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Trail Happenings November 2011

Bartlett and Jedi Slickrock Trails
by Sandy Freethey

Wonderful! Terrific! Beautiful! Smooth! Are just some of the adjectives to describe the Bartlett and Jedi areas. The flowing pink sandstone slickrock beckons mountain bikers and hikers to a day of pure enjoyment. The scenery is magnificent!
The non-motorized Bartlett Slickrock Free Ride Area was designated for mountain bikes in 2008 by the BLM in their Resouce Management Plan (RMP) and is the only “free-riding” area in Grand County. Once you arrive at the Bartlett trail-head, follow the signs that lead to the right up the various levels of slickrock. There are several switchbacks as you meander up the hill and several route choices, but the main access to the top goes through a short sand section. Don’t let the uphill climb or the sand deter you from reaching the top. It is worth the effort! Pause often to enjoy the scenery and take photos. Once you are on top explore this amazing slickrock playground by tailoring the ride to your skill level. The smooth rock provides a very mellow ride for some or a wild and exciting ride for others. This is a good place to practice your half pipe moves and wall rides. While this is a free riding area, please stay off the cryptobiotic soil and away from the tall white pinnacle rock areas at the top.
The Jedi Slickrock Trail is located across the road from the Bartlett trail-head. This is another long band of enticing smooth slickrock. Jedi is a bit more difficult for mountain bikers than Bartlett since the route has big ups and downs as you follow a general route below the upper cliff band. Jedi contains some challenging spots, but it is a lot of fun and attracts fewer people. Again, please stay on the rock to protect the fragile desert soil sections.

Hikers enjoy both areas, especially in the late fall and winter months before the snow falls. Hiking slickrock is a special treat for all levels of hiking.

To access the trail head, drive north of Moab on Highway 191 past the Highway 313 turnoff to Deadhorse until you reach the “Mill Canyon” sign on the left. Follow this dirt road carefully watching for the “Bartlett”signs. Park beyond the delightful walk-in camps, near the kiosk. An alternate access is to continue past the Mill Canyon turnoff and turn left onto the Blue Hills Road (just south of the airport) and follow the “Bartlett” signs. Once you have parked your car, hike or bike a short distance on the dirt road, which follows Bartlett Wash, until you reach a road junction. Turn right to the Bartlett area and left to the Jedi slickrock area.

About the author: Sandy Freethey is the Chair of the Trail Mix Committee, and is very involved with the development of a variety of trails around Moab. Sandy and her husband Geoff love hiking, rafting and road trips

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