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The 6 Best Moab Mountain Bike Trails To Become a Better Rider

Unique slickrock terrain. Spectacular desert scenery. Tons of tracks. If you want to progress with your mountain bike skills, do yourself a favor and spend a week in Moab.
Lily Krass
Backcountry skier, mountain biker, hiker, and Jackson Hole local

At first glance, the mountain biking in Moab seems borderline insane. Before I’d ever made the trip, I remember staring in awe at photos of friends riding on what looked like another planet, their tires clinging to walls of near vertical red sandstone. It seemed remarkably convoluted where the trails ended and the cliffs began. At the time, Moab’s mountain biking trails seemed intimidating to say the least—today a fall trip here is the highlight of my season.

But after my first visit eight years ago, I learned that Moab is a solid place to push the boundaries of your riding and tap into your reckless side. Similar to the mountain biking in Fruita, there’s more to Moab mountain bike tours than the adrenaline junky scene it’s known for. It’s a great place to scare yourself a little bit if you’re into that, but it’s certainly not a requirement. Sure, the vertical rock rolls and exposed ledges make for the best photos, but some of the most fun I’ve ever had on a bike has been flying down mellow stretches of slickrock. 

Moab offers a unique style of riding that makes for great progression on the bike, and the striking desert scenery adds to the vibe

A huge variety of trails allow for a gradual progression, and the duration of some of the bigger adventure rides always helps me feel more and more confident on my bike as the days go by. Now, I try to take a trip twice a year, and they always get a little longer each time, especially when I add some of the best hikes in Southern Utah into the mix. Moab is the best mountain biking location in Utah and once you start making the pilgrimage, it’s impossible to stop. 

The 6 Best Moab Mountain Bike Rides

Here is a short summary of the best mountain bike trails in Moab to kick off your trip:

Easy Mountain Bike Rides in Moab


Intermediate Mountain Bike Rides in Moab

  • Navajo Rocks – 17-mile loop, best for warming up for other rides in Moab
  • Captain Ahab – 2 miles, best for technical mountain biking
  • Mag 7 – 21-mile point-to-point trail, best for the epic Moab descent


Advanced Mountain Bike Rides in Moab

Let’s dive into the best mountain bike rides in Moab in detail!


1. Navajo Rocks

A little bit of everything for advanced and intermediate riders
Great views of the La Sal Mountains
Experience the flow of Moab slickrock
Not a true beginner trail

The Navajo Rocks area has a little bit of everything and is my favorite place to get warmed up on day one. The scenery is beautiful up here. I like to take a snack break on top of some of the high points on the Rocky Tops trail to look out at the La Sals, which are usually still capped with snow in the spring. There’s dirt, slickrock, a few challenging tech sections, and some flowy descents. It’s enough to keep advanced riders entertained while letting more intermediate riders get their feet wet in the world of desert riding. A few off-camber sections and short but steep climbs introduce the unique feeling of riding on slickrock, and always help remind me how to trust my bike in this new environment. 

I wouldn’t consider this a true beginner trail (Check out the Moab Brand Trails closer to Highway 191 for never-ever riders) but it’s a great place to start if you’ve got a little riding under your belt already.

Ramblin Trail at Navajo Rocks is one of the best sections of trail in Moab to get warmed up.

Slickrock on Ramblin’ is my favorite section of the trail in Moab

I like to park at the overflow lot, east of the main Navajo Rocks parking lot and start on Rocky Tops to ride the whole thing clockwise. The entire loop is about 17 miles, but if you’re looking for a sub 10-mile loop, ride Rocky Tops to Middle Earth, cross the road, and hop on Ramblin to finish it out. You’ll be in for about 1,000 feet of climbing total and around 9 miles. The fast and swoopy waves of slickrock in the middle of Ramblin’ is one of my favorite sections of trail in all of Moab.  

Moab | Utah
Group Mountain Biking Tours in Moab
From $215 | 1 day
Navajo Rocks has enough to keep advanced riders entertained while letting more intermediate riders get their feet wet in the world of desert riding.

Navajo Rocks - Good to Know


Intermediate to advanced


All-mountain, downhill

Trailhead elevation:


Best intro area:

Moab Brand Trails

Bike rental options:
Route map:

Navajo Rocks loop is about 17 miles

Best camping/lodging:

Camping in Sand Flats, $20 per night; Check 26 campgrounds in the Moab area

Guiding service:
Guided trips:

2. Slickrock

Classic for Moab mountain biking day tours
Despite its name, it’s got great traction for riders
Natural Selection viewpoint is the perfect place for a rest
Careful to not explore and get lost off trail
Some sand traps to watch out for

The Slickrock trail is perhaps the most famous trail in Moab, and most will agree that it lives up to its reputation. Riding up and down the steep, rolling bulges of red rock above town always gives me the surreal feeling that I’m on another planet. When I first came to Moab, I quickly learned that the slick red rock that covers Moab’s desert landscape is not, in fact, slick at all. It’s one of the tackiest, grippiest surfaces I’ve ever ridden. Slickrock is so grippy that I’ll frequently be mid-climb before realizing that my bike is nearly vertical, and I haven’t even noticed. 

