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Flat Pass Trail

Flat Pass Trail aka Steel Bender - Moab Oct. 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.

 

Flat Pass Trail Map

 

  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

 

 

Book Description

The ride is highlighted by vandalized petroglyphs, rolling hills with sever transitions at the bottom, and some very beautiful views of the Moab Valley. There are a couple of spots on the trail that can sneak up on you, so keep your eyes on the trail and give blind turns and dips a lot of respect. I you enjoy technical challenge, deep stream crossings, transitions, vertical ridges, gaps and pits, knee-high ledges, rollies, plateaus, babyheads, death-grip-jackhammer stuff into deep sand, weird sliced-bread bedrock, and a ride that can be done form Moab, the Flat Pass is the trail. Trail Surface: Bedrock, loose rock, sand and babyheads on a technical 4WD track, with substantial creek crossings.

 

 

My Experience

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.  

 

Conclusion

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.  

 

Other Info:

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 ]

 

 

Moab Rim CamparkThis 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  

 

 

 

Hidden Valley Moab Rim

Hidden Valley onto Moab Rim - View before heading down the Moab Rim

 

The Hidden Valley onto Moab Rim is one of my Moab favorites. This trail offers fantastic scenery, a very remote feeling without being remote ( if anything goes wrong, it’s no more than a 1.5 hour walk to civilization).
The Hidden Valley onto Moab Rim trail offers everything the big trails offer, such as Porcupine. The trail can be looped, or as an out and back.
This trail offers the longest and steepest slickrock downhill section, almost a mile of solid mental 22 percent downhill.

 

Hidden Valley onto Moab Rim

Trail Stats & Information

Nearby Town: Moab
Length: about 13 miles (14.3 miles if you visit the Moab Rim View Point)
Trail Type: Loop or Out & Back
Skill Level: [what the books say] Technically extremely difficult to downright abusive. Physically difficult
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate – difficult. Physically moderate [ if done from Hidden Valley ]
Duration: 2-4 hours
Trailhead Elev: 4000 feet
Top Elev: 5400 feet

Book Description

If you are not a skilled mountain biker do not attempt this ride. Be sure to take lots of water. This trail can be ridden from Moab, as a loop or as a shuttled trip, in either direction. It has a brutal climb at the head and an equally brutal downhill at the tail anyway you slice it. The ride up from the northern end on the massive rock slab to the rim is one of the most difficult climbs I know of. The southern end is so technical that you are going to be walking the bike. The northern end can be ridden in its entirety, if you are very fit and very skilled. Trail Surface: Extremely rugged 4WD trail and a very technical singletrack that is only suitable for hiking–portage or risk bone damage. Huge ledges, sand, loose rock, and hardpack. Kayenta slab rock, Navajo sandstone.

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My Experience

I have lost count on how many times I have done this trail, and I still love it as much as I did the first time. The scenery is great, the trail is exciting and has an adventurous feel to it. As always the 40 min. portage is a grunt, but once on Hidden Valley, the grunt was well worth it, and is soon forgotten about.  The side trip up to the Moab Rim View point is very strenuous, and even though it might not look very technical, it has the potential of  destroying you and your bike if you loose control at very high speed. 

   

Conclussion

This is still one of my favorite  trails, it’s more like an adventure than a “ride” . Last year I wrote that the singletrack that cuts through Hidden Valley was in really bad shape, and it was becoming  almost impossible to ride because they were so deep. The good news is, the trails for whatever reason in excellent shape again.

   

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : about 5 hikers
Wild Life : a Bull Snake
Scenery : Absolutely Fantastic 360 degree 3D Scenery
Other : Be WELL prepared for punctures, carry spare tubes and a repair kit. This advice is for ALL Moab rides, not just this one. DO NOT attempt this trail if you are not experienced riding on extremely rocky trails and very steep drops.

 

My Trail Rating : 10 / 10

 

Moab Rim CamparkThis Hidden Valley onto Moab Rim 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 Hidden Valley onto Moab Rim Trail starts 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



 

 

In the past I have received emails from people that call me crazy ‘cos of the way I rate this trail, a lot of people call this trail “extremely difficult to very dangerous ” So let me explain how I rate a trail.

I myself would put me in the “Intermediate MTB’er” category, and far from being Advanced. So on a trail like this, where there is a 40 min. portage, that is IMPOSSIBLE to ride both up or down, I do not consider this section Mountain Biking.. If I did, this trail would be “Suicidal”

All the trails I rate are based on my opinion, and on how “comfortable” I was while riding it.

Flat Pass Trail Moab

Flat Pass Trail Moab, also known as Steel Bender

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If there is one thing there is not a shortage of in Moab, it is Mountain Biking Trails. Everyone has a favorite trail here in Moab, but usually you only hear about  Slickrock,  Porcupine, Sovereign etc. However, the Flat Pass Trail, also known as the Steel Bender, has quite a following of mountain bikers that put this trail on the top of their “Favorites” list.
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Flat Pass Trail Map

Trail Stats & Information

Nearby Town: Moab
Length: Guide book states 15.5 total miles, I myself clocked 19.4 miles
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: [what the books say] Technically difficult to extreme. Physically moderate to difficult.
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate. Physically moderate
Duration: Book say’s 2-4 hours [ ?? 2 hours!! ] my time 4.07 hours
Trailhead Elev: 5,200 feet
Top Elev: 6,000 feet

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Book Description

The ride is highlighted by vandalized petroglyphs, rolling hills with sever transitions at the bottom, and some very beautiful views of the Moab Valley. There are a couple of spots on the trail that can sneak up on you, so keep your eyes on the trail and give blind turns and dips a lot of respect. I you enjoy technical challenge, deep stream crossings, transitions, vertical ridges, gaps and pits, knee-high ledges, rollies, plateaus, babyheads, death-grip-jackhammer stuff into deep sand, weird sliced-bread bedrock, and a ride that can be done form Moab, the Flat Pass is the trail. Trail Surface: Bedrock, loose rock, sand and babyheads on a technical 4WD track, with substantial creek crossings.


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My Experience

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.

Conclusion

The Flat Pass Trail is definitely a “must do” ride if you are in Moab, and I will definitely be doing this one again in the near future. However, I will approach this trail in a different way. Other options for this trail is to ride it as an “Out & Back”  which is about the same mileage as  a loop. Another loop option is to park your vehicle at the end of the trail, and do the road section first, get it behind you, and end the trail on a high. Or if you are lucky enough to be able to get a shuttle, and ride it as a P2P [ point 2 point ]

One bit of important advice for this trail is if you have never done it before, make sure you take a “proper” trail map, ‘cos there are numerous very confusing spots on this trail where the sign posts are missing  and with numerous trails branching off .

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : none, I had the trail to myself.
Wild Life : A Rattlesnake [ I almost sat on it ]
Scenery : Absolutely Fantastic Moab  Scenery
Other : Carry a proper map, and like all Moab trails a good puncture outfit and extra inner-tubes [ Moab trails are notorious for causing punctures]

My Trail Rating : 8.5 / 10 [ As a P2P I would give this trail a 10/10 ]

.

Moab Rim CamparkThe 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.

Flat Pass Trail can be done directly from your campsite as a loop, there is no need for a shuttle.
Moab Rim Campsite has been recommended by “Mountain Bike Mayhem” 4 years running.

Mountain Bikers get 10% discount, just bring your bike(s) and mention MOUNTAIN BIKE MAYHEM

For more info vist : Moab Rim Campark

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