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Moab's 5 Best Intermediate Mountain Bike Trails Taking a trip to Moab to experience its world-renown ..Read more
Taking a trip to Moab to experience its world-renowned mountain bike trails? TripOutside has done the research for you! Below are our recommendations for the top 5 intermediate Moab bike trails. We have ridden every one of these trails and are only making these recommendations based on our own experience. These trails are all rideable in a day, with scenery varying from red rock towers to cliffs, canyons, and mesas. Read on to find out more about how to experience Moab, Utah’s best mountain bike trails.
One important note on Moab mountain biking trails. Intermediate trails here cannot be compared to intermediate trails in other places. The ratings are relevant only to the Moab region trails. Some of the intermediate-rated trails can feel like a black diamond / advanced trail if you’re not used to riding the rocky terrain. Having said that, most of the trail networks have a great mix of beginner, intermediate, and advanced trails. If you’re looking for a trail system that has lots of options for everyone, we recommend the Bar-M (also known as Moab Brand trails) or the Klondike Bluffs trail system. You’ll find everything from buttery smooth to extra spicy trails here.
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The Navajo Rocks loop trail system is an easy 25-minute (20-mile) drive from Moab – you head north on highway 191 and turn West on highway 313. The popular loop combines 5 incredible trails for 17.4 miles of flowy singletrack with lots of short climbs and descents but nothing too intense. As you ride, you will hug a huge mesa on the Big Mesa trail, ride Slickrock domes on Ramblin, hit some rock gardens on Rocky Tops, shred the downhill on Coney Island, and pedal exposed slickrock on the Big Lonely.
The loop is a figure 8 shape, making it easy to cut it short and ride only half if you are crunched on time or energy. The entire 17 miles are one of our favorite intermediate trails in Moab since it includes lots of flowy singletrack with some technical sections dispersed throughout, which are easily walkable for beginners and a nice challenge for intermediate riders. The scenery can’t be beaten – you will be surrounded by the famous Moab red rock for much of the ride. Don’t forget to bring tons of water, you will need more than you think! See trail on Trailforks.
The Klondike Bluffs trailhead north of town on highway 191 has something for everyone – from beginner to expert. Our favorite intermediate trails at this trail system are Dino Flow and Alaska trails. We spent a week camped at the BLM nearby and were able to ride every trail, and they are all pretty fantastic, but these two specifically shouldn’t be missed.
Dino Flow provides a great warmup with no long climbs or descents – just a fast, flowy 5.4-mile singletrack that snakes between boulders with several slickrock sections. It is a ton of fun in either direction. We rode the Alaska trail uphill, which was a fun little workout, but may be even more fun downhill for those looking for speed. There are some flowy sections with big boulders thrown in to remind you that you are in Moab, but the scenery was some of the best we’ve encountered anywhere. When you get to the top of Alaska, you ride along a ridge with incredible views for miles across the remote northern side of Arches National Park that many don’t see. To finish the loop, take Mega Steps (intermediate/advanced) or Baby Steps (beginner/intermediate) back down. See trail network on Trailforks.
The Amasa Back trails are some of the closest trails to town (rideable by bike) and what HyMasa trail lacks in distance (1.8 miles one way), it makes up for in views. Intermediate riders can ride Lower HyMasa, part of Cliff Hanger (advanced trail but easily walkable if needed), and then HyMasa for a 2.5 mile ride, and then turn around and ride it back for a whole new view. More advanced riders can make it a loop by connecting HyMasa to Captain Ahab – a rocky, technical trail that will challenge most riders. The views of the surrounding Kane Creek area are spectacular – high red rock walls and buttes with the La Sal Mountains peeking out from behind. See trail on Trailforks.
Moab Brand trails is a relatively newer trail system in Moab, and is one of the closest to town, just 11 miles north on highway 191. Also called Bar M trails, the system features about 40 miles of singletrack for all levels of riders. Most trails are flowy with little climbing but lots of fantastic slickrock riding.
There are mostly beginner and intermediate trails here, with one 3-mile advanced trail, Deadmans (a fun trail with several rocky sections that can be easily walked if needed). North 40 is a great intermediate loop that takes you through quintessential Moab terrain – some rocky areas and short punchy hills with just enough technical sections to get you warmed up. It’s a blast ridden either way. Circle O trail brings you to quite a different terrain – out onto the slickrock where you follow the painted line on the rock while taking in views of Arches National Park in the distance. See trail network.
We would be remiss if we didn’t include Porcupine Rim in our list, although it is more of a challenge than the other rides on the list. Porcupine Rim trail is the last section of the Whole Enchilada – an epic, 34-mile ride that starts high up in the La Sal Mountains at 11K feet, and descends almost 8K feet to the Colorado River. The entire Whole Enchilada trail is best to ride late in summer or early fall when most of the snow at the top has melted, whereas the 14-mile Porcupine Rim trail can be ridden most of the year. Most people shuttle to the top, and there are several shuttle companies in town to choose from.
This must-ride trail in Moab is mostly downhill and can typically be ridden in an hour or two, but taking in the stunning views of the Castle Valley can extend the ride. Parts of the trail are doubletrack, and parts are fast, rockin’ downhill with technical rock gardens along the way. This backcountry ride starts in the pinon pines and descends down many broken slickrock sections (we recommend renting a full suspension bike for this ride!) to several overlooks that allow 360-degree views across the sandstone landscape. From there the trail turns to tight, twisty singletrack with techy rock sections scattered throughout and glimpses of the Colorado River far below. You finish the ride at the river near Grandstaff Trailhead, and can take the paved path back into town. See trail map.
Whichever trail you choose, Moab trail systems will not disappoint. Enjoy your ride!
If you are looking for more outdoor adventure in Moab, check out our climbing, canyoneering and rafting trips!