Southern Utah Riding: Part 2

posted in: Tales from Trails | 0
Portal
Portal

After an amazing week of riding in and around the St. George/Hurricane area, we packed up our bikes and headed for Moab. Arriving late Sunday afternoon and with temperatures reaching 32 degree Celsius, we took a break from our bikes and settled in to our surroundings; planning our rides for the week.

Monday started with a ride on Poison Spider Mesa over to the Portal. Poison Spider is one of many popular trails shared with Jeep goers, but this particular day we found the trail to be nice and quiet. A fun ride that offers some great views and cool slick rock riding, Poison Spider can be ridden as an out and back or loop. Our ride was a loop combined with the Portal. The Portal is a “death” defying ride; no kidding. It hugs the rim and has some HUGE exposure for about 3 km of trail. After which point it turns into a downhiller’s/freerider’s dream run. To be completely honest, this ride scares the crap out of me on the exposed bits, but I really love the bottom freeride portion. I’ve done it twice now and I swear this will be my last time; having survived it.

Poison Spider
Poison Spider
Poison Spider
Poison Spider

Tuesday we headed out to one of the most popular shuttle trails in Moab, Porcupine Rim. Most of the snow at altitude has started to melt and we were lucky enough to begin our shuttle at the Kokopelli Down. It’s not the highest point one can shuttle from; however, starting at 2,500 metres and with over 28 kilometers, when combined with UPS/LPS and Porcupine, this is a shuttle well worth doing. We had a blast cruising down the singletrack and doubletrack trails. A must do for anyone visiting the area.

Kokopelli Down
Kokopelli Down
Porcupine Rim
Porcupine Rim
Porcupine Rim
Porcupine Rim

The rest of the week was spent exploring some of the new trails at the Moab Brand Trails riding area, also referred to by the locals as the Bar M trails, and the Klondike Bluff trails. Both areas are a great way to introduce new and experienced riders to slick rock. Both areas offer beginner to advanced trails; suited for the kids if traveling with the family and are a great warm up if this is your first ride of the season.

Moab Brand Trails
Moab Brand Trails
Moab Brand Trails
Moab Brand Trails

But no visit to Moab would be complete without a day on Amasa Back. This trail is popular among the local riders and tends to be busy this time of year. A new extension to the Amasa Back trail is the Pothole Arch; found at the end of Amasa Back and well worth doing. This new trail combines some sweet singletrack with a cool ride up to the Point (lookout) on red rock. From there you can turn back around or take one of the newly built advanced trails down to the bottom (Jackson’s Trail or Rockstacker). We rode back the way we came, enjoying every bit of our descent after having to climb up the grueling ascent.

Amasa Back
Amasa Back
Amasa Back
Amasa Back
Pothole Arch
Pothole Arch

Over the course of next week I’ll be adding all the rides ridden in Moab and St. George to bikepirate, stay tuned for the trail page postings to help you plan your next trip south.

Places to stay

Moab’s main street offers an abundance of choices in lodging, most being budget conscience options, and a few higher end Inns are also available just of the main street. There are also plenty of camping and cabin options available. Note that most weekends are busy in Moab so booking ahead is highly recommended.

Bowen Motel -This bike friendly motel is conveniently located in the middle on Main Street. The rooms are basic, but new carpet, tiles and flat screen TV along with the great cleanliness provided by housekeeping make this a very comfortable place to call home for a few days while riding in Moab. We really enjoyed the proximity to local restaurants, cafes and shops allowing us to park the car and leave it behind while exploring the downtown. The owner of Bowen Motel is definitely in tune with bikers’ needs; providing a bike wash station in the parking lot, a bin full of clean rags, and a small bucket of rags in each room specifically for use on bikes.

Places to eat or hang out

Again Moab’s main street has a wide variety of places to dine or grab a coffee and read a book or catch up with the real world on your lap top. Here are a few of our personal favorites;

The Moab Brewery – North American – Moab’s only Micro Brewery. Offer a wide selection of their very own micro brews, along with other domestic and imported beers.  A huge menu that will satisfy any palette, whether you are looking for a quick snack or a full scale meal.  $$

Pasta Jays – Italian – A great pasta joint, large delicious portions of pasta served with hot garlic bread. The outdoor patio is a popular place and is full most evenings. Great food at a great price.  $$$

Eddie McStiff’s – North American –This place offers a large menu that has everything from salads, burgers, steaks and even a few veggie options. Known for their mojitos and cheekily named guest drafts (a Polygamy Porter anyone), we suggest taking some time to have a pint on their busy patio while viewing the bustling local scene that always seems to be unfolding in the surrounding parking lot. $$

Love Muffin Café – Café/Breakfast – A bustling café that is a local’s favorite for a cup of coffee and delicious breakfast. Offering a vast selection of muffins, baked daily, waffles, and other classic breakfast dishes, this place is perfect for a quick bit before you head out for a day on the trails. $

Jail House Café – Breakfast – If you have a bit more time for a sit down breakfast prior to your ride, and want to splurge on breakfast, the Jail House Café is a great place to visit. They have two large outdoor dining areas and an indoor dining room and are known for their Eggs Benny. They also make the most delicious Swedish Pancakes. Only open for Breakfast.  $$$

Happy Trails!

Read Part 1: Southern Utah Riding