Slickrock

 217 votes

10.7 Miles 17.2 Kilometers


100%

Singletrack

819' 250 m

Ascent

-819' -250 m

Descent

4,771' 1,454 m

High

4,464' 1,361 m

Low

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

16%

Max Grade (9°)

All Clear

63 days agoUpdate

A totally unique experience on the world's most famous bike trail.

Nick Wilder

Overview

  • Follow the white stripes, stay on the trail, and do not disturb the cryptobiotic soil or water filled potholes.
  • PLEASE don't bring your dog - the burning hot sandstone surface tears away their paw pads, leaving them raw and bloody halfway through the ride. If you absolutely must bring them, bring extra water - make sure they leave the water in the potholes for the local wildlife.
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...
Features: eMTB allowed
Dogs: Leashed

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".

Contacts

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4.2 from 217 votes


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Check-Ins

Sep 17, 2017
Matt Lovett
Sep 16, 2017
Alan Jewell
Sep 10, 2017
Jacqueline Brenzikofer
Crazy 17.2mi
Aug 31, 2017
Jordan Ray
With Kyle 10.7mi
Aug 22, 2017
Thomas Lewis
Aug 21, 2017
Nate Oster
Aug 17, 2017
kevin daniels
Aug 13, 2017
Jess Polley
Conditions were mint. Sunset ride was great, not too hot and no one else riding!

Trail Ratings

  4.2 from 217 votes

#1

in Slickrock

#21

Overall
  4.2 from 217 votes
5 Star
52%
4 Star
27%
3 Star
16%
2 Star
3%
1 Star
2%
Rankings

#1

in Slickrock

#6

in Utah

#21

Overall
2,044 Views Last Month
55,100 Since May 4, 2013
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Conditions


All Clear 63 days ago

Getting forecast...

Photos

I'm alarmed that people think they can "improve" this classic beast of a trail. If you see the a$$holes who have been chiselling features away to make it easier, give them a beat down for all of us. Nov 30, 2016


The article stated the max gradient is 16% but there were some short punchy segments that had to have been 30 to 35%. Steepest stuff I have ever been able to climb. Awesome legburning ride. May 27, 2017


Please everyone keep riding this trail. Heck bring your kids and strollers and maybe try it on a unicycle.... that way you keep the good trails/rides less crowded. Jul 10, 2017


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