Why is it called Slickrock? Though incredibly tacky for bike tires, horses with metal shoes do not have the same experience, so settlers in the 1800's named the sand stone "slick rock".
Starting from the largest parking lot ever dedicated to a single trail, head north on easy terrain. You'll come to the Slickrock Practice Loop in .25 miles, which is well worth the detour. It's a good introduction to the main Slickrock loop, slightly easier and adds another fun mile to your ride. It reconnects to this trail half a mile later.
The trail is a never-ending series of short but incredibly steep climbs and descents. The rock provides incredible traction, and after a while, you'll realize that everything here is rideable, even if it appears to be way to steep to ride at first. If this is your first time, walk the steeper ones and work up the difficulties slowly - falling on rock hurts more than dirt.
From the intersection with the Practice Loop, you'll ride a short connection to the main loop. Along this section, you come to a cool view down Abyss Canyon, then wade through a sandy pit, and then intersect with the 4x4 trail called Hell's Revenge (don't follow that trail by accident).
At 2 miles you'll come to the loop part of this lollipop, and the preferred direction is clockwise (though either way is fine), so take a left and ascend along 'swiss cheese ridge' high above Moab. This is a long, generally straight in direction, section of trail. The ups and downs are steep for sure. Along the flatter sections of slickrock, be on the lookout for potholes that cradle prickly pear cactus or want to swallow your tires.
At 3.5 and 5 miles, there are optional spurs (each a couple tenths of a mile) that go to the edge of the cliff for great views and are well worth it. The trail turns to parallel the Colorado River here and begins to descend towards a vast, flatter expanse of slickrock. It's wise to roll up to edges slowly.
The Natural Selection viewpoint at 7 miles is really cool, and a great place for a rest before you head back to the west and south to complete the loop. On the return you'll find more punchy climbs and steep descents with some sand traps mixed in for good measure. This part of the route will pass a couple of different canyons and you'll get some spine tingling views across the red rock landscape.
There's one big climb and descent to tackle before reaching the intersection to head back to the trailhead. Your legs will be tired but keep riding, you're about the complete the world famous Slickrock!
Local Trail Association
More Stats for Slickrock mountain bike trail
Altitude change-47 ft
Altitude min4,444 ft
Altitude max4,801 ft
Altitude start4,621 ft
Altitude end4,574 ft
Distance climb3 miles
Distance down3 miles
Distance flat2,464 ft
Avg reverse time00:49:12
- view trail stats
- Snow Packed
- Snow Covered
- Freeze/thaw Cycle
- Prevalent Mud
- Very Dry
Slickrock Trail Reports
Jun 26, 2018 @ 6:46amJun 26, 2018
|Temperatures over 90 F by 10 am and peak in mid-100s. Ride early and bring at least 3L of water.|
Apr 7, 2018 @ 9:24amApr 7, 2018
|Beautiful day, overcast so not too hot. Rain forecast in the afternoon.|
Mar 17, 2018 @ 5:21pmMar 17, 2018
|Great conditions today. Much of the sand washes are firm and rideable. The wind... Holy cow, the wind was blowing people off the trail (the first...|
Mar 15, 2018 @ 8:22pmMar 15, 2018
Feb 24, 2018 @ 8:47amFeb 24, 2018