This fall, the adventure trend is all about biking. We’re seeing new bike trails and outfitters pop up all over the place right now. Head west – to Moab to Death Valley – for two of our favorite picks for the best fall bike trails.
Moab, Utah has become the undisputed hub for mountain bike enthusiasts by virtue of its beautiful red rock terrain, views that go on forever and trails that range from beginner to advanced and suit all riding abilities.
We’re huge fans of the folks at The Moab Adventure Center (The MAC, as the locals call it). They know their stuff when it comes to adventure, and in a place as rugged and wild as Moab, being with an experienced guide is key to having a fun and safe adventure.
Moab is currently going through a mountain bike trail building boom. It’s was already on the rise when we visited not long ago, but nearly 30 new trails or extensions of existing routes have been blazed over the past 18 months alone!
Claiming that it takes more than a week to ride all of the trails here, Trail Mix, the organization behind the commitment to increasing excitement levels for mountain bikers, says there are now trails for all levels so the whole family can enjoy a two-wheel vacation based in Moab.
Here are some of the new mountain bike trails created in 2013-2014 in and around Moab:
- Dead Horse Point West Side Trails: Crossroads, Whiptail, Prickly Pair, Twisted Tree. In 2013 the trail system was doubled in length. Dead Horse Point State Park now has 17 miles of singletrack. The Park is located approximately 30 miles from Moab.
- Amasa Back Area: Captain Ahab and HyMasa. The Amasa Back Trail is a jeep trail that climbs about 1,000 feet to a mesa top overlooking the Colorado River and the Kane Creek Anticline. A short bike ride from town, this trail is challenging and fun for experienced mountain bikers.
- Klondike additions: Alaska, Homer, Nome, Jurrasic, Inside Passage, Chilkoot Pass, Miner’s Loop, Dino Flow N. Extension. The Klondike Bluffs Trail represents a step up in terms of exertion and skills required, but is still enjoyable for fit novice mountain bikers. The route follows a jeep trail across Moab Member slickrock imprinted with fossilized dinosaur tracks. The jeep trail terminates at the boundary of Arches National Park, where a short hike leads to the top of the bluffs and an impressive viewpoint.
- Moab Brands: Sidewinder, Escape, couple of short spur connector trails. Take U.S. 191 North about 8 miles to the Bar-M Chuckwagon; turn right to enter the Bar-M private parking lot. Choose from a variety of family and novice-friendly trails over varied terrain. There are some moderately difficult single track and slickrock sections as well.
- Navajo Rocks: This is off Hwy 313; the first 7 miles are complete; another 9 miles are planned, all providing an intermediate ride with aerobic climbs, heart-skipping descents and moderately smooth cross-country travel. An average grade is about 6% with 5 or 6 stretches exceeding 15%.
- Klonzo II: South Unit: Roller Coaster, The Red Hot, Midway, Hot Dog, Houdini, Zoltar, Top Spin, Carousel, Wizard, Gypsy, Magician, (and coming soon the new Gravitron Trail off of Wahoo). The trailhead for the Klonzo Trails is on the Willow Springs Road approximately 12 miles north of Moab. This trail system currently has 7 trails mostly for intermediate skill level.
- Gold Bar Rim – aka Blue Dot: The BLM has this trail to build. There will be some changes and short re-routes around an archaeology site and one re route for a better line to the old Blue Dot, hopefully done by the end of the year. Technically it’s not legal to ride yet with a surface all slickrock along shallow drainages.
Not ready for the colder temps? Head to Death Valley National Park via Las Vegas with Bicycle Adventures — a Pacific Northwest-based active travel company that specializes in two-wheel tours in North America, Hawaii’s Big Island and New Zealand who just announced a series of four-day biking tours in October and November.
Death Valley National Park protects the northwest corner of the Mojave Desert, spanning the border of California and Nevada, and Badwater Basin at 282 feet below sea level – the lowest point in North America. The region receives two inches or less of rain annually. Late fall temperatures range from the 70s to 90s. The region is home to more than 1,000 species of plants found only here (more than 50 are endemic).
Unrivaled diversity of terrain includes 200 miles of eerie salt flats, velvety-looking sand dunes, crazy-stripe badlands, deep canyons and snow-tipped mountains. Riders will cycle on average 30 miles a day, sometimes past abandoned mines, and they may fit in a round of golf at the world’s lowest elevation course, go horseback riding or just sit in the sun by the pool at Furnace Creek Resort.