5 Best Mountain Bike Trails in Moab

Posted by Joel Smith on

Five Best Mountain Bike Trails in Moab

Moab, Moab, Moab…just saying those words gets the adrenaline flowing. Moab has become one of the major meccas for mountain biking. And it’s not just Slickrock anymore— like most mountain-bike destinations, a trail-building spree has made it one of the top places to ride. In fact, it’s difficult to pick the five best trails in Moab, but that doesn’t mean we can’t try.

#1 The Whole Enchilada

The Whole Enchilada is a BIG ride. Even with a shuttle to the top it’s over 35 miles and, while the shuttle version is mostly downhill, it is not easy descending. There are some fairly significant climbs and the descents are technical enough to beat you down pretty fast.

We recommend riding the Enchilada in the shoulder seasons when the weather is pleasant down in Moab town, but that doesn’t always mean it’s pleasant at the top. Make sure to check local weather as it can be treacherous out there in the high desert.

The trail itself starts on an alpine pass above tree line and carves its way down to the sandstone canyons of the Colorado River. Along the way, the Whole Enchilada covers every type of riding and scenery that Moab has to offer.

The Whole Enchilada is technically a complete loop, starting in town, involving many miles of paved road, and returning all the way back to town, but most mortals settle for a shuttle.

 #2 The Magnificent 7

Like the name suggests, The Magnificent 7 trails are part of a network that links the upper and lower ends of Gemini Bridges Road. The trails can be ridden as a point-to-point, connected together in different loops, or ridden together into one pretty awe-inspiring traverse.

The trails within the Mag 7 are Bull Run, Arth’s Corner, Little Canyon, Gold Bar Rim Golden Spike, Poison Spider, Portal, and Getaway. This last trail segment, Getaway, is our favorite part of Mag 7.  

Getaway isn’t easy, but we mean that in the best possible way. It has just the right amount of downhill pitch to keep your flow up and just enough technical terrain to keep you off the brakes. The result is a trail that is both technically and physically engaging while also being somewhat relaxing (if there is such a thing).

#3) Captain Ahab

A trip to Moab would not be complete without putting tires on Captain Ahab. Next to the Porcupine Rim Trail, it’s the most talked about trail in Moab—some would go as far as saying it's the crown jewel of the new Moab trail-building system.

Fair warning, it is also one of the area’s most technical trails, with numerous drops and steep technical sections, some with little warning. There are alternative lines throughout, but secondary lines usually lead to either bigger drops or sections that require trials-style bike-hopping to clean.

At the same time, don’t be dissuaded from riding Captain Ahab by the above description. The lower half of the trail drops into tight singletrack above Kane Creek and has good flow and little in the way of climbing. And the final stretch drops down through a rock garden that is the darling of Youtube. 

#4) Gold Bar Rim

Gold Bar Rim actually used to be a nameless renegade trail, but after it was re-routed in spots to reduce the cliff exposure, it was added to the network of Moab trails and follows gold marks painted on the rocks.

The cool thing about Gold Bar is that everything is ride-able. Constant technical ups and downs, and routes through different rock lines—keep your attention high, but this is a good ride to take your less-technical-minded friends on. Yes, they might end up walking a few sections, but they will still enjoy the challenges the trail has to offer.

5) Alaska

Alaska is a relatively new trail in Moab and is also the most northern trail of the Klondike Bluffs trail network. It’s one of the few trails that is enjoyable ridden either direction, but it’s more fun descending Alaska. 

The first mile or so of the trail is rolling singletrack that winds around the rocky outer cropping of rocks above Arches National Park’s Salt Valley. That’s really what makes Alaska a crown favorite. The ridge that overlooks the canyon and the sandstone fins beyond is awe inspiring. There is also some of Moab’s best slick-rock riding on Alaska. The trail even features a few natural rock berms that are unlike anything you’ve seen before. 

There are a few other cool trails that connect off Alaska, most notably Homer and Nome, which makes for many riding options if you are out North. The full Alaska trail itself finishes on the Mega Step section, which is one of the bumpier slick-rock sections in Moab and is super fun at speed. 

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