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Trail Happenings April 2010

MOAB Brands Mountain Bike Trails
by David Olsen

Circle O trail signMountain bikers seeking fun trails on slickrock and single-track, head six miles north of Moab to the recently developed mountain bike trail system called the “Moab Brands”. There are currently 15 miles of stacked loop trails ranging from moderate to intermediate in difficulty with an additional 9 miles of loop under consideration. Some of the trails follow old 2 track dirt roads and some are marked on the white slickrock sandstone known to geologists as Moab Member of the Entrada Sandstone. The views are fantastic!

The trails were named using western brands that spell out “MOAB”. The oldest of the trails is the Bar M Loop, named after the nearby Bar-M Chuckwagon Wild-West Music and Dinner Show. In 2007 the BLM approved the Circle O Trail. Trail Mix members painted a continuous, colored track with concrete stain using taped paint rollers to make a mountain bike tire track on the rock. In 2008, the Rockin’ A, Bar B, and Killer B Trails were marked following a similar process.

Aerial photo “you are here” maps and signs were installed along the start of each trail, and cairns were added where needed. All the trail signs include a “Ride the Line Challenge” to protect soil crust and keep mountain bikers on the trails. The challenges include, “If you ride the line good luck is granted and all your dreams may come true, you will be rewarded, find joy and be loved by all, you should be prosperous and successful in most endeavors, and you will feel warm and fuzzy.”

Bar M: Eight mile loop around a shared use dirt road. It is physically moderate and technically easy. It has great views and is a good place for beginning riders.

Circle O: Three mile extension from the Bar M. It is physically moderate to intermediate and technically moderate. It much shorter and less aerobic than the famous Slickrock Trail however it gives its riders a “moonscape of crinkles and undulations that guarantee an exhilarating and often challenging ride.”

Rockin’ A
: This is a fun one and a half mile trail that connects Circle O, Bar M and the Bar B Trails. Portions of the trail are physically and technically intermediate and bumpy (Rockin’!).

Bar B
: Two and a half mile loop that connects to the Bar M and Rockin’ A Trails. Portions of this trail are physically and technically intermediate. Unlike Circle O and Rockin’ A, some of this trail on dirt single-track which is great fun to ride. The Bar B return route is along a non-motorized dirt road.

Killer B
: This one mile trail connects Bar B to the Moab Canyon/Old Highway path. It is not for the “faint of heart” since it has “steep areas of slickrock, cliff edges, loose soil, tight turns and steps”. Some sections have to be walked and climbing up can be as painful as going down! This is a great route for hikers.

Adopt-A-Trail signProposed Trails: Trail Mix has proposed 3 new trails to the Bar M Mountain Bike Focus Area that will potentially add 9 additional miles to the Moab Brands Trail System. The proposed new trails are being reviewed by the BLM. One of the goals of the Trail Mix Committee, in its recently revised Non Motorized Trails Master Plan, is to establish some easy trails for beginning mountain bikers as well as to increase the number of miles of single-track trails available for bikers.
Volunteers needed to “Adopt a Trail”

The National Forest Service (NFS) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) have recently implemented “Adopt-a-Trail” programs for bicycle and hiking trails around Moab. This is a great project for locals or for the regular visitors. BLM would like trails to be reviewed monthly in the spring and fall. The NFS needs help in the spring, once the snow has melted.

“Adopting” a trail might include small maintenance tasks such as rebuilding cairns, shuffling or raking off-trail incursions and removing trash or debris from the trail. Larger maintenance tasks such as downed trees or large rocks, erosion or other heavy tasks should be reported to the land manager. Individuals, a group, or a commercial entity can volunteer and have their names placed on a sign at the trailhead. Please email:

David Olsen, the author, is the Moab City Community Development Director. In addition to creating many of the pathways, parks and trails throughout Moab, David helped to form the County Trail Mix Committee and has served for nine years as the Vice Chair. He is an energetic force promoting trail development for use by locals and visitors alike.

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