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Slickrock Trail

The world famous Slickrock Trail in Moab Utah


The Slickrock Trail is THE Trail that put Moab on the map, and is probably the worlds most famous trail. Mountain Bikers from around the globe travel to Moab to ride the Slickrock Trail.
There is no doubt that the Slickrock Trail is as fantastic as it is unique, but it is a trail that I have done numerous times, and I never get very exited about the thought of riding the Slickrock Trail. The crowds on this trail can be unbearable, and on a busy day, there are actual waiting lines in front of certain sections of this trail.

So, does the Slickrock Trail live up to it’s world famous reputation?… read on….


Slickrock Trail Map

Trail Stats & Information Amasa Back

Nearby Town: Moab
Length: 9.85 miles
Trail Type: Lollipop
Skill Level: [what the books say] Technically very difficult to extremely dangerous. Physically very difficult to abusive
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate. Physically demanding
: Book say’s 2-3 hours my time 2.45 hours
Trailhead Elev
: 4,575 feet
Top Elev: 4,802  feet


Book Description

This trail is VERY difficult and dangerous. Do not ride alone, but do not bring along you family, your girlfriend, or anyone that you love who is not an advanced rider. Despite the fact that the trail is shown on the Discovery Channel for kids to drool over, it is extremely dangerous and parents should exercise extreme caution with children under 18 (or over) who want to ride here. You could get them into serious trouble. The Slickrock Trail is VERY well marked with painted white lines like the middle of a highway, and there are yellow caution markers and black diamonds to warn you of deadly sections ahead. Be sure to watch for these warnings after you hit the main loop at mile 2.5. Hills on the trail are short, but grueling and very steep. If you let you momentum carry you it could get you into trouble on twisty sections with off-camber turns, but mostly it is momentum that will allow you to ride up the really steep stuff. Traction is fantastic, except when wet or icy. Watch out for winter! Trail Surface: slickrock, obviously, with a painted white line guiding you into the most outrageous situations. At times it is like riding on the outside edge of a 300-foot high basketball.


My Experience

The first time ever did the Slickrock Trail was 4 years ago, I had just arrived in the USA, and did not realize just how popular this trail actually was. I arrived at the parking lot at about 11am on a Saturday, just to find the parking lot completely full, which meant that there were probably 100’s of riders on the Trail… not a good first impression for me, seeing as I’m an unsociable bastard!!

Now whenever I do the Slickrock Trail I leave at the crack of dawn on a weekday. This time around I was at the trailhead at 7am.. at an empty parking area!!.

Having the Slickrock Trail to yourself as the sun comes up is just a fantastic experience, and I was loving every second of it. It’s probably ‘cos I’m getting older, but it seems like the trail gets more strenuous each year, but because it’s such a fantastic trail you tend to forget you are busting your lungs.
For a fantastic 2.45 hours I did not see a single person on the trail, the first people  I saw was just 10 min. the trailhead, just   starting the ride.  


You can love the Slickrock or you can hate the Slickrock, and it will be your timing that decides which one it will be. The first time I hated it, it was like Disneyland . But when planned right ( if possible) the Slickrock Trail is without doubt an absolute Gem of a trail, and it deserves to be one of the worlds most famous mtb trail.

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : On this early ride I had the trail to myself. However this trail can be a zoo
Wild Life : Definitely don’t need it on this scenic trail
Scenery : Absolutely Fantastic Moab Scenery.
Other : If possible do an early weekday ride. On weekends / holidays the trail can be VERY busy.

My Trail Rating : 9.5 / 10 [ if timed well ]


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Star Lake

Giant at Star Lake on the Heavenly Valley to Armstrong Pass Trail

After my 2 crashes on the Curly Lake trail in Montana in August I was really looking forward to getting back on the trails. This trail came highly recommended to me, as offering some of the best scenery in the Tahoe Basin. I was told that it was a very strenuous ride, but I was convinced I was up for it… Boy was I wrong, I got slaughtered on this trail!!

Trail map heavenly valley to armstrong

Trail Stats & Information

Nearby City: Minden

Length: 23.43 total miles

Trail Type: Point to Point

Skill Level: [ What the books say ] Aerobically: strenuous. Technical : easy to difficult (mostly moderate)

Skill Level: [ My opinion ] Aerobically: extremely strenuous. Technical : moderate / difficult

Duration: 5 – 7 hours [ my time ] 6.20 hours

Trailhead Elev: 7,500 feet

Top Elev: 9,000 feet

Book Description

This section of the Tahoe Rim Trail passes through some of the most scenic and wild country available to mountain bikers in California—and it’s also one of the least traveled. If you feel left out because you’re not allowed to ride your bike in wilderness areas or national parks, then this is the trail for you. Highlights: Views of Carson Valley, a pristine subalpine lake, a well-built trail, a wonderful wilderness feeling. No motorized vehicles are allowed on this trail.

My Experience

Although I had not been on the bike for a month due to some injuries I acquired on the Curly Lake Trail in Montana, I was pretty stoked and confident that I was up to doing this trail. I was warned that this trail was pretty strenuous, but that doesn’t mean much in most cases.

I was dropped off at 11.00 am the Stagecoach ski lift at Heavenly Valley, I planned to do the ride in about 5 hours, but luckily for me I made a calculation mistake, and told my girlfriend to pick me up at the Armstrong Trailhead at 5.00 pm, which gave me an extra hour… and boy did I need that extra hour!!

The trail starts at the ski lift with a moderate climb, nothing too serious, the first 2 miles were pretty well used by hikers. After the first mile the trail becomes very strenuous and rocky, and it continued to be very rough for the coming 6 miles, and I walked about 80% of this section, and even the walking was strenuous. It took this trail 20 min. to slap me in the face, and made it clear that I was bang out of shape, and this trail was just too strenuous.

Luckily for me, although the first 12 miles is uphill, it is not at all steep, it’s a gradual climb, and the scenery is just stunning.

Completely slaughtered I finally made it to Freel Pass… this is where the fun starts.. downhill all the way to the end!!

The downhill was absolutely superb, narrow rocky singletrack, with superb views. You will really want to open up on this section, but you will soon realize that, that is not a good idea, there is a lot of loose sand / gravel on the trail.
If you do not like narrow rocky singletracks with long drop-offs, then you should avoid this trail. There are also 2 extremely tight switchbacks on this section, hit these too fast, and you will have about 6 seconds to learn to fly, ‘cos it’s a hell of a long drop before hitting the ground.

From Freel Pass to Armstrong Pass is fantastic, but heading down the Armstrong Pass Trail is like a dream come true.. sweeeeet singletrack , smooth and rocky, fast and slow and everything else a mtb’er longs for.


The first 15 miles of this trail is just brutal, I don’t care how fit you are, or how technically gifted you think you are, you will spend a lot of time walking this section. Luckily it is not too steep, and it is very scenic.
The real fun starts at Freel Pass, from here it is 99% downhill or 1.5 hours of some fantastic downhill.

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : Groups of hikers at Heavenly and at Armstrong Pass

Wild Life : I did not see anything.

Scenery : excellent scenery

Other : Take extra water and energy nibbles.

My Trail Rating : 8.5 / 10