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Flat Pass

Difficult
 3.0 (32) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A neglected classic, running through spectacular scenery and interesting terrain.


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Map Key

18.2

Miles

29.2

KM

0%

Singletrack

5,954' 1,815 m

High

4,489' 1,368 m

Low

2,006' 611 m

Up

2,005' 611 m

Down

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

26%

Max Grade (15°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

Overview

Following the general line of the Steel Bender jeep trail, Flat Pass dishes out an interesting curry of trail conditions and unusual scenery.

The trail runs in an inconspicuous wrinkle between the lower mesas of the La Sal Mountains, and the prominent ridge forming the northeast boundary of Moab (Spanish Valley). Unusually for a desert ride, Flat Pass runs beside a perennial stream for part of its length. The combination of Navajo sandstone domes and running water is intoxicating.

Need to Know

The trail crosses Mill Creek four times - once at the beginning, and three times near the end. You have a choice to make: sandy chain, or wet feet?

Description

Flat Pass seems to have fallen out of favor of late and I'm not sure why. Perhaps because it's not really flat at all? Because it's pretty hard and doesn't have a ripping downhill payoff? Because there's no flowy singletrack? Or is it due to the four sandy stream crossings?

No matter! It only means you won't have to stand in line for this excellent, under-rated route.

If you are shuttling, start at the pullout at the Ken's Lake entrance, and immediately ride up the steep graded gravel road to the pass. Then drop down, cross Mill Creek and enter into a hidden world of Navajo sandstone domes and high mesas.

The trail heads upward over classically Moab-style ledges, dirt and slickrock reminiscent of Amasa Back. Some of the features are extremely difficult, but most of the trail is very rideable if you are reasonably fit.

After the initial climb of 2 miles and 600', the trail begins to roll along, dropping in overall elevation for another 6 miles until you reach the creek again. Along the way, you'll pass two intersections where the Steel Bender jeep road splits to go right. Don't go there - it's a long, sandy horseshoe loop.

The trail now drops through a steep, technical slickrock dish and begins to run beside the creek. This part of the trail may be a bit of an acquired taste: sandy babyheads are perhaps not for everyone, but they are very rideable and actually quite entertaining if you can relax enough.

The trail remains in the shady, green riparian area beside the stream now, and you'll cross the watercourse 3 more times before reaching the last climb up and out of the watershed on another graded dirt road to the left. From the pass at the top of this hill, rejoin pavement and ride back to the start (or back to town if you shuttled to the start) via Spanish Valley Drive.

I prefer to park on this end of the ride, where Pack Creek flows under Spanish Trail Road (beware of goatheads!), or further down near the Shell gas station on Hwy-191. That way, you get a gentle roadie warm-up before the off-pavement ride begins, and a speedy downhill finish at the end.

Up to you.

Contacts

Shared By:

F Felix with improvements by John Joseph

Trail Ratings

  3.0 from 32 votes

#3

in Moab

#1831

Overall
  3.0 from 32 votes
5 Star
9%
4 Star
28%
3 Star
34%
2 Star
13%
1 Star
16%
Recommended Route Rankings

#3

in Moab

#76

in Utah

#1,831

Overall
50 Views Last Month
9,535 Since Dec 12, 2013
Difficult

0%
4%
4%
4%
77%
12%

Photos

The road is sandy while beside the creek, but the views are great!
Nov 8, 2020 near Moab, UT
Flat Pass largely follows the Steelbender Jeep trail. Much of the ride is harder than this section.
Nov 8, 2020 near Moab, UT
A nice stretch of slickrock
Nov 8, 2020 near Moab, UT
First stream crossing.
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Photo credit: http://www.mtb-hol.com/colorado_wyoming_utah_colorado_2004/Day_23.html
Dec 12, 2013 near Moab, UT
The "Extreme Ledge" Jeep feature keeps most OHVs from completing the trail, forcing them to return the way they came. This keeps the traffic light.
Nov 8, 2020 near Moab, UT

Weather


Current Trail Conditions

Update Conditions
All Clear 45 days ago See History
Add Your Check-In

Check-Ins

Aug 22, 2024
Jeff Graves
Jun 28, 2021
Fernando Musa
Oct 31, 2020
F Felix
Beautiful day! Trail is in great shape. Recent rains have packed down the sandy sections, and OHV traffic hasn't yet churned it up.
Oct 2, 2020
Brian Zambrano
18mi — 2h 22m
May 15, 2020
dave calvin
W/ Peter 12mi — 2h 18m
Mar 27, 2020
Kari Barnard
Oct 7, 2019
Rusty Zielinski
This lends itself to jeep rock crawling. There were a few fun down sections but few and far between. There were quite a few big ock step ups. 19.2mi
Sep 16, 2019
Joey Atkins