Maui Wowee: Mountain Biking Maui With Kids

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Riding Maui's Bike Park With Kids

One of the most popular attractions on the island of Maui is to wake up at three in the morning to bus to the 10,023 foot summit of mount Haleakalā to watch the sun tear through inky pillowed clouds, releasing a pyrotechnic sunrise. Glorious for adults and whine-inducing for sleep-deprived children. Like many, when my kids are not sleeping, they prefer cycling to aesthetic contemplation.

Riding Maui's Bike Park With Kids

Vistiting Haleakalā and Makawao Forest Bike Park

We slept in and left for the summit after seven, when Haleakalā National Park opens to cars without reservations, for a mountain bike descent from the summit via the Skyline Trail and Polipoli Spring State Recreation Area. The ride is 18 miles long, but with 7000 feet of downhill and little up, doable for kids accustomed to a few hours on a bike. Apart from some loose rock at the top, tight turns and achy brake fingers, the ride is generally not technical.

Mountain biking Maui's Skyline trail
MTB With Kids - Maui Skyline Trail
Taking a break while mountain biking in Maui

The Skyline Trail starts just past the desolate multihued crater where the Haleakalā High Altitude Observatory perches at the edge of the park. The first five miles of the trail are on double-track, a mercy for those awestruck by views of distant Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa set in the sparkling big blue. Unlike their mom, the children were not bothered by the sensation of imminent flight off the mountain towards the Alenuihaha Channel. A park ranger said the road had recently been graded, but it can be ugly with sand and fist-sized hunks of sharp a’a lava rock.

Mountain biking in Maui
Young girl mountain biking in Maui with family
Checking out a cave while mountain biking with kids in Maui

At the top of the fog belt, where rider and vegetation return to earth, we took a snack break before heading down the Mamane Trail. We flushed ring-necked pheasants and chukars as we cruised the pine forest on well-maintained singletrack. A collapsed lava tube marks a junction with the upper Waiohuli Trail and a transition to the tropical rainforest. That trail leads to the dirt Waipoli Road that transforms into a one-lane asphalt road with 20 magnificent switchbacks accomplishing the last 1000-foot drop. We saw three hikers and two cars the entire ride.

There are no licensed shuttles or guided tours of the Skyline Trail, which skirts the Hawaiian Homelands, areas sacred to native Hawaiians and off limits to commercial activity per the state. Since I was the only one with a driver’s license, I considered possibilities that included stealing a mobility scooter from the Kahului Costco parking lot. Except that twenty years from now I do not want the family legend to contain a story about how mom was busted driving up the side of a Hawaiian volcano at four miles per hour.

The real options are to rent a second car and leave it at the bottom, to hitch back up to your car or to keep asking until you find someone who has half a day available to drive you around. I lucked out offering da kine tip via ridesharing app for the run back up to the summit. With two cars, leave one near Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm at the end of the descent. Count out riding on the busy two-lane highway. Drivers on Maui are courteous to riders, but long shoulderless sections of road lined with grabby tropical plants are a particularly bad idea for children.

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Bike Park At The Kahakapao Recreation Area

Having worshipped at the House of the Sun, the next day we joined Maui’s party of the jungle at the Makawao Forest Preserve’s Kahakapao Recreation Area. You know it’s going to be good when you roll up and the parking lot has both tots jamming on striders and construction workers celebrating a lunch ride with huge grins on mud-splattered faces. It’s not just the chorus of tropical birds making noise, there were happy human whoops coming from the forest. Plus, the air smelled like tropical flowers.

Maui mtb fun with kids

The bike park starts with a couple pauma (pump) tracks; ‘akahi akahi (novice) and akamai (expert) skills areas; and even offers a repair station with tools. The skills areas feature a small teeter-totter, bridges, log rides, jumps of varying sizes and shapes and generously banked turns. The steeper jumps were hard-packed and booger-slick, requiring extra momentum for successful takeoff and landing. Fallen leaves and mud obscured some portions of the parks, but popular lines were clear.

Maui mtb roller coaster
Getting a little air on a wood wave in Maui
Shredding mountain bike trails in Maui
Hitting a jump on Maui

The main trails, designed by IMBA’s Trail Solutions and maintained by the local IMBA chapter, the Maui Mountain Bike Coalition, work out to a few variations on a couple miles of upward grind followed by a swoopy run down. Everyone we met recommended climbing the East Trail and descending via Pineapple Express, two miles of tasty flow trail with solid berms banking tight turns, whoop de doos, table jumps and a fat BC-style wallride near the end. More advanced climbs and descents are an option. As an educational bonus a parent would appreciate, trails were sprinkled with interpretive signs explaining the history of the preserve, which was planted by prisoners in the 1960s, and the tools like the kahakapao, an adze Hawaiians once used to shape canoes.

We made one last visit to the skills area before foraging for the penultimate post ride treat of the tropics: shaved ice.

Shaved ice in Maui makes everyone happy
Shaved ice while visiting Maui
Enjoying shaved ice after mountain biking in Maui

Before you ride on Maui, check in on trail conditions via coconut wireless, aka direct person-to-person information sharing. Various websites, maps and trail apps have inexplicably different names, lengths and ratings for the same trails, for example, East Trail and East Kahakapao Loop, rated both easy and difficult as well as being one, two and three miles long. Neither GPS nor cell service are reliable under heavy tree cover. Plus, island weather varies by microclimate, a situation only decipherable by someone in the area, though morning tends to be sunny and rain visits in the afternoon.

