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Highline Trail Sedona

The Highline Trail in Sedona, not just a mountain biking trail, but a mountain biking adventure.

 

Last year ( 2010 ) I did this trail for the first time, it was also the first ride I did in the USA with a guide. This year the roles had turned, and I was the guide. Luckily for me, I managed to find the trail a whole year later. The ride was just like last year fantastic, and I ended up doing it numerous times… Lucky, ‘cos on the first ride I had a fast crash, supermanning at least 20ft.
I had no idea why I crashed, until I watched the video that I was shooting when I came off, then it became clear…

The answer is in the footage..  

 

Highline Map 

 

Trail Stats & Information

Nearby Town : Sedona
Length: 10.28 miles
Trail Type: Lollipop
Skill Level: [what the books say] no info
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically difficult / very difficult. Physically moderate / demanding
Duration : My time was 2:50:16
Elev Gain : 1,741 feet
Top Elev : 4,717 feet
Min. Elev : 3,963 feet

 

Book Description

I could not find any Mtb Trail books describing the Highline Trail, because it is not really an “official” trail, so the below descriptions are based on my personal experience :

>> The Highline Trail is unique in many ways, the whole trail is singletrack, slickrock and the occasional creek bed. This trail is not mapped ( yet?) which means it is almost impossible to ride, unless you ride with a “local” or someone that has done it before. Once on the Highline Trail the trail is easy to follow. The views from the trail are second to none. Another nice thing about the Highline Trail is that it does not get the crowds other Sedona Trails get.

 

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Conclusion

Two days after the group ride, I did the Highline Trail again, this time solo, and what I REALLY loved about this trail both times, was the feeling I got when riding it.. To me it did not feel like a mountain bike ride, it felt like an adventure, there was nobody else on the trail, when I was with the group I felt like we were a Posse, and when I was alone, I felt like the “Lone Rider”

The Highline Trail is as fantastic as it is unique, it offers sweet narrow singletrack, some slow tech. creek bed riding, some fantastic slickrock and some mental downhill sections and lets not forget the fantastic scenery. Its not often that you get all of this on one trail.

 

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : none on the actual Highline Trail
Wild Life : Too much scenery to notice any wildlife
Scenery : The Best!!
Getting There : Little Horse Trailhead :
Head out of Sedona on the 179 towards Oak Creek Village, just after the roundabout at “Back ‘o Beyond Road” take the first left onto the trailhead.
Other : take (an) extra innertube(s) / repair kit, this is punture country.

 

My Trail Rating : 10 / 10 with a GOLD STAR

 

 
 
 
 
Sovereign Trail moab
Sovereign Trail moab

The Soveregn Trail in Moab offers miles of fun and scenic singletrack

 

Last year this was my last ride in Moab, I crashed on the last mile of the Sovereign Trail cracking some ribs and my sternum. As it happened, it turned out that this would also be my last Moab ride for 2011 as well, luckily for me though, this was not due to a crash. This time around I made it around the Sovereign Trail in one piece.

 

Sovereign Trail Map

Sovereign Trail Elevation

 

Trail Stats & Information Sovereign Trail

 
Nearby Town: Moab

Length: 15.45 miles : there are numerous options to lengthen or shorten the ride – My ride was 9.81 miles

Trail Type: Lollipop

Skill Level: [what the books say] Technically difficult. Physically very difficult

Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate. Physically moderately demanding with some very demanding sections

Duration: Book say’s 1-3 hours my time 2.38 hours

Trailhead Elev: 4,358 feet

Top Elev: 4,854 feet

 

 

Book Description

Sovereign is one of the newest mountain biking trail systems in Moab. The terrain in and around Sovereign is generally flatter than most of the terrain in the Moab area. However, don’t let that fool you into thinking this ride won’t be fun or challenging.The Sovereign Trail offers plenty of technical sections as well as rolling fast twisty singletrack sections and some short slickrock sections. The Sovereign Trail has quickly become one of the top Moab rides  

 

My Experience

I got to the Trailhead early, and was happy to be the first to arrive. Seeing as I had done this trail last year, I knew how to find the trail (unlike last year).
The trail climbs gradually for the first mile with some moderate technical stuff, nothing serious. What goes up must come down, and the gradual climb is followed by a gradual but fast slickrock downhill section, again, although fast, nothing very technical. The singletrack is fun to ride, and is unlike all the other Moab rides, although large sections are on slickrock, it’s not the redrock like most other trails. The Sovereign trail is pretty much a “Low Ride” with max. elevation gain of 970 ft. The Sovereign Trail is not extremely technical on the whole, but there are numerous short sections that are very technical, and should be approached with caution.  