Slickrock is ideal introduction for beginners to gain confidence

Slickrock was the first trail I ever rode in Moab. While it was a challenge as a beginner-intermediate rider, it’s kind of like a crash course in desert riding (hopefully without too much crashing!). You’ll come out far more confident on your bike after the nine-mile loop. I highly recommend doing the short one-mile Slickrock practice trail before embarking on the whole lollipop loop. It takes just a few minutes and is a nice gentle introduction to what’s in store. 

Riding Slickrock MTB trail
Riding up and down the red rock with the incredible desert scenery will make you feel like you’ve been transported to Mars.

My advice for biking Moab’s desert features

Because it’s mostly rock and not traditional single-track, white dashes on the slickrock help you navigate the trail. You can veer off trail a little bit if something looks fun to ride down or jump off, but if you get too far off the trail it can sometimes be hard to find your way back. There are also a fair amount of sand traps between slick rock features. They look pretty benign but can swallow your tires and throw you off balance, so keep a heads up for those.

To get to Slickrock, drive through town and up to the Sand Flats Recreation area. A day pass for a private vehicle is $5 or $10 for a full week — plenty of time for multiple mountain bike tours in Moab.

Moab | Utah
Group Mountain Biking Tours in Moab
From $215 | 1 day
Slickrock was the first trail I ever rode in Moab. While it was a challenge as a beginner-intermediate rider, it’s kind of like a crash course in desert riding (hopefully without too much crashing!).

Explore Slickrock trail with an experienced mountain bike guide

Slickrock - Good to Know

Skill level:

Beginner to intermediate


Slickrock, lots and lots of slickrock

Route map:

5-mile loop

Trailhead elevation:


Know before you go:

Day pass for a private vehicle in Sand Flats Recreation area is $5 or $10 for a week

Rest day activities:

Visit Arches National Park for hiking and seeing the sights

Best camping/lodging:

Camping in Sand Flats, $20 per night; Check 26 campgrounds in the Moab area

Guiding service:
Guided trips:

3. The Whole Enchilada

Gain a 8,000-feet descent with only a 1,000-foot climb
Shuttle service allows for an almost completely downhill ride
Advanced riders can do the monstrous 64-mile loop!
Few bail points mean riders need to be in it for the long haul
Always cold at peak, so bring layers
The initial 1,000-foot climb is grueling, but worth it

Riding the Whole Enchilada is like a right of passage for most mountain bikers. The world-famous shuttle trail is a spectacular way to spend a day, traveling from high alpine sections that evoke the mountain biking in Colorado all the way down to the Colorado River via around 30 miles of technical singletrack. Since there is snow in the La Sals for much of the year, the shuttle from town drops you as high as conditions permit. If you’re determined to ride the entire thing, it’s best to visit in the fall when the snow has melted out. 

Endurance is key to this bucket-list trail for mountain bikers

A brutal 1,000-foot climb up Burro Pass kicks things off, where you’ll top out at 11,126 feet before descending almost 8,000 feet back to town. The difficulty of the Whole Enchilada comes mostly from the duration. There’s plenty of rock tech and a few hike-a-bike sections, but the terrain is mellower than most black-rated trails in the Moab area. Still, it’s easy to get in over your head, especially if someone has a mechanical. 

Especially for the uninitiated, the Whole Enchilada is the perfect trail in Moab to hire a mountain biking guide and gain peace of mind. 

The Whole Enchilada has it all and it’s a must-do trail for any experienced biker visiting Moab — but it’s easy to get in over your head if you’re not prepared. Whole Enchilada by Stanislav Sedov licensed under CC BY 2.0

My advice for staying safe, warm and prepared for adventure

If anything goes wrong, you’re a long way from town so make sure everyone in your group has adequate food, water, and basic repair tools. Even the bail points down the access roads end up taking forever, and aren’t actually much easier than just riding the whole trail. I’ve found it’s best to ride it with a smaller group since the more riders you have in your party the longer everything takes. I’ve made the mistake of not bringing enough warm clothes, which is easy to forget when it’s 80 degrees in Moab. Burro Pass is above 11,000 feet and is almost always cold. 

