Tag Archive for: good sense

The Highline Trail in Sedona

  . This is the first ever ride in the USA that I have not done solo.  For this ride I needed a guide, ‘cos there is no way I could have otherwise experienced this trail. Although once on the Highline Trail, it is easy to follow, but finding this trail as an “outsider”  would […]

Amasa Back Trail
Amasa Back Trail Moab

The Amasa Back Trail in Moab, dangerously scenic

If planed well, and with a bit of luck, the Amasa Back Trail in Moab could become your all time favorite trail ever. I say this, because this trail can be unbearably busy on weekends / holidays, and this will definitely put a damper on things. However, if you can get an early start on a weekday, this trail will be yours, and believe me, it will blow your mind. The highest danger factor on this trail, is the scenery, it’s almost impossible to keep your eyes on the trail.
Amasa Back Trail Map

Trail Stats & Information Amasa Back

Nearby Town: Moab
Length: 11.06 miles
Trail Type: Out & Back (lollipop) or loop with Jackson (not recommended)
Skill Level: [what the books say] Technically very difficult to extreme. Physically very difficult.
Skill Leve
l: [My Opinion] Technically moderate to extreme . Physically moderate / demanding
: Book say’s 2-3 hours my time 4.02 hours
Trailhead Elev
: 4,000 feet
Top Elev
: 4,800 feet


Book Description

You’ll want to watch the first 100 feet of this trail. It can ruin your ride in a hurry. The entire trail should be approached with respect. It’s short, but it’s a grunt with technical challenges thrown in here and there, some on the edge of a 500-foot cliff. Ledges drop into deep sand at points. it asks for speed and can surprise you as you round a corner. The ride from here can be extremely rewarding for a very experienced riders with a good sense of direction and maybe a guide. There is a petroglyph panel worthy of a visit, but the riding just gets harder from this viewpoint as you climb on the very technical slickrock onto the huge sandstone monolith that is Amasa Back. Don’t even think about the singletrack that goes down the backside. it is scary and exposed the whole way. Trail Surface; Technical 4WD track. Ledgy bedrock, sand, slickrock, loose and hardpack sediments. Scary exposure.



My Experience

This is not the first time I have done the Amasa Back, the first time I did it,was on a Sunday, in combination with the Jackson Hole Trail. That time the Amasa Back was just bang out of order, there were 100’s!! of people on the trail, mtb’ers, 4×4’s, hikers, quads, trial bikes.. you name it… Seeing as I’m an unsociable bastard , I hated it!.

Luckily I did notice that the trail was fantastic, and I knew that I had to time it right to enjoy the trail to it’s fullest.
This time around I got an early start on a weekday ( Wednesday) and I had the whole trail to myself!!

Be very careful at the start of the trail, ‘cos lots of riders get caught out in the first 3 min on “Mr Toads”. Once past Mr Toads and down to the creek, the trail starts clinbing on slickrock. The climb is not bad at all, there are a few sections that you will have to get off your steed, but in general the trail is pretty doable. The highest risk on this trail, is the stunning scenery, and it is almost impossible to keep your eyes on the trail. The Amasa Back trail is very well marked, with maps on all the junctions. Once at the top, you can turn around and bomb back down, or you can loop back onto the Amasa Back by connecting the Pot Hole Arch Trail, and then onto the Rockstacker Trail.
The Rockstacker Trail is stunningly scenic, but it is riddled with some mental grade 5 sections, but I would highly recommend this connector. When you get back onto the Amasa Back Trail, you will now be back tracking, a slight climb until you top out, and from here it’s just a roller coaster ride back to the creek 100% fun!!

There is also option to loop the Amasa Back Trail by connecting to the Jackson Trail. Personally I would not recommend this, 80% of this section is not rideable, and you end the trail on a strenuous climb, it also means you don’t get to enjoy the Amasa Back downhill.


There is no doubt that the Amasa Back Trail is one of, or even THE most scenic and fun trail in Moab. However,  this trail can for all good reasons be extremely busy. If possible do this beauty early on a weekday.  The views on this trail are unbelievable, the trail is well marked, the slickrock climb is not too strenuous, and the downhill offers maximum thrill level.

Do this trail early on a weekday, and it is without doubt one of the best trails in, not just Moab, but in the USA.