 

Conclusion

I had a score to settle with the Sovereign Trail, and I did, the Sovereign Trail and myself are back on good terms. This trail is a fun trail, and as I mentioned above, unlike the other Trails Moab is famous for. Although I had a great ride, and will definitely do this trail again, it is not in my Moab’s “Favorite List” For anyone that like myself has a lot of time to ride the Moab Trails, then add this to your list, if you only have a few days to a week, then the Sovereign would probably not make my list.  

 

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : For a weekday, It was moderately busy

Wild Life : Definitely don’t need it on this scenic trail

Scenery : Really nice scenery.

Getting There : Willow Springs Road Trailhead: On US-191 north of Moab, turn east on dirt Willow Springs Road. Keep L at fork at mile 1.3. At mile 2.0, park in the rock-outlined area on your left N 38° 41.876′ W 109° 39.868′, just before a natural gas pump building on the R. Start the ride by continuing down Willow Springs Rd. Other : You can make this ride as long or as short as you like, there are numerous “Link Trails” that can be taken. Good Luck in finding a good trail map for this trail  

 

My Trail Rating : 8 / 10

 

 

Moab Rim CamparkThis Sovereign 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 Sovereign Trail is just a 15 min. drive from your campsite. 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

Poison Spider down Gold Bar Rim

The Poison Spider Mesa Trail and the Gold Bar Rim Trail, 2 of Moab's greatest rides

 

The Poison Spider Mesa Trail combined with the Gold Bar Rim trail is one heck of a mountain biking epic not to be missed.

This combination offers the experienced Mountain biker hours and hours of fun, scenic, fast, scary, and technical mayhem under the Moab sun.

 

Poison Spider Gold Bar Rim Trail Map

Poison Spider Gold Bar Rim Trail Elevation

 

  Trail Stats & Information

Nearby Town: Moab
Length: I clocked 22.14 miles
Trail Type: P2P [ Point 2 Point ]
Skill Level: [what the books say] no info
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate to challenging. Physically challenging. Navigating Gold Bar Rim can be quite a challenging
Duration: It took me 8.50 hours, but can be done in 6 hours
Trailhead Elev: Poison Spider = 4,037 ft – Gold Bar = 4,576 ft
Top Elev: 5,446 feet

 

Book Description

 

POISON SPIDER :

This technically and physically difficult ride can be done as a loop or as an out-and-back, with a turnaround point at a beautiful arch or at the rim overlooking Moab Valley a few more miles to the north. The trek starts with a relentless climb over little babyheads, leads through areas of deep sand and technical bedrock, then eventually flattens out into a ledgy romp. After some sandy curves and a bit of confusing route finding you are presented with some outrageously steep slickrock knobs that are a blast to ride for advanced cyclists. Once on the slickrock the ride can be free formed by those with good navigating skills, or you can follow the trail markings that appear as little jeeps. Keeping the jeeps oriented in the same direction is the secret to following the trail out to the rim. At any point you may also simply turn around and go back the way you came in. Trail Surface: 4WD doubletrack, slickrock, and extremely technical and dangerous singletrack, if you choose to take the Portal Trail option. Loose rock, stream worn rocks up to the size of babyheads, deep sand, slickrock, hardpack to loose sedimentary soil, and bedrock ledges on a classic technical 4WD track.

 

 

GOLD BAR RIM :

This is the deep end of the pool, the brink of mountain biking, the pinnacle of the sport, a ride only fit for the strong, smart and skilled–a place where others can qualify for the Darwin Awards. The surface is the most varied possible. The only missing ingredients are mud and water crossings. There are ledges, deep sand, loose rock, hardpack, slickrock, gigantic rock rubble, and every combination of these you can imagine. This ride is extremely dangerous! Despite the inherent danger of the exposed cliff, the Portal Trail is the emergency hatch to and from Poison Spider Mesa and the Gold Bar Rim in case of a storm or accident. Two deaths almost closed the trail in 1998. If we are to believe the BLM, one more is all it is going to take. This is the most challenging, beautiful, and awe inspiring mountain bike ride on earth. Treat it like it’s sacred. Respect it. Love it. Care for it. Most of all, fear it.

