MTB Project Logo

Flat Pass

 19 votes

Length

18.2 Miles 29.2 Kilometers


0%

Singletrack

Elevation

2,006' 611 m

Ascent

-2,005' -611 m

Descent

4%

Avg Grade (2°)

26%

Max Grade (15°)

5,954' 1,815 m

High

4,489' 1,368 m

Low

Conditions


All Clear 5 days ago
Dry History

Getting forecast...

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

F. Felix

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

You & this Featured Ride


Rate Quality


   Clear Rating

Rate Difficulty

Get On-Trail Navigation

Send to Phone
Your Check-Ins

Check-Ins

Apr 22, 2018
Randy Rosado
9.1mi
Oct 4, 2017
Tom Clark
Mar 20, 2017
John Moffett
Mar 19, 2017
Benjamin Davis
This trail is brutal - start in the morning and enjoy the undulating terrain. We only saw atvs and trucks. The sandy sections are nasty (bring fatties
Mar 18, 2017
Christopher Powell
12.5mi — 7h 35m
Mar 11, 2017
Brandon Jones
Nov 5, 2016
Gino DiSciullo 1
Oct 15, 2016
luke demuth
Sandy, sv Rd blows in stiff headwind. Fun texhy riding 18.2mi

Trail Ratings

  3.4 from 19 votes

#1800

Overall
  3.4 from 19 votes
5 Star
16%
4 Star
32%
3 Star
37%
2 Star
5%
1 Star
11%
Rankings

#74

in Utah

#1,800

Overall
215 Views Last Month
4,869 Since Dec 12, 2013
Intermediate/Difficult Intermediate/Difficult

0%
0%
0%
71%
29%
0%
I should mention that afternoon down-slope winds can be nasty in Spanish Valley. Best to park near the Shell station and ride the road section to the dirt trailhead near Ken's Lake at the beginning of the ride, in the morning. Don't plan to park at the trailhead and ride back on the road at the end, or you will likely regret it...unless you are Dutch and adore a stiff headwind. Nov 30, 2016
Mark Sevenoff
Moab, UT
Mark Sevenoff   Moab, UT
Best E-bike loop in Moab! Ride from town and see if you can nonstop it without running out of battery! Feb 16, 2018

MTB Project is part of the REI Co-op family,
where a life outdoors is a life well lived.

Shop REI Mountain Bike

MTB Project is supported by

Support Your Local IMBA Chapter