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Trail HAPPENINGS March 2015

Pipe Dream Trail
by Nancy Morlock

750 words about my favorite non-motorized trail you say? Well it’s certainly hard for a mountain biker to pick a favorite in a place that boasts The Whole Enchilada, Mag 7 and Amasa Back trail systems, to name a few. These are all spectacular trails and obvious choices for their sweet descents, amazing views and varying terrain. The Pipedream Trail is an underdog in a town full of world famous black diamond riding. Though its lacking any huge chunder strewn downhills, it still earns its “Advanced” designation and isn’t for everyone. With exposed, narrow singletrack on the side of steep slopes and tons of short punchy climbs, this trail will keep you on your toes.

Fairly new to the scene, this trail was carved into the “foothills” of the Moab Rim a few winters ago by a group of visionary mountain bikers (in collaboration with Trail Mix) using rock bars, grip hoists and stone mason’s eye for armoring drainages. Seriously, some of the tiled trail sections are a work of art. The result is a beautifully punishing piece of trail just a few minutes ride from my doorstep. It’s my go-to lunch ride or a perfect after work quick hit. It’s the best way to get in a quick workout, clear out the cobwebs and hone some skills. You can do a short loop from town utilizing the trails west of Jackson street. By short I mean 20-45 minutes depending on the rider. Or with a little extra time you can do the full 9 miles (4.5 each way, though it feels a little longer to me) as an out and back from the Aspen street entrance to Hidden Valley. Coming back towards town is always slightly flowier and feels a lot less “uphill both ways” although I’ve heard it described that way before. It’s really well marked so you can always check the maps along the way and design your own loops or out-and-back as well.

Those looking for a really big ride can link the whole trail starting in town to Hidden Valley and then go up the hike-a-bike onto the singletrack in Hidden Valley. The views up there are amazing and feel more “back of beyond”. Then connect it to the Moab Rim 4x4 road forming a loop back into town. Give yourself at least 3 hours and lots of water for this one.

The best time to ride Pipedream is late fall, spring, even winter. It can get a little muddy after a hard rain or a snow melt, so respect the trail builders and the desert and stay off of it until the water soaks in a bit. Summer gets pretty roasty out there so early morning is best, evening if you don’t mind the fading heat of the day.

One of the best parts is the fact that it gets you off of the valley floor quickly and (once you can breathe and see straight again) affords great views of this funky little town we live in and the La Sal mountains nearby. While its not my Moab all time favorite but it definitely hits my top 10 list. And every time I’m on Pipedream I’m grateful that its there.

Authors bio: Nancy Morlock was born into mountain biking years ago in with the family business being a bike shop in North Dakota. She has spent the last 10 years guiding mountain bike tours and exploring the Moab area. Last year she became the mother of a baby girl and uses the Pipedream Trail to maintain some sort of level of fitness and/or sanity. She is also the proud owner of a strawbale home near Milt’s where she’s has to fight off the cravings for tots when the wind blows just right.





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