Some choose to self-shuttle through the Sand Flats Recreation Area to just ride the 11-mile Porcupine Rim section, the last segment of the Whole Enchilada. Cruising down endless drops and ledges on Porcupine during sunset is an experience every rider should have at least once. 

Moab | Utah
Group Mountain Biking Tours in Moab
From $215 | 1 day
The world-famous shuttle trail is a spectacular way to spend a day, travelling from the high alpine all the way down to the Colorado River via around 30 miles of technical singletrack.

Visitors to Moab will get the most out of this trail with an experienced MTB guide leading the way!

The Whole Enchilada - Good to Know

Skill level:

Difficult, advanced to expert


Everything. It is after all, The Whole Enchilada

Best intro area:

Ride the last 11-mile section Porcupine Rim section for an introduction

Trailhead elevation:



Camping in Sand Flats, $20 per night; Check 26 campgrounds in the Moab area

Route map:

34.1 miles point to point


Moab Brewery is close to the shuttle service drop-off point

Guiding service:
Guided trips:

4. Captain Ahab

Fun fast descents with plenty of features
Ride Lower Ahab if you want a shorter loop
Punchy climbs and tight corners make trail ideal for lapping
Watch out for Jeep trails—Cliff Hanger is especially popular
Best for intermediate and advanced mountain bikers

I could be perfectly content coming to Moab and just riding Captain Ahab over and over again. An MTB tour on the Amasa Back Trail features some of Moab’s best enduro-style riding with fast descents over steep rolls, drops, and ledgy features. To access Upper and Lower Ahab, you’ll climb the Hymasa trail, a quick and fun climb over slickrock with some punchy sections. Overall, get ready for a really doable ascent. 

My recommendations for riding Lower and Upper Ahab

The first time I rode in this area I felt pretty intimidated by Ahab and just rode Hymasa as an out and back. It was the perfect warm up for the big ledges and drops on Lower Ahab. From the top of Hymasa you can hop on Upper Ahab, which still has some climbing interspersed with fun rock tech. Lower Ahab is pure gravity all the way down to the creek. If you want a shorter loop, you can just ride the lower section.

Mountain Biking The Captain Ahab Trail, Moab, Utah. Photo by TRAILSOURCE.COM licensed under CC BY 2.0

Like many of Moab’s mountain biking trips, Captain Ahab is fun to ride a few times as you learn to trust what’s around each corner and where to keep your speed. I like to just lap the lower section sometimes. You’ll cross tons of Jeep trails up here (Cliff Hanger is a famous Moab 4×4 trail) and during the high season you’ll likely see some overly confident drivers cruxing out on large rock steps. 

If you want to add on to the loop, a quick out and back to Pothole Arch via a mile or so on Cliff Hanger is a fun way to extend the ride.

Moab | Utah
Group Mountain Biking Tours in Moab
From $215 | 1 day
Captain Ahab was built as a labor of love, by technical mountain bikers for technical mountain bikers and it shows.

Captain Ahab - Good to Know

Skill level:

Intermediate  to advanced


Slickrock, ledges, dirt and the odd exposed ridge

Best intro area:

Hymasa as an out and back ride

Trailhead elevation:


Route map:

Captain Ahab Upper is 2 miles;  Captain Ahab Lower is 2 miles

Rest day activities:

Moab is also known for its sky diving with full panoramas of the desert!

Best camping/lodging:

Camping in Sand Flats, $20 per night; Check 26 campgrounds in the Moab area

Guiding service:
Guided trips:

5. Klondike Bluffs

Plenty of variety for technical rides or short loops
Mellow short loops offer beginner-friendly trails
Perfect for groups with varying abilities
Easy access to the trail from your car
Not as much flow in certain areas — bring a map or a guide!

The Klondike Bluff network features more than 50 miles of singletrack for a diverse mountain biking tour near Moab. You’ll find ample opportunities for longer more technical rides and short but sweet loops. For this reason, a Klondike mountain biking tour is one of my go-to activities for a group outing. I like how short the trails are since you can link up a long, techy ride, or keep it mellow with short loops with beginner-friendly options. It’s a great choice with groups of varying ability levels, too

I ride the system counterclockwise starting at Dino Flow

I like to start on Dino Flow and then climb Baby Steps to gain the top of the ridge. There’s no wrong way to do it, but I like to ride the system counter clockwise, linking different trails and always ending with the Alaska trail. Alaska has a little climbing before a short but fast, rocky descent. It’s challenging but mellow enough to get going pretty fast. 

