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  1. #1
    Trailblazer Mikkael's Avatar
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    Moab Mountain Biking (suggestions/help)

    Hi,

    I am planning a trip to the Southwest USA between the 14th and the 31st of October and intend to stay the first week in Moab, UT. Being a passionate Mountain biker, I want to spend most of this time mountain biking the famous Moab-trails, if possible on a multi-day-tour with guides and some other bikers. In order to arrange the itinerary for the rest of my stay, I thought of booking MTB-Tours in advance:

    Here are a few questions to local bikers (or ones who've been there), any help would be appreciated:

    1. I'd love to ride the "3-day-white rim" or "4-day-the maze" as well as a few daily breaks around Moab. Should I rent a bike (More suspension or maybe an enduro?) or bring my own (it's a TREK FUEL 95 with a Fox Float 120 mm front susp.)?

    2. Is it a good idea to book bike tours in advance ( they are pricey, eg. Escape Adventures, Rim Tours etc.) or consult other local bike-shops on the arrival for last-minute prices? Any recommendations?

    3. Clothing and "must-bring items": How's the weather in October?

    4. Any other suggestions; for example about where to stay in Moab?

    Thanks a lot!

    Mikkael
    Ride consistently. Uphill. Downhill. Level ground. Push yourself.
    Focus more on your frequency. Oh, and of course, have fun!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pedal Wench's Avatar
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    Can't help with most questions (we were hiking there) but we stayed at the Big Horn Lodge. Clean+cheap+simple=GOOD!

  3. #3
    1/2 a binding 1/2 a brain telenick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikkael
    1. I'd love to ride the "3-day-white rim" or "4-day-the maze" as well as a few daily breaks around Moab. Should I rent a bike (More suspension or maybe an enduro?) or bring my own (it's a TREK FUEL 95 with a Fox Float 120 mm front susp.)?

    2. Is it a good idea to book bike tours in advance ( they are pricey, eg. Escape Adventures, Rim Tours etc.) or consult other local bike-shops on the arrival for last-minute prices? Any recommendations?

    3. Clothing and "must-bring items": How's the weather in October?

    4. Any other suggestions; for example about where to stay in Moab?

    Mikkael
    Hi Mikkael,

    I've been to Moab numerous times over the past 20 years. I'm about 3.5 hours drive time away, so it's been a great get-away for many 2-5 day trips over the years.

    The White Rim and The Maze are going to require a permit for overnight. You might be disappointed to find that you need to schedule your permit many months in advance. But call and see if there's an opening. You might find a tour operator that has a permit for the days you want. Another option is riding The White Rim in a day (~120 miles) without dropping two cars. I'm going to do my first overnighter this September on the White Rim. All the other times were in a day.

    Although there are many places to rent very nice bikes from in Moab, I would bring my own if it's not a hassle. Flying with a bike is a hassle, IMO. If you're going to rent, check out Dream Bikes on Center Street. They have some very chi-chi bikes to rent and they do tours as well.

    If you're going to have a car, I wouldn't bother with a tour. Get the book Above and Beyond Slickrock and you'll have a very good guide of rides in the area plus a very nice reference of the area for coffee table talk with friends. Don't try to navigate rides without some sort of map and written guide. You'll get lost very easily. But with a discription of turns and landmarks, you'll be fine. A cyclometer will come in very handy since many ride descriptions will navigate by mileage. Practically none of the rides will require a 4x4 to get to the trailhead. If you are going the tour route for sure then I wouldn't wait until arriving to book. Moab is a small town with small town attitudes and small town pace of life. October isn't the height of the tourist season even though Fall is an awesome time to ride there. You might find that some operations are running pretty lean with resources like staff, bikes and so forth during the "off" season.

    As you know, weather is hard to predict so far in advance. It can snow in Moab during that time but it's not likely. More than likely it's going to be 40 F at night and 65-85 F in the day. The White Rim will be much warmer (by about 10 degrees.) Plan on facing everything from wind, rain, snow and blistering heat. So, bring gear for getting wet and being cold as well as a couple of sleeveless jerseys too.

    There are so many places to stay in Moab it's not funny. But since it's going to be the weekend of The 24 hours of Moab (October 16th & 17th) I would reserve before you arrive. I usually camp when I go to Moab/Fruita. But I've stayed at the Red Rocks Inn, Holiday Inn, Off Center Hotel (very funky place) and some others I can't remember. The Camber of Commerce can do you much better with this than I can.

    If you have time, stop by and check out the race. Definitely plan a day to hike in Arches Natl. Park (no mtb bike trails.)

    Some of my favorite rides are:
    -Amasa Back-moderate
    -Jackass Canyon to the Porcupine Rim and then back down Jackass Canyon - Difficult
    Or as a whole loop up Sand Flats road to the water tanks and then up to Porcupine Rim down Jackass and back to town.
    -Slick Rock - difficult. Although this gets lots of tourist types, it is an amazing experience to ride on the petrified sand stone. It has amazing views and the whole slickrock area is humongous. The trail is marked by white paint and cairns.
    -White Rim - moderate/easy but long.
    -Klondike Bluffs-moderate/easy. You'll be able to see lots of really cool dinosaur foot prints. At the end of the ride hike the extra 1/4 mile to the edge of Arches Natl. Park to veiw the bluffs up close.

