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Thursday, March 10, 2016

Mountain Biking Navajo Rocks - Moab's newest trails!

After having fun on the M&M trail, and confident in our bikes and legs, we decided to spend another day on our bikes.  I did a little bit of research for another trail while sipping amazing coffee from Moab Coffee Roasters when I came across Navajo Rocks. 

Again, I needed beginner/intermediate levels and dog-friendly trails.  The easy part is virtually everything outside of the national parks is dog friendly.  The hard part can be finding the right trail for your skill and comfort level.  

Prepping at the trailhead

Navajo Rocks is the new Mountain Biking area in Moab, Utah created in 2014.  It is on the same road as Canyonlands National Park, and Dead Horse Point State Park.  So same sort of scenery, but without the restrictions of the National Parks.  Gorgeous new well maintained dog-friendly trails.  While the trails are dog friendly, I will warn you that there is very little shade, and the my dog was already hot in February.  Only bring your dogs early in the morning or late in the evening in the hotter months.  Also note that this trail is almost entirely slickrock which can tear up your dogs paws. Small cacti along the trail edge were also very common - we had to pull several out of Olive while on the trail. Booties were key to avoid this.  And of course, you are in the desert so bring enough water for your dog as well.

Oh, and the best thing?  This trail system is free of charge.  We also saw a few hikers on the trail so to all my non-mountain biking gal pals, this trail is still for you too!  

Trailhead to the Ramblin Trail and posted map

There are four main sets of trails entirely single track.  All of the trails are rated as Blue Square on the difficulty scale.  There are two main trails on each side of the road, and all four sort of meet in the center in a form a figure eight.  This gives you a few different riding options, looping through the trail or using the road to reach different trailheads.  Some people would bike down the road, and ride the trail back to their car, or ride one loop down, and the other loop back up to the car.  You can also ride the perimeter of all the loops, for a 17.6 mile ride. 

It's nice to have options. 
Especially when you break your chain halfway through a trail. 

Which way to ride
You can ride individual tracks or the perimeter of the entire loop.  If you are wondering which way is best, a counterclockwise approach will mean a gradual climb, and long technical but flowing descent. 

Second trailhead with tiny Navajo Rocks sign

To reach the trailhead
There are technically three different trailheads. To reach them, leave Moab and head north on 191 towards.  Take a left onto 313 (the road to Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point State park) and travel 7.2 miles to the trailhead.  There is no sign, but you will see a dirt pullout/parking area on the right.  The second pullout (wipeout hill trailhead) is about 1.5 miles down the road has a small sign that says "Navajo Rocks".   The third trailhead is Lone Mesa Trailhead. 

Well marked slickrock trail, marked in the color of the trail, and usually with rocks lining the sides. 

This is an awesome set of trails.  The trails are very well marked and well maintained.  The paint marks are fresh, and signage is great along the trail.  There are small maps at each trailhead.  The parking areas are large and well maintained.

Olive resting in a tiny patch of shade on the trail

There isnt any water, or any bathrooms at any of the trailheads.  So make sure you bring enough water for your trek. The trails are all very exposed so make sure you bring a ton of water.  Lastly, there are a lot of cactus around.  Be aware when you stop one the trails for a break.  If you have a dog, make sure they stay on the trail or wear booties.  I pulled a few cactus needles out of my dogs foot unfortunately.  The booties were key in protecting her feet from tearing on the slick rock and cactus. 

What to bring

What to bring
Extra tubes, a small air pump, water, snacks, sunglasses, helmet, gloves, a map, cell phone, dog water, dog bowl, and dog booties. 

Biking along the trail

The Ride 
We decided to do the two loops, Ramblin (3.33 miles), and then across the road and take the one mile cut across, and follow Rocky Tops (4.5 miles) back to the car.  Well, that was the plan anyway.  We started off parking our car at the first trailhead, and heading west.  The trail was beautiful, well marked, and we had a blast on the single track.  There was a steep pitch and I made the mistake of shifting and pedaling too hard at the same time to hear the unwelcoming sound of my chain breaking.  Without the proper tools, I ended up having to walk my bike back the rest of the way (we now have a chain breaker in our bike bag, lesson learned).  

Ride Profile 1:  Down Ramblin and back up the road to the trailhead

Thankfully, there was only a mile and a half left of the trail before reaching the central trailhead.  Thatcher biked up the road to the first trailhead to grab the car for my crippled bike.  This was the beauty of having shorter sections of trails that meet at the road.  While I pulled the cactus needles out of Olive's foot, Thatcher took off to finish the ride on Rocky Tops.  While he looped back, I took the car back to the first trailhead to meet him. 

Ride Profile 2:  Ramblin back up to the first trailhead
Trying to see if my chain was fixable (nope!) 

View of the snowcapped mountain from the trailhead 
Trailhead Parking

Following the trail 

End of the Rocky Tops Trail 


  1. Looks gorgeous! I'm not a mountain biker but it does look fun! Love that you put the safety vest on Olive - great idea. -Alicia @

    1. We did see a few hikers on the trail as well ;) The vest is a life savor when I am trying to find her (she blends in quite well!).

  2. Thank you for the great post,It is really a big help.thanks for sharing nice blog

    1. I am so glad you enjoyed it! Hoping the information helps anyone who wants to check out this area!

  3. Excellent post. I could relate to all of it. mongoose ledge 3.1

  4. As of Spring 2017, there is now a toilet at the central parking area. (No water, just a toilet).

    Should also note that cell coverage in the area is very very spotty - don't rely on getting a signal


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