water with salts powder; potasiom, magnesium, sodium... and then water. Just bring more and drink it all as you ride. No compromise.

7./ Rides. If you fly into Salt Lake City
Salt Lake City ride to Moab. Some 4 hours. It’s long. Road is very good but monotonous.
Once in Moab, you’ll need a rack for your rental car, as the trails are somewhat 30 mins or 40 mins from Moab center.

8./ One suggestion of rides-scheme for a 4-days IN MOAB trip. You will build your own but the below can be useful as example on how to think things through. Your level will lead you to choose more or less effort/skills than the trails below.

Day Zero, fly in Salt Lake City, get the rental, drive to Moab.
 Day1, Dead horse trail; easier
 Day2, Mag 7; quite difficult (I used Rim Tours and joined a one-day guided tour)
 Day3, Slickrock; killer trail physically and technically; an absolute MUST.
Day4, Klonzo trails. Did not have much time before my trip back, but enough to do 10kms in Klonzo trails with first light that day.
 That was the perfect scheme for my level and my expectations. Perfect plan. Challenging as it gets but doable.
 The loop at Mag 7 with the group was VERY CHALLENGING. Technical passages; rocks, jumps, downhills testing your nerve... doubts in front of some rock jumps... and tough killing burning legs hills. Not epic climbs and not aerobic climbs like Slickrock but very very challenging nonetheless.
 I learnt many things doing this trail about water and not just drinking water but taking enough electrolyte supplement. Had leg-burning cram warnings; had to cycle at the tail of the 7 cyclists group; all ok, no pressure; guide from Rim Tours total patience himself and managing well the patience form the other riders. He also helped me get electrolyte. Had sodium/potasium tablets and lunch was a game changer with all the water+electrolyte components I had.

Couple extra comments on Slickrock.

After my second day of trails once finished Mag 7 in quite bad condition... I was hesitant to do Slickrock. I just thought.. not for me; not for my level. Thought quite a lot. Then decided to rest on that third day in the morning, recover well from previous day. And just go to do Slickrock in the afternoon.. just to see how it would go.

If I had not tried it, I think I would have regretted it for a long time. So happy I did try it. Some reflections below:

Unique. A mountain bike experience you must have if you have a chance.
 This trail is horribly difficult. It is technical. A beginner mountain biker will suffer more than enjoy and will run too much risks; my opinion. The trail is dangerous unless you have certain level with your mountain bike. But, if you have that level (you do mountain bike on regular basis on difficult terrain), you must try yourself on Slickrock if you are in Moab. The worst thing that can happen is that you walk the bike up those crazy insane ramps and, or, you walk the bike on some downhill passages that you just don't feel as you assess the downhill situation in front of you...
 Ramping up. The first time you walk the bike you are angry... grrr... haven't done 1 km and I am already pushing the bike up... The second time and third time you wonder if this is your trail... maybe I am not in any good shape at all.. look at those bikers they are cycling up those ramps... tell you what... after 10 times walking the bike up the ramp... you are all of the sudden reconciled with it. And you start enjoying. Sometimes you push it to test your legs (and skill going up), and sometimes you give up early and simply walk it up that ridge. No shame. At that point, after you have done the first 3kms and you have been a bit in shock with it...  then, you are enjoying one of the best trails in the world.. .and at that point, you know it; this is unique. This is a special day. .. : )
 Ramping down. Everything is perfectly doable if you have certain level. Riding on pure sand-rock petrified like a million years ago... is just an experience you can't miss. It's so 3D !!! Going down those ramps and turning as you do it and finding your way out of the ramp down... will test your nerve and after you familiarize with it you will enjoy the adrenaline and concentration those magic seconds...
 The views of the Colorado river are breathtaking; at the top, if you manage to take the trail against the "bike-jams"at rush hours on rush days you will enjoy the solitude and the wind as a couple of other solo bikers are going through their tough but amazing experience and a look between them and you will be enough to say hello and express all the rest that s going on.

Enjoy it!

John Styrnol · · Grand Junction, CO · Joined Oct 2017 · Points: 115

Glad you had a great time!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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