Other Info:

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


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


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Armstrong Saxon Creek and Mr Toads Wild Ride Lake Tahoe

Giant on the way to Mr Toads Wild Ride

Armstrong, Saxon Creek, and Mr Toads Wild Ride or whatever else this loop is called, all I can say is that this could well be the best trail the USA has to offer. ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!!. This trail offers everything any mountain biker dreams of.. and more!.. all bundled into a 18.84 mile loop

Map Armstrong Saxon Creek and Mr Toads Wild Ride Lake Tahoe

Trail Stats & Information

Nearby City: South Lake Tahoe

Length: 18.84 total miles

Trail Type: Loop

Skill Level: [ What the books say ] Aerobically: strenuous. Technical : difficult

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

Duration: 4 – 4.5 hours [ my time ] 5.58 hours

Trailhead Elev: 6,200 feet

Top Elev: 9,600 feet

Book Description

Saxon Creek Trail is more commonly known as Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride. Noted for its wild downhill, this is one of the legendary trails in Tahoe. There are several ways to access Mr. Toad’s, but this loop eliminates a shuttle and minimizes the road riding. The first 3.0 miles up the paved Fountain Place Road are on a route that was one man’s dream for the main pass over the mountains. Today the ride from the end of the road to the ridge follows some beautiful and well-graded singletrack that connects to the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) at Armstrong Pass. An out-and-back to Armstrong Pass is a great ride in itself. It’s a bit of a huff along the TRT to Saxon Creek Trail, but the views along the rim are gorgeous. The descent on Mr. Toad’s is extreme: steep, technical, nicely banked turns, concrete lattice trail work, and some impossible drops. Mr. Toad’s is for advanced riders with the good sense to walk the crazy stuff.

My Experience

My previous ride Heavenly 2 Armstrong, I completely under-estimated the trail and myself, and I paid the price, I got slaughtered!! Today on the Armstrong Saxon Creek and Mr Toads Wild Ride I yet again misjudged the trail, however, this time it was to my benefit. I had already come down the Armstrong pass trail, but I was so knackered I for some reason convinced myself that it was gonna be a grunt riding up the trail. I started at the bottom at the trailhead parking, and cycled the 4 miles to the start of the “real” trail, the 4 road miles were not too bad, and an excellent warm up. Although I preferred coming down the Armstrong, going up was not bad at all, and although a bit of a slog, it is 100% doable, and it’s actually a really nice climb. At the Armstrong Pass junction the TRT trail continues to climb, however this section is more strenuous than the previous miles, not so much technically, but because of some very loose sand / gravel on the trail. Both Armstrong and the TRT section is very scenic, and excellent trail conditions. After 3 hours of great climbing, the trail tops out… from this point on, it’s 98% downhill, and not just any old downhill, this section puts all and any theme park to shame.. It’s time for a 9 mile downhill roller coaster ride. The first part of the “gauntlet” is short lived, a grade 5 section forces every human with a will to live, get off their steed and walk this section. Once that’s behind you, there is miles of fantastic but technical and narrow singletrack to enjoy. Just when you are on the brink of thinking you are immortal, Mr Toad brings you back to your senses. Let me just be completely honest, NOTHING I say, or the photo’s and videos you see online will give you a real impression of Mr Toad… It is the craziest shit I have ever seen, let’s put it this way, if I had the best DH bike on the market, with the best body armor on the market, and you offered me a million buck to ride down Mr Toad, i know there is no way I could convince my brain and my body to take me down. For any mountain bikers that have ever done the “Holy Cross” trail in Grand Juction Colorado, it’s 5 times more mental than that… So, I can now say I walked my steed down Mr Toads Wild Ride… even that was scary!! And although that is by far the most impossible section of the loop, there are LOT’S of hairy sections on the rest of the trail. Just be sensible on this trail, and it is possibly the best trail you will ever do.


All I can say is, JUST DO IT!!… EVERYTHING a mountain biker dreams and more packed into a 19 mile loop. Armstrong Saxon Creek and Mr Toads Wild Ride should be on everyone’s wish list.

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : a handful of friendly mountain bikers ( No hikers ) Wild Life : who needs it on a trail like this?… I didn’t see any Scenery : excellent scenery Other : Take extra water and energy nibbles. Be sensible, a trail is only fun if you make it to the end in one piece. This is definitely not a trail for novices

My Trail Rating : 10 / 10 with a Gold Star

I would really like to thank everyone who works on these trails, you guys do an excellent job in maintaining the trails, and without you I myself and others would not be able to enjoy this activity.