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Moab Trip

This topic contains 6 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  fietser 4 years, 4 months ago.

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    Hey everyone,

    I’ve got a work trip to Salt Lake City in August, and then have three days afterwards to do whatever I want. So, I am planning to hop the one hour flight from SLC to Moab, and fit in as much riding, bouldering and paddling as I can before I have to get back home.

    I’m wondering who has advice on what to see/do/ride.

    I’m planning to rent a bike (booking that over the weekend I expect, as well as accoms), but want to see if there are any particular recomendations anyone has.

    In this case, I’d like to skip renting a car, and instead use the bike and shuttle services to get around. I’m less inclined to spend on luxury accoms, in favour of more money for beer and burritos.

    Heat is a concern. I’ve ridden across three African deserts in high heat, but that was a while ago, so any acclimation is long gone, and of course, Moab is high up, elevation-wise. So safety advice is also welcome.

    Anyway, throw your recomendations out there! Thanks in advance!



    Hey @dean-campbell I was out that way 2 years ago so I will offer some advice, for what it is worth – not sure if you have booked stuff (I was at the 24hr on the weekend so ‘unplugged’).

    Anyway, we were in Moab about the same time of year as you and it is stupid hot. If I may make a suggestion, I know you mentioned bouldering and paddling but if I were you I would forget the trip to Moab and stick in the SLC area specifically – head to Park City just over the mountains. Honestly, some of the best riding and wicked fun (ski, bike) towns I have visited. There are MANY bike options rights from town and you can actually use their (free) transit system to shuttle the trails. It was funny to see guys in full DH gear using the City bus to shuttle laps before work. The Wasatch Crest Trail is a must do in my opinion – actually there isn’t a trail we rode in Park City that I wouldn’t recommend. We spent 4 days riding there (one lift day at Deer Valley) and would have gladly spent more time and I will definitely be back in the future. You definitely do not need a car once you are in Park City – that is one big bonus. Oh, and the local beer options were way better in PC, there is also a Whiskey Distillery in town that made for a rather ‘fun’ evening.

    Given that there are actually trees around (and the elevation) it is significantly ‘cooler’ in PC than the riding in Moab – we actually left Moab early because it was just too hot to ride. Plus, on our trip it was more of a stop off and check the box to say we had ridden there. Felt we couldn’t miss it since we had flown in to Vegas and it was technically on the way.

    However, if you have already locked into Moab my suggests are as follows:
    Ride early (or late). We tried to be on the trail for sun up but weren’t bound to shuttles so we had that luxury. For example, we road Slick Rock trail at sunset – still stinking hot but at least manageable.
    Bring LOTS of water on each ride – 3L on the back and we froze a waterbottle. There is not shade on most trails. I can’t stress this enough – you are hella’ exposed out there.
    Book your shuttles early. We almost missed out riding the Whole Enchilada because we waited – it is a pretty grueling ride so I would also recommend doing it early in your trip.
    My favourite ride was probably Poison Spider to Portal – gives a pretty good Moab experience wrapped into one ride in my opinion slick-rock, exposure, heat and desert.
    After a morning ride we went to Arches National Park which was pretty neat to check out.
    Most afternoons we spent seeking shade and lounging by the pool at our hotel… it was about all we could muster.

    In my opinion you are much more bound to a car in Moab. Given the heat and distances to the trailheads riding out is not really an option, in my opinion.

    So yeah, not one to try and change your mind and all this may be too little to late but if you haven’t booked I would highly recommend weighing your options to check out Park City. Truth be told I would have no intention of heading back to Moab but I would head back to Park City in a heartbeat. Happy to answer any other questions you may have.

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    Hey @dean.Campbell I was in Moab a few years ago in late August, and absolutely loved it. Like fietser says, the weather/exposure there is no joke so ride prepared. I went from mild heat stroke one day (there is literally no shade on some trails) to mild hypothermia the next with just light rain @11,000 ft in the La Sal mountains. Basically, bring as much water as you can carry and nake sure to do a little research/planning in advance.

