The mountain biking trails of Moab, Utah, are suitable for all experience levels. // © 2011 Moab Adventure Center
For years, the terrain of Moab, Utah, has been a favorite of bike and nature enthusiasts. However, beginning mountain bikers of all ages can also enjoy the region’s easily accessible mountain bike trails and the historic Native American rock art sites that line the paths.
“It doesn’t get much better than a day of mountain biking in Moab and exploring in the red rock landscapes of Arches and Canyonlands National Parks,” said Brandon Lake, co-founder of Moab Adventure Center, a division of the 50-year-old adventure company, Western River Expeditions. “Moab’s unique combination of small resort town hospitality, beautiful scenery and the cool waters of the Colorado River have made it one of the most sought after destinations in all of the Southwest.”
The one-mile Intrepid Trail Loop in Dead Horse Point State Park is one of the few dirt single-track systems recommended for families with young children. Another easy ride, which is also part of this particular loop system, is the four-mile Great Pyramid Loop for riders with some experience at shifting on dirt trails. The nine-mile Big Chief Loop ties the two trails together with a few challenges, but most of the trail can be ridden with a single-gear bike.
Part workout, part history and nature lesson, biking in the greater Moab area can reveal petroglyph panels of abstract shapes, animals and human figures, created by the Native Americans some 1,500 years ago. For example, on the north side of the Colorado River, bikers can spot the impressive Potash Road petroglyph panels that decorate blackened, sheer cliff faces.
Another close site, the Kane Creek panels, beyond the mouth of Moon Flower Canyon, displays petroglyphs of ancient figures, desert bighorn sheep and a number of artistic shapes.
The greater Moab region is also known for a number of unusual biking events. This year’s lineup includes:
Gran Fondo (May 7)
The challenging Gran Fondo is not a race. Rather, it is a competition of stamina in which riders climb 5,550 feet up the La Sal Mountains. The top five riders (men and women compete separately) will be recognized for reaching the top of the 60-mile pass.
Moab Triathlon Festival (May 14-15)
New this year, this two-day event will take place in the Ken’s Lake area. It will include an Xterra off-road triathlon, Xterra trail run, a road triathlon and a triathlon for kids.
Rockwell Relay (June 10-11)
The Rockwell Relay is a road cycling race in which teams of four cyclists take to the road in relay format and race to the finish using the back roads between Moab and St. George, Utah.
Moab Ho Down (Oct. 27-30)
This colorful mountain bike festival, sponsored by Chile Pepper Bikes, takes place during Halloween weekend. Costumed riders parade around town, participate in a dirt jump, sample a variety of hot chili peppers and compete in a downhill race. Festival goers can also watch independent films over the weekend as part of Moab’s Mountain Bike Film Festival.