Moab-Klondike Trails at Moab, Utah by the Bureau of Land Management licensed under CC BY 2.0

End your Moab trip by looping Klondike Bluffs

Since you’re so close to the car the whole time, I like to make a day out of it and ride a bit, come back to the car for lunch, and ride some more. The Klondike Bluffs system is about 20 minutes north of Moab, so it can also be a good option for a quick ride on your last day before heading home. 

I usually park at the north trailhead (there are two Klondike Bluffs trailheads) since there are more spots and the road is a little smoother.

Moab | Utah
Group Mountain Biking Tours in Moab
From $215 | 1 day
The Klondike Bluff network features more than 50 miles of singletrack for a diverse mountain biking tour near Moab. You’ll find ample opportunities for longer more technical rides and short but sweet loops.

Klondike Bluffs - Good to Know

Skill level:

Beginner to advanced


Singletrack, non-motorized trails!

Trailhead elevation:


Best intro areas:

Dino Flow for blue rated, Agate West for green rated

Route map:

64-miles of trails in the system

Rest day activities:

Arches National Park is a must visit

Best camping/lodging:

North Klondike Bluffs trailhead area also offers free camping sites

Guiding service:
Guided trips:

6. Mag 7

Gorgeous canyon-rim views
Ride an incredible 21-mile descent
Challenging but exhilarating downhill experience
Not a trail for true beginners
Challenging but exhilarating downhill experience
Segments include high exposure and high risk

The Mag 7 point-to-point trail is (unsurprisingly) a linkup of seven downhill trails. It runs over 21 miles and down 3,300 feet from the top of Highway 313 to the Colorado River. It’s also an incredible descent of 21 miles if ridden all the way. You’ll discover some exposed riding, beautiful canyon-rim views, and fast ledgy sections. If you’re looking for a challenging downhill experience like the ones you find mountain biking in Colorado, Mag 7 is a blast. Keep in mind, as you work your way down, the exposure and difficulty increase. 

How to make my favorite Upper Bull Run section even better

Upper Bull Run is my favorite segment of the trail, the perfect mix of playful rock features, drops, and ledges. If you don’t want to do the whole shuttle, it’s easy to just ride Bull Run and pedal back up the road. You can also self-shuttle down a short section of the jeep road. We often do this as a quick evening adventure if we’re camped nearby. 

Great Escape isn’t part of the traditional Mag 7 tour, but it can be fun to add on since it’s similar to the fun slickrock sections from Bull Run. 

Moab | Utah
Private Mountain Biking Tours in Moab
From $190 | 1 day

Prepare for Gold Bar’s sustained climb and Portal’s high alert

Gold Bar is the only sustained climb you’ll have to tackle on the whole Mag 7 route. It can feel pretty brutal in the hot sun, and is steep enough to feel like a slap in the face when your exhaustion is catching up to you. The last segment down to the river, Portal, takes exposed riding to a whole new level — many signs recommend getting off your bike at times where a fall could be deadly. Listen to the signs and ride this trail on high alert.

Mag 7 is definitely one of Moab’s adventure mountain bike tours. I’d recommend getting an early shuttle if you go that route. Like most trails in the area, there’s not much shade along the way, and it always seems to take longer than you plan. 

You’ll discover some exposed riding, beautiful canyon-rim views, and fast ledgy sections. Mag 7 is a blast if you’re looking for a challenging downhill experience since there are only a few sections of climbing.

Experience Moab’s famous slickrock with a guided half-day tour of Mag 7!

Mag 7 - Good to Know

Skill level:

Best for intermediate to advanced riders 

Route map:

21 miles point-to-point trail with Portal finish

Trailhead elevation:


Bike rental options:
Rest day activities:

Canyonlands National Park is worth the visit but doesn’t allow mountain biking

Best camping/lodging:

Camping in Sand Flats, $20 per night; Check 26 campgrounds in the Moab area

Guiding service:
Guided trips:

Advice for Planning Your Moab Mountain Biking Trip

If you’re coming for the first time, you’re bound to have some questions regarding logistics. Here are some handy tips to help make your mountain biking trips in Moab as smooth as the slickrock this red rock wonderland is known for.

When to visit Moab

The best times to ride are spring and fall, when the climate is generally clear and sunny, but not inhospitable by noon. High season in Moab is March through May and September through October. Unless you have an incredibly high tolerance for heat or plan to spend 95 percent of your time in the water, I wouldn’t recommend visiting Moab in the summer. 

Since there’s not much shade, a 70-degree day can feel pretty warm in Moab as it is and it’s usually a welcome change after a long, cold winter. Winters are also pretty quiet in Moab. Although it does get pretty cold (especially at night), it can be an amazing time to ride the area without any other people around. 


