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Slickrock Complete Ride

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 4.4 (463) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

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


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Map Key

11.0

Miles

17.7

KM

100%

Singletrack

4,771' 1,454 m

High

4,465' 1,361 m

Low

758' 231 m

Up

758' 231 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (1°)

15%

Max Grade (9°)

Dogs Leashed

E-Bikes Allowed

  • 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.

Overview

Slickrock is often called one of the best bike ride in America: 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".

Contacts

Shared By:

Nick Wilder with improvements by F Felix and 1 other

Trail Ratings

  4.4 from 463 votes

#21

Overall
  4.4 from 463 votes
5 Star
59%
4 Star
26%
3 Star
11%
2 Star
3%
1 Star
2%
Recommended Route Rankings

#8

in Utah

#21

Overall
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132,506 Since May 4, 2013
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Photos

You can see the last section of the Porcupine Rim trail in the background. Wheelies are fun.
Apr 21, 2013 near Moab, UT
Slickrock Trail is beautiful in the evening...
Oct 21, 2015 near Moab, UT
A fun video from Seth's Bike Hacks giving an overview of the iconic Slickrock Trail.
Oct 10, 2016 near Moab, UT
Shrimp Rock ahead on the Slickrock trail.
Nov 28, 2015 near Moab, UT
Accidental reflection in the puddle at sunset on Slickrock in Moab, UT.
Nov 16, 2015 near Moab, UT
Some fun features on Slick Rock. Mostly rolling with no drop.
Apr 24, 2016 near Moab, UT

Weather


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Check-Ins

May 7, 2021
Hank Thompson
Sick! The short sprint uphills were much harder than any of the downhill sections — 1h 45m
May 4, 2021
Jeff Taylor
Apr 18, 2021
Karrie Sims
Uuuo
Apr 3, 2021
Josh Lewis
10.7mi
Mar 22, 2021
dave van tol
Mar 20, 2021
Fred Choi
Mar 12, 2021
John Waven
Mar 6, 2021
Remco Terwal
Awesome ride. Lots of steeps up and down. Amazing traction and amazing view. 12mi