    You'll need to learn what a cairn is to help navigate rides. Basically, they're rocks stacked up to provide a visual marker. You'll also want to know what cryptobiotic soil is too. Basically it's everywhere and you don't want to step on it. Google it so you'll be in the know and not get busted for busting the crust.

    Have fun,
    Nick
    Last edited by telenick; 08-13-04 at 01:25 PM.

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    If you plan to camp on the White Rim you need to make reservations far in advance. I suspect it's too late by now. You'd need to contact Canyonlands Natl Park. It's an amazing ride.

  5. #5
    Trailblazer Mikkael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by telenick
    Have fun, Nick
    Superb information, Nick! Thanks a lot!

    Well, I'll be flying app. 14-15 hrs to Salt Lake City (from Germany) and driving about 5 to 6 hrs. to Moab from there. I'll definitely take everything easy on the first day, check out the 24-hour-race and possibly hike the Arches. If on sync, I'll definitely consider riding the local trails like Slickrock or Amasa on the second or the third day, finally joining an organized multi-day-tour (most probably "3-day-White Rim" or "The Maze" incl. NP permits).

    Relying on your tips (and on some those from various adventure guides about the region), I decided to camp, instead of booking a hotel room in or around Moab (the 14th and the 15th of Oct. are already fully booked). The second decision I've made, is to bring my own bike with me and use GPS (as a secondary option to coffee table talk ). Some of the trails (for which I'll also be coming for) are not the easiest ones, so there won't be much room for experimenting. I am considering to rent a SUV, so that I'll have plenty of room for the bike, even without a bike rack. This would also give me the option eventually to bike in some other places during the second week of my road trip.

    Saving all this money (no hotels, no bike rentals etc.) will possibly end up in buying lots of T-shirts and souvenirs!


    Mikkael
    Ride consistently. Uphill. Downhill. Level ground. Push yourself.
    Focus more on your frequency. Oh, and of course, have fun!

  6. #6
    Trailblazer Mikkael's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by telenick
    As you know, weather is hard to predict so far in advance. It can snow in Moab during that time but it's not likely. More than likely it's going to be 40 F at night and 65-85 F in the day. The White Rim will be much warmer (by about 10 degrees.) Plan on facing everything from wind, rain, snow and blistering heat. So, bring gear for getting wet and being cold as well as a couple of sleeveless jerseys too.
    How about rain? Lots of rain or would it be enough to bring "Windstoppers"?

    Thanx, Mikkael
    Ride consistently. Uphill. Downhill. Level ground. Push yourself.
    Focus more on your frequency. Oh, and of course, have fun!

  7. #7
    Stand For Something mntbikedude's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mikkael
    How about rain? Lots of rain or would it be enough to bring "Windstoppers"?

    Thanx, Mikkael
    I live just north of Moab and it is usually a beautiful time of year. I would come prepared for rain and even snow but exspect mostly nice sunny balmy days.
    One suggestion on camping, try to camp at least one night in Arches National Park, it is a magical place. On busy weekends the trick is showing up at around 5:30 am and wait in line. They hand out the available sites at I believe 8:00 am. Another favorite places to camp is along the river. Turn left right after you cross the bridge coming into Moab.

    Certainly we hope you enjoy your stay in Utah, I think we have an awesome state and over all Utahns are friendly and are usually very willing to help.

    MBD

  8. #8
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    Hi Mikkael. I live in Salt Lake and spend alot of time climbing and biking in the Moab area. I think you'll have a great time. I would highly recommend you rent an SUV rather than a sedan. You can get to alot of great places in a sedan, but the beauty of Moab is the more remote places that an SUV will open up to you. Camping with an SUV is better too. The drive down from Salt Lake is an easy 4 hours without speeding. Don't drive more than 70mph or so especially between Price and Green River.

    Telenick's ride recommendations are good. Slick Rock is a "must do." Porcupine is very good also and will provide views of Castle Valley, the Professor Valley, and the Fisher Towers. You can ride Porcupine as a 35-mile loop from Moab via the Sand Flats Road (past Slick Rock). You can also get a shuttle to the trailhead and ride back into town via the river road. Amasa Back is excellent. From town you can ride Flat Pass or Kanes Springs Canyon and its spur trails, including Amasa Back. Gemini Bridges, Poison Spider, and the Gold Bar Rim and its spurs are also good. You will absolutely love the White Rim. If you camp at White Crack be sure to hike out to the end of the pedestals. The Top of the World trail is a steep ride to great views above the Fisher Towers.
    If you want solitude go to the Hatch Point campground south of Moab. There's a decent mtb ride there also to a viewpoint over Canyonlands. There is also riding further south in the Needles, and the drive through Indian Creek Canyon is wonderful.

    I recommend the Jailhouse Cafe in town for breakfast and coffee.

    I can provide more detailed info if you have specific questions. Good camping options would include the Sand Flats Road, the River Road both up and down river from Moab, Kane Springs Canyon, Courthouse Wash, alongside the road to Dead Horse Point, the Fisher Towers and Onion Creek. I wouldn't expect you'll have much trouble finding camping to your liking once you get oriented.

    You can refill water bottles at a roadside spring a few hundred feet up the river road from Moab.
    If you visit Arches, hike the Windows, Double-O and Delicate Arch trails. Take a tour of the Fiery Furnace.

    Enjoy.

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