    I highly recommend doing the Whole Enchilada. It was incredible. Starts with Alpine singletrack at Burro Pass in the mountains, descends to more technical rock riding beside Castle Valley, and ends beside the Colorado river after the super fun Porcupine Rim trail. We had great luck using Enchilada Shuttles. Kyle and Hedi are incredibly friendly, and both possess superhuman bike skills if you ever get the chance to ride with them. Cannot recommend them enough. We met some good people on that shuttle, and ended up with a really good group of 6 purely by chance.

    Poison Spider rents the best bikes, but I did not have a good experience with them and I’ll leave it at that. I would never go back there.

    We had a car, but never used it when riding. You’ll need a shuttle to do the Whole Enchilada for sure, and basically all the other trails we rode our bikes to. It’s true you probably want to ride early. What worked for us is we would usually do a ride at first light, then have some burritos and lounge by the pool mid-day and head out again late afternoon.

    Finally, Love Muffin cafe in town is a must! Breakfast or lunch.

    Have fun!

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    Thanks guys.

    I’m torn on whether to stick my Moab plan, or head to Park City… Both are options, but in both cases, I haven’t been able to coax anyone to join me (too last minute and at three days, kind of short).

    So basically, trying to decide if it will be easier to connect with other riders in one place vs another.

    Moab is for sure on the list, but wondering if I am better off saving it for a cooler time of year.



    I would still like to make this trip. Rode there after Interbike one year and it was great. Was a month later than your proposed dates and while it was hot, it was manageable with water and breaks. Just jammed right now so hard to plan anything like this.



    I’ve heard great things about Park City and fietser has been to both so you should probably lean toward his recommendation. However, if you want to do the Whole Enchilada, consider that because of snow the top section (Burro Pass) is only usually open from late June to mid-September. Bit of a strange thing to worry about snow riding in a blazing hot desert, but there you go.



    So basically, trying to decide if it will be easier to connect with other riders in one place vs another.

    This is a good point @dean-campbell. When we were in Moab there were actually far fewer riders (likely because of the heat) than there were 4×4 guys. As it turns our Moab is a huge destination for built up trucks/ ATVs etc. as well. I guess when you have A/C in the desert time of year is less of an issue.

    Park City on the other hand it was pretty easy to hook up with other riders by stopping into shops or on the trails. We actually ended up riding with some guys from Switzerland that we later met up and rode with in Fruita. The shops in Park City were super helpful. We frequented these guys (http://whitepinetouring.com) and ended up joining them for their free Thurs night ride and BBQ. We weren’t renting but their rental fleet was top notch!

    Not sure if I mentioned it previously but it was also cool to actually see what an IMBA Gold Level Ride Center was all about ( https://www.imba.com/ride-centers/current/park-city).

    If I weren’t already slated for a 10 trip to BC you could have definitely coaxed me to head back to PC – SLC was actually a pretty cool town as well come to think of it. Do yourself a favour and go here (http://www.beerbarslc.com/#about) when you are in Salt Lake City – you won’t regret it.

    However, if you want to do the Whole Enchilada, consider that because of snow the top section (Burro Pass) is only usually open from late June to mid-September

    This is a very valid point @marley brings up about snow pretty tight window in there.

    For me Moab was more about the nostalgia than anything – we actually only stopped to ride there because it was basically on route back to Vegas from Fruita where we had been riding. It was cool to say I have ridden in Moab from a historical point of view since it was one of the epicenters for riding back in the day but, in my opinion, the trails also reflect that. My friend had been there back in the mid 90’s and it was funny – we were trying to put our finger on why Moab just didn’t have that ‘WOW’ factor that we might have been expecting. We came up with the notion that back when many of these trails were built people were riding them on rigid or front sus only bikes – which don’t get me wrong was awesome at the time, but we have progressed a lot since then. I guess for us, having just come from ‘newer’ zones like Park City and Fruita it just didn’t compete – just my opinion though. Dollar for dollar Park City was a much greater all around experience.

    At the end of the day, either way you are going to be riding bikes and having a great time so really it comes down to personal choice – I would argue both are ‘must do’ destinations but for very different reasons. Hope the info helps and doesn’t confuse the matter. Not here to change your mind just trying to make the most out of your 3 day window.

    Bike trips (next to ski trips) rule!

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