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Trail Happenings October 2009

Biking On The Road To Devil’s Garden
Krissie Killoy and Mark Griffith

Cyclists know about Moab. They know it as the home of the Slickrock Trail - the Mecca for mountain bikers. What many don’t realize, however, is that Moab offers some of the best road biking in the world. There are hundreds of miles of paved roads through world-class scenery known by adventure seekers globally. The following featured road ride is through Arches National Park.

Getting There: The entrance to Arches National Park is located approximately 5 miles north of Moab along Highway 191. The Visitor’s Center as well as numerous trail head parking lots offer a variety of options for starting your ride.

Route Description: This ride will take cyclists on the same road as “Thelma and Louise”, “Indiana Jones” and many other Movie-Greats that used this Park as a backdrop. There are three climbs on the way to Devil’s Garden, two are nearly 1,000 feet each. Though the turn-around point of this ride is only 1,200 ft. higher than the start, the climbs in between and incredible rock formations make this a challenging and rewarding ride. Total ride distance from town is approximately 23 miles one-way or 46 miles as an out and back. The ride can be easily shortened.

After entering Arches National Park, the ride begins with a 2 mile switch-back climb, complete with views of the Moab Fault. Continuing on, riders are rewarded with views of the La Sal Mountains, Courthouse Towers, Petrified Sand Dunes, and Balanced Rock.

Everyone will be inspired by the stunning scenery accompanying the second climb which overlooks Salt and Cache Valleys. Approximately 3 miles after passing the trail head for Fiery Furnace Skyline Arch comes into view.

The turnaround point for this ride is Devil’s Garden where there is water, toilets, and a trailhead for hiking to Landscape Arch. Unlike many rides, the scenic views are quite different in the reverse direction.

The Skinny Tire Festival happens March 12-15, 2010. This festival rides the best of the best: 1) Arches National Park, 2) Colorado River, and 3) Dead Horse Point. Rides are fully supported with sag wagons, bike mechanics, and aid stations and is an annual fundraiser to benefit cancer survivorship programs. See the Skinny Tire website at for more information.

The Trail Mix Committee and Moab Trails Alliance are working with a variety of agencies to pave the “Old Highway”, a route that parallels Hwy. 191 along the Moab Canyon north of town. This new paved trail segment will offer a route which connects to Hwy 313. The new pavement will allow road bikers a safe route from Moab to Canyonland’s Island in the Sky and to Dead Horse Point State Park. The project is being engineered now, and will begin development in the spring of 2010.

The Trail Mix Committee: (The Grand County Non Motorized Trails advisory group) includes a cycling representative on their executive board as a key element of the “mix” of non motorized trail users. Trail Mix works with both road and mountain bike cyclists to develop, sign, and maintain safe routes. To get involved in this effort, contact Sandy Freethey at 259-0253. Trail Mix meets the second Tues. of every month at the Grand Center in Moab, Noon-2:00.

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