Flat Pass Trail aka Steel Bender October 2011
The Flat Pass trail is a fantastic trail, and chances are that if you can ride this trail on a week day, you will have the trail to yourself. Flat Pass Trail and Steel Bender are not really the same trail, Flat Pass is ideal for mountain bikers, and follows the Steel Bender that is the 4×4 trail, the only difference is, the Steel Bender is about 2 miles longer. For anyone planning a trip to Moab to Mountain Biking should definitely put Flat Pass Trail on the list of “Must do” trails.
Trail Stats & Information
Nearby Town: Moab Length: Guide book states 15.5 total miles, I myself clocked 19.4 miles from Kens Lake Trailhead and 21.76 miles from Moab Rim Campark
Trail Type: Loop [ out & back is an option ]
Skill Level: [what the books say] Technically difficult to extreme. Physically moderate to difficult.
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate to challenging. Physically moderate
Duration: Book say’s 2-4 hours my time 5.56 hours
Trailhead Elev: 5,200 feet
Top Elev: 6,000 feet
I had heard a lot of good things about the Flat Pass Trail, and it has been on my to do list for a few years, the only reason I kept postponing this ride was because of the high amount of “Road Miles” needed to loop this trail. The trailhead is easy to find, just head for Kens Lake. The trails starts with a easy climb on a gravel road to the Flat Pass. At this point you head down, and have to make a sharp left and cross the creek, or just do as I did, and miss the turn-off and carry on up a dead end trail untill you realize it ain’t going anywhere, so you will have to turn around and back track. Once on the real trail, which is mostly slickrock, the real enjoyment begins. The trail climbs moderately with plenty of obstacles to keep you busy, and it’s actual a fun climb. The fun continues until you top out, then you get some really fun sections of hard packed sand.. open up here and ride like a bat out of hell, until you hit the rocky downhill section. Technically quite challenging, but nothing too serious, it’s just a fun bumpy downhill, choose your path, and stick to it. There are a few high drop-offs, but I always managed to find a safe way down.. All in all the trail section of the Flat Pass Trail is fantastic, with a high fun factor, and offers stunning Moab scenery. This trail does not attract the crowds like numerous other Moab Trails does.
This time I started from Moab Rim Campark and looped the whole trail in just under 22 miles. The last time I started at Kens Lake Trailhead, and clocked just under 21 miles. The only downside of the Flat Pass trail is about 50% is on the road. Once you are actually off the road and on the trail, it is absolutely fantastic, and any mountain biker is guaranteed to have a fantastic time. The trail is easy to follow, but you will definitely need a map if you have never done this trail before, as there are a few other nameless trails branching off. There are in total 4 creek crossings on this trail, and my advice is to get your feet wet, and carry your steed across. I did not do this, and after each creek crossing there is a foot of sand and your rear derailleur really gets gunked up. Once on the trail, try and avoid the far sides of the trail, even if it seems the perfect line, try and stay within 2 feet from the sides. I learned the hard way, and had a total of 7 punctures from thorns. For anyone with a bit of extra time and energy, I would suggest riding Flat Pass as an Out and Back, it would shave about 5 miles off the total milage, which means it would be about 16 miles of fantastic pure mountain biking miles.
Traffic on Trail : none, I had the trail to myself.
Wild Life : none
Scenery : Absolutely Fantastic Moab Scenery
Other : Carry a proper map, and like all Moab trails a good puncture outfit and extra inner-tubes, and carry your bike across the creek, the sand will gunk your derailleur.
My Trail Rating : 8.5 / 10 [ As a P2P I would give this trail a 10/10 ]
This Flat Pass Trail review is proudly sponsored by :
Moab Rim Campark
At Moab Rim Campark mountain bikers will definitely feel at home among other mountain bikers at this Mountain Biker Friendly Campgroud.
Bike wash, grassy shaded tent sites with stunning views, Full hook ups, semi hook ups, cabins, group shelters, sheltered areas to tinker on the bikes, and lots more.
The Flat Pass Trail can be looped from your campsite.
Moab Rim Campsite has been recommended by “Mountain Bike Mayhem” 5 years running.
Mountain Bikers get 10% discount, just bring your bike(s) and mention MOUNTAIN BIKE MAYHEM
For more info vist : Moab Rim Campark
Trail Videos taken on the Flat Pass Trail. Oct. 2011
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