An under-the-radar movement of grassroots trail development is humming along in the red rock playground of Moab, Utah. In fact, according to Jeff Van Horn, director of Moab Trail Mix, a local trail work group, the already legendary area has a whopping 150 miles of pristine singletrack development slated for the next 10 years. “Moab was the birthplace of all-terrain biking, but the trails included a lot of roads that were already on the ground,” says Van Horn. “As bikes got better and technology advanced, other areas started developing singletrack and now we’ve fallen behind the curve.” That’s changing: Moab Trail Mix’s new singletracks have seen very little rubber. Here, for your fall riding pleasure, is a roundup of four fresh alternatives to the tried-and-true Moab classics.
Bring the Family: The Intrepid Trail
Got family? Then put a camping sojourn to Moab’s Dead Horse Point State Park on your list. Mom and Dad can take turns getting a workout on the park’s wildly fun and relatively new (opened in 2009) Intrepid Trail while the kiddos can test out their dirt skills on the easier sections. This serpentine system, which is one of the few singletracks open in a Utah state park, boasts breathtaking vistas, cooler temps than Moab and next-to-trail camping. The Intrepid trail, which is relatively smooth and flat, save for a few technical sections, features several loops, including the 8-mile Big Chief Loop, the 4.2-mile Great Pyramid Loop and the 1.1-mile Intrepid Loop.
Length: Over 13 miles of loops Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate Assets: Fun, flowing singletrack with minimal climbing. Ride elsewhere if you’re looking for technical challenges and suffering.
PG-13: Pipe Dream Singletrack
Bikers who have made it back down to town, but are still amped up after that epic morning ride on Porcupine, will delight in blowing off extra steam with a spin on the Pipe Dream Trail, a brand new (opened June 17th, 2011) 5-mile singletrack that starts right in downtown Moab and heads south. Originally designed for the locals as their first easy-access backyard trail, Pipe Dream is cut into the talus slopes that line Moab’s Pipeline access road. “You can ride out on the access road and back on the singletrack to make it a loop,” says Van Horn. There are plans in the works to add a few loops onto the main trail all the way out to Ken’s Lake.
Length: Five miles one way Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced Assets: Access to this beauty is right in downtown Moab. Plus, it gets nice and shady in the afternoon.