 

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My Experience

 

The Poison Spider Mesa Trail is one of my favorite Moab rides, but I always loop it with the Portal Trail.

The Gold Bar Rim Trail is listed in my “Best 15 mtb trails in the USA” but I have only ever come up the Gold Bar Rim and down Portal as a P2P.

I was really stoked about combining these two fantastic trails and riding them as a P2P.

I knew from experience it was going to be a long day, but I didn’t realize just how long it was going to take me. Luckily I had a very early start, at the crack of dawn, I was on the Poison Spider, I knew I would easily clear the Poison before anyone else even started on the trail.. Great, I was all alone on the Poison, this gave me plenty of time to take pics, shoot vids, and to just relax and enjoy the the trail.
The sun was still on the horizon, so the temp. on the Poison was very comfortable, I was on top form, and so was my loyal steed. We cleared the Poison incl. a side trip to the Arch in under 3 hours.

Once at the top of Poison, on the “Rim” I relaxed and prepared for the long and tricky Gold Bar Rim. For some reason I thought it was gonna be all downhill from this point, I was wrong in a big way, it was a lot of up’s and down’s, and by now the sun was high enough for the Rim to start heating up.

I veered off the Gold Bar Rim and took the extremely technical “Blue Bar” Trail. I will not say much about this trail, except that it is an Illegal Trail, closed to protect the Big Horn Sheep. I did not know this at the time, and going down Gold Bar Rim it is not at all clear that this trail is illegal, however coming “up” Gold Bar Rim it is clearly stenciled in the Rock. I will add that the “Blue Bar Trail” is extremely technical, and certain areas are VERY Dangerous, certain sections on this trail makes the “Portal Trail” seem like a walk in the Park.

Please respect the Laws of the Trails, and stay on the Gold Bar Rim

If you have never done the Gold Bar Rim Trail before, it can be very tricky to navigate, at one point you will be following the “Gold Spike Trail” and then it will be the “Gold Bar Trail” you should not attempt this trail without a good map.

The Gold Bar offers some fantastic technical sections, I was happy to have cleared a few, but most of them were too tricky for me.

Remember, this is a long and very remote trail, do not take any risks on this trail, if anything goes wrong, you are a long way from anywhere, and it could be days before you see someone else.

 

 

Conclusion

Well, I have to be honest, we are talking about two of Moab’s greatest trails, no matter how you approach them, you are going to be guaranteed a ride of your life. The Poison is scenic, fun and moderately technical, and can be done as an Out and Back, or looped with the Portal Trail, or as a P2P with the Gold Bar. As a P2P with Gold Bar, this becomes a technical and remote trail. 24 remote miles of Moab splendor, don’t under estimate the Gold Bar Rim, it’s a tricky trail, and a LOT can go wrong on this Trail.

For everyone that like myself likes a bit of a challenge and remote rides, then this combination of coming up the Poison Spider, and down the Gold Bar Rim could be the best mountain biking experience you could wish for.

This combination is NOT suited for anyone without some navigation skills, the remoteness is your best friend, or your worst enemy on this trail.

And as the guide book states : Treat it like it’s sacred. Respect it. Love it. Care for it. Most of all, fear it.

 

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : 3 moto crossers, that were seriously lost, and needed my help 3 times to get back to the main road.
Wild Life : none
Scenery : Absolutely Fantastic Moab Scenery
Other : This is a very remote ride, carry ALL your spare parts in case anything happens. Carry a good Map, and know how to use it. and carry as much fluids as you can. If you get lost, head back up to the “Rim” and follow it back towards Moab and head down the Portal or back down the Poison Spider.

 

My Trail Rating : 10 / 10 with a GOLD Star


Moab Rim CamparkPoison Spider – Gold Bar 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 Camp groud.
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 Poison Spider – Gold bar Rim Trail is just 20 min. drive 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 Poison Spider and Gold Bar Rim Trail. Oct. 2011