Mountain Biking in Moab, Utah
Your next adventure: Moab Utah
Where in the world?: US
Activity: Mountain Biking
Difficulty: Moab has tracks that suit every level of experience, from beginners to the experienced.
Wrap up: Moab is home to several National Parks and is known for the best mountain biking. Let Moab be your base camp for world famous mountain biking, hiking, four wheel driving, or river trips of any length and experience level.
A Bit About Moab
Moab is home to some of the best mountain biking on the planet!
Sometime around the Late Triassic period (228 – 199 million years ago) the Navajo Sandstone layer was deposited. Nowadays, this exposed layer has a surface much like sandpaper, which allows bike tires to grip readily on all but the steepest hills. It is these characteristics that draw people from all over the world to this mountain biking heaven.
There are hundreds of trails which you can ride on, from easy rolling rides, to some of the most difficult XC & DH biking you are likely to encounter. Most of the rides can start right from town, although it may require pedalling a few kilometers before reaching the trailhead – and others will require you to jump on a shuttle and get a lift out.
Moab is a popular destination with families and gets incredibly busy during holiday periods. There are various options for accommodation ranging from high-end hotels, to fully serviced caravan parks, to primitive camping spots dotted throughout the area. Most are within easy driving range to town – where possible try to book in advance.
There are parts
of the Utah desert that will remind you of the Australian Outback. The earth
has a reddish tint, it is dry and in summer it is HOT!
The temperatures in Moab can range from pleasant and mild to something resembling a nuclear meltdown! July is by far the hottest month, with an average temperature of 35°C; although this seems quite reasonable when the highs during July can reach a scorching 47°C .
Some Tips from an Expert
Moab has more bike shops per square kilometre than any other city I have ever seen! When you come here there is no need to bring your own bike. The latest high end, full suspension bikes can easily be rented in town for a single day or the duration of your entire trip. All other necessities can be purchased right in town, but remember that this is tourist destination and the prices certainly reflect that.
Depending which trail you decide to tackle, there are often long sections of downhill, which will work your arms and upper body. In some places the riding can be very technical so a good level of bike handling is recommended.
As with any adventure you are looking into, do some research and look out for trails that sound interesting to you. You can also walk into any bike shop and ask the staff for some recommendations. Start with some easy rides until you figure out how to navigate through this unique landscape.
Must Have Gear
If you plan to go riding, there are a couple of essentials:
- If you own your own cycling shoes bring them, all rental shops will have the adequate pedals to put on the bike you choose. Your shoes should be broken in, comfortable and most importantly, you should be comfortable getting in and out of your pedals really quickly!
- A hydration bladder is essential! Some trails require a lot of climbing; others are just so long you will need to keep hydrated!
- The other important thing is to take some snacks and a rain jacket just in case you get caught up in a desert squall.
For Something Other than Mountain Biking:
With more things to do and see, and more tours to take part on, you will certainly need a holiday from this holiday!
You may come to Moab for its world class Mountain Biking, but you will not want to leave for its incredible beauty. In just a 30 minute drive from downtown Moab, you can reach the Arches National Park and Canyon Lands National Park, two favourite parks in the US. These national parks illustrate some of the most interesting geology in this part of the world.
If geology is not your thing and you're looking at something more active and don't mind getting wet, go white water rafting on the mighty Colorado river. With world-class rapids you can take day and multi-day trips, which leave right outside of Moab.
Take a tour around the Fiery Furnace or the San Rafael Swell (A guide is recommended! People get lost in these slot canyons yearly, some never to be seen again) and discover some of the hideouts occupied by outlaws of bygone eras.
There are numerous, well-marked hiking trails scattered all over the place. The visitor's center in Moab has a list and descriptions of these trails. Most can be done as short day hikes, but allow plenty of time to explore the number of washes, arches and dunes you will come across.
In recent years, Moab has started to attract a number of Jeep and ATV (All Terrain Vehicles) enthusiasts. There are a number of well-marked trails, which allow you to access far, and remote places in relative ease. If this interests you, chat to a local tour operator and ensure that you follow regulations to minimise impact to the fragile and very unique flora around Moab.
After all that, if you've had enough of the desert, don't forget that within a 4 hour drive east or west you can be skiing in places like Aspen, Vail, Beaver Creek, Deer Valley, Alta and Snowbird to mention just a few!
Cesar Piotto for sharing his knowledge and experience of Mountain Biking in Moab Utah.
Cesar is an extremely experienced adventurer. He has lived in Aspen for more than 10 years, spending his winters as a Ski trainer and his summers as a raft and Mountain bike guide.
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