TRAIL HAPPENINGS June 2012
Klondike Bluff Mountain Bike Trail System
Story and photos and map by Brooks Carter
When I started biking Klondike Bluff in 1998, it was a rough Jeep trail that went to someplace really cool—an amazing overlook in Arches NP. Today, it is a large trail system with tons of options and more extraordinary views.
While hiking several miles north of the original trail with some friends, we discovered a vast area of slickrock (part of the large Salt Valley anticline). We immediately thought this might be a great area to bike, but as we walked it, we found it dissected by gnarly canyons that seemed impossible to ride. However, with the help of Google Earth, I began to see ways to lay out some trails. The more I hiked the area, the more I became enchanted with it and its possibilities. My buddies suggested I contact Trail Mix, the local non-motorized trail advocacy group in Moab. Working together, we have been able todesign and build seven new trails in this interesting landscape.
The first one Trail Mix built, before I became involved, was called Baby Steps. It mainly follows existing Jeep trails but does incorporate two new singletrack, dirt sections. Check out the far north section for a killer downhill run!
I designed the next four trails and, with the help of one of our master trail builders, Scott Escott, they were built to be ridden in both directions. Consequently, they form a series of loops with a variety of route options to keep things interesting.
The EKG trail will test your heart as well as your technical skills. So to test yourself and your riding ability, give this intermediate/expert trail a shot, and see if you can “no dab” it. As you ride it, you may wonder, like many others, “how did he find a route through here?” It was often through walking in ever-larger circles, scratching my head a lot, and then realizing I couldn’t remember where I left my pack.
Little Salty was meant to form loops with other trails (my favorite way to get to the top of Mega Steps), but also as a bail trail—when I’m climbing it, I notice it is being used for that quite a bit. If you underestimate the time for a big loop including Salt Valley and need to get back to the trail head, you can zip down it for a woohoo shortcut back to the parking lot, or, if you have ridden EKG from the north and are, as my British clients say, “knackered” by the time you get to Little Salty, you can bail downhill and cruise back to the trailhead on one of two easier trails.
UFO, just completed this spring, is a fun connector from the Baby Steps singletrack to the more northern trails and is a great mix of wide-open Moab Tongue slickrock and dirt singletrack. It also runs right past UFO rock. Check it out!
Mega Steps is one of the favs according to the blogs. Describing the trail, people have said “fun,” “flowy,” “Had a blast . . !,” “feels like you’re a hundred miles from nowhere,” “very entertaining,” and “I love Mega Steps!” Riding the ridge at the top, you are treated to views of red rock cliffs in Eagle Park in Arches NP. Then enjoy the rush of dropping downhill through the big open slickrock area.
Three less technical trails designed by Sandy and Geoff Freethey have been opened this year. Dino Flow (intermediate/beginner) is a hoot and parallels EKG for almost five miles. Jasper and Agate (beginner) have opened this spring, with cool views and beautiful rocks along the way. As one rider blogged, “There’s enough variety to keep everyone smiling!” The dry spring has kept the newer trails loose, but with rain, all dirt surfaces should harden.
There are newly developed trailheads on the north end of the Klondike Bluff area—with essentially the same driving time as the original Klondike trailhead. They can be accessed at the turn-off for the BLM Sauropod Track Site on Highway 191, about 4.7 miles north of the airport.
This is all part of the singletrack renaissance in Moab with 42 miles built and at least 108 miles to come, and some of those new miles just might be at Klondike.
Brooks Carter retired from the Corps of Engineers and now has a second career as a mountain bike guide at Rim Tours. During the cold months, he’s a ski instructor at Brighton. He designed EKG, Mega Steps, Little Salty, and UFO, (with two more trails on the drawing board) and helped build them as well as Jasper and Agate.
Trail Mix This committee represents non motorized trail users including: bikers, hikers, equestrians, and skiers. Many government agencies and private citizens comprise the “mix” that makes this group work so well. We meet the 2nd Tues. of each month from 12-2 at the Grand Center (500W. 182 N.). Everyone is welcome.
Contact Sandy Freethey 259-0253 or find us online: wwwgrandcountyutah.net/trailmix/ or at email@example.com.