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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 ]

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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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Hidden Valley and Moab Rim Trail

Hidden Valley and Moab Rim Trail

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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 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. Physically moderate
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

Since I came to the USA 4 years ago, I have always spent the whole month of October and the first week of November in Moab. I always stay at the Moab Rim Camp Ground, and the Hidden Valley Trailhead is just 5 min. away. Hidden Valley and Moab Rim Trail was the first ever Moab trail I did, I enjoyed it the first time, and I enjoy it every single time. This trail is stunningly scenic, and apart from the 40 min. portage at the bottom of  Hidden Valley, it’s a pretty easy ride. This trail can be looped in 3 hours.

Conclussion

EXCELLENT fun and scenic ride with a remote feeling even though you are just miles from Moab, once on the Rim you feel like you are the only person on earth. Excellent Moab scenery. The climb and portage to Hidden Valley is brutal, but once that is behind you, it’s cool running’s.

Personally I DO NOT agree with the difficulty rating mentioned in the guide Books. Although the Downhill is absolutely mental, with a 22+ grade, it is actually manageable, I have managed it myself with just 2 “get offs”. However, if anything goes wrong on the downhill it will probably cost you and your bike dearly.

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : about 5 hikers
Wild Life : who needs wildlife on a ride like this!?
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.

My Trail Rating : 9.5 / 10

 


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