Bike rentals in Moab

The riding in Moab definitely calls for a long travel or enduro bike that can chew up technical descents, but also climb pretty well. I prefer to bring my own bike to Moab. If you’re new to riding, flying or have a bike with less downhill capabilities, renting is easy and fairly reasonably priced. 

I’d recommend looking into Chile Pepper, Moab Cyclery, or Poison Spider for rental options. It runs about $70-$100 per day for a super solid bike. These shops are also pickup locations for Mag 7 and the Whole Enchilada. It’s also convenient to rent from wherever you’ve scheduled your shuttle. Even if you have an enduro-style bike, I usually end up with a decent amount of bike maintenance to do when we leave Moab. Some prefer to trash rental bikes instead of their own, if you’re on the fence. 

Moab | Utah
Group Mountain Biking Tours in Moab
From $215 | 1 day

Mountain bike guides in Moab

With so much to choose from and only so much time, hiring a MTB guide in Moab will give you the best bang for your buck (if you need a rental, it’s often much cheaper to rent a bike from your guiding service). Whether you’re a beginner rider looking for a half-day on Brand Trail or Courthouse Loop, or you’ve got the advanced skills to take on Slick Rock or the Whole Enchilada, private mountain biking tours in Moab will ensure that you maximize your adventure time while exploring the best trails the area has to offer.

First corner of Moab’s Infamous and awesome 100 mile White Rim Trail. Photo by Zach Dischner licensed under CC BY 2.0

Moab shuttle info

Tons of bike shops in town offer shuttles to ride the Whole Enchilada or Mag 7. It’s always possible to self-shuttle if you’ve got a big group with a few trucks. I’ve found it’s always worth it to spend $25-$30 to make logistics easier. 

Check out Porcupine Shuttle, Whole Enchilada Shuttle, Coyote Shuttle, Poison Spider, and Moab Cyclery to set up a shuttle. I’ve never had trouble getting a shuttle last minute, but I’d recommend booking it at least a few days in advance. 

If you shuttle the Whole Enchilada, try to leave a car at the end of the Porcupine Rim trail along Highway 128. The five-mile pedal back to town may seem trivial on most days, but I’ve had my soul crushed pedaling into a head wind too many times not to warn you. Same goes for Mag 7. Ditch a car in the morning along Potash Road. You’ll thank me later. 

Where to camp in Moab

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) manages 26 campgrounds in the Moab area.  All sites cost $20 a night and are first-come first-serve (except for group sites, which are reservation only). During the high season, getting a site on a Friday night can be incredibly tough. I usually try to arrive on a Thursday or early morning on a Friday to be sure we’ll get a spot. 

My favorite sites are along the river on Highway 128—they see tons of traffic but are close to town and many trails. Plus, it’s where the exit of Porcupine Rim dumps out, which is convenient if you’re doing an Enchilada shuttle. The camping in Sand Flats (up on the mesa where Slickrock trail is) is also really cool. Although, I’ve never gotten there in time to get a site!

Camping in Arches or Canyonlands National Park is incredibly scenic, but not super convenient if you’re planning to bike. No mountain biking is allowed in the national parks. Be sure to make a reservation for these since they fill up fast.

If you’re down with a more primitive camping experience, just keep driving on dirt roads outside city limits. There’s tons of free camping on BLM land in the Lone Mesa, Willow Springs, and Gemini Bridges area. I usually end up here after a fruitless attempt at scoring a site by the river. 

Alternative MTB locations to check out

If you’re in the mood for switching things up, consider exchanging the red desert landscape of Moab for the verdant vistas of western Utah. The mountain biking in Park City has every type of trail you could wish for. Over in Colorado’s Roaring Fork Valley, you can enjoy some sweet Aspen mountain biking, renowned for its great accessibility and quality. Lastly, why not check out the place where the sport itself was born? When you’re mountain biking in California, you’re taking part in a tradition going back all the way to the late 1960s!

What are some other activities to do in Utah?

The fun doesn’t have to stop once you’re off the bike. Whether it’s earning your turns while backcountry skiing in Utah or wandering among the hoodoos on Bryce Canyon hikes, you’ll find adventure here the year round. And let’s not forget the world-class rock climbing in Utah‘s sandstone wonderland. If it’s an adrenaline rush you’re chasing, the climbing at Indian Creek will get your heart rate up and test your skill on the finest cracks in the country.

Ready to head out for some mountain biking in Moab? Let an MTB guide show you the best spots the area has to offer!  Grab a couple pals, load up the bikes, and head out for a day of fun!

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