We picked up bikes at Krank Cycles Maui in Makawao which had an extra small, full-suspension Marin Hawk Hill that fit my nine-year old. For the taller ones, the shop has a formidable quiver that includes Santa Cruz, Knolly and BMC. While a couple of 20-inch bikes were available, they said 24-inch bikes might be a future possibility. Rentals come with a helmet, water bottle, repair kit and a backpack, but those with a preference for clipless pedals have to bring their own. If out of luck with the ever-shifting landscape of vacation equipment rental companies, you might consider buying (and triple-checking the assembly of) smaller bike-shaped-objects from Walmart and donating them afterwards. The cost would not be far off from renting and still less expensive than an evening of mai tais and pupus at the Sheraton.

Even the most dedicated beach potatoes typically plan for an adventure or two while vacationing on Maui, the most action-oriented of the Hawaiian islands. Cram into an underwater metal sausage for a submarine tour or hang loose for a high-altitude shred session? Five minute flight on a zipline verus hours of red dirt roller coaster? Booze cruise versus jungle mountain bike jam? Maui MTB nō ka ʻoi! Maui MTB is the best!

Cassie Ferguson

About The Author

Cassie Ferguson lives in Salt Lake City with two children that wisely suppress their giggles when mom walks her bike downhill. A sometime science writer specializing in computational science, Cassie will fully transmogrify to graduate student in occupational therapy at the University of Utah starting fall 2019.

Riding The Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park With Kids

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Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park - Boulder City, Nevada

Just 30 minutes southeast of Las Vegas lies Boulder City, Nevada. This small town sprouted from the desert as a result of needing to house contractors building the Hoover Dam. The construction of the dam was a WPA project from FDR’s New Deal agenda enacted to bring the county out of the Great Depression. Fast forward to the late 1990s and a local by the name of Brent Thomson spearheaded the trail building in the western mountains bordering the city. Along with the help of many friends, this trail network would become the Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park. Unfortunately, Brent passed away in 2009 – but his love for mountain biking has evolved to become a unique destination for mountain bikers all over the world.

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Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park - Boulder City, Nevada

Helpful Resources For Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park

Getting To Bootleg Canyon MTB Park

If you’re approaching from the north, you’ll have to go through Las Vegas on I-15. Once in Vegas, after exit 42 just hop on I-515/I-11 south and take that to Nevada Hwy 93.
Once in Boulder City, you access Bootleg by taking a left turn on Veteran’s Memorial Drive and another left on Yucca Street.
All Mountain Cyclery - Boulder City, Nevada

All Mountain Cyclery

1601 Nevada Highway
Boulder City, NV 89005

Website: www.allmountaincyclery.com
Phone: 702-453-2453

Visit the website for weekend shuttle information from October – May.

DVO Suspension Winter Gravity Series

Winter Gravity Race Series

900 Canyon Road
Boulder City NV 89005

Website: www.downhillmike.com

A 3-part mountain bike race series featuring DH, Enduro, and Dual Slalom events. Events are Jan – March.

BOULDER CITY WEATHER

Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park Trail Map

Bootleg Is A Warm MTB Winter Wonderland

We visited Bootleg Canyon for the first time a little over 3 years ago as an escape from Salt Lake City’s dreary and cold “Inversion” season. Inversion is a cleansed word describing SLC’s pollution problem and this usually occurs in the months of January and February. The novelty of being in the sun, enjoying 50º-60º temperatures, AND riding mountain bikes with the family in the dead of winter is strong incentive for loading up the mini van and hitting the road. More than once, the weather has been so favorable, we have camped at nearby Lake Mead in January and February. It can be windy at times with gusts reaching well over 20 mph. For optimal riding, be sure to check the weather in advance.

Bootleg Canyon bike sculpture
Camping at nearby Lake Mead - MTB road trip to Bootleg

When you approach the zone via Canyon Road/Yucca Street from the “downtown” area, you’re greeted by a wonderfully crafted metal mountain bike sculpture designed by a local shop by the name of Ornamental Iron Works. The bike is about 12 feet long x 8 feet tall. And, because it’s a mountain bike, it featured faux full suspension. The sculpture is an appropriate preface of what’s to come. Some of the trails at Bootleg require big-time skills.

Be prepared to ride at Bootleg Canyon MTB Park

Be Prepared To Ride At Bootleg

Riding Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park will make you better – but you better be prepared! The terrain can be steep, exposed, and sharp rocks grace almost every trail. Be sure your bike is in excellent working condition. You are going to need your brakes and suspension, so make sure they are ready to go. You need to make sure your tire pressure is correctly set – or at the very least, you will get a flat. You could also tear a tire, dent a wheel, or smash a derailleur.

For first time visitors, we recommend wearing a full-face or enduro helmet with removable chin bar when riding Bootleg. Gloves are also a must. Knee-pads, elbow pads, butt-pads, neck braces and chest protectors are also common protective gear at Bootleg Canyon. These should be a requirement if you are going to ride the downhill trails.

We would strongly recommend a full-suspension mountain bike for riding Bootleg. If downhill mountain biking is your specialty, there will be plenty to do.

Mountain Biking With The Family At Bootleg Canyon

There are no lifts to get you to the top of the trails. You can pedal, self-shuttle, or get a paid shuttle on most weekends. The graded, unpaved road from the base of the hill next to the restrooms and large parking areas is most commonly used to reach the top of the mountain. If you are going to the start of the downhill trails, you will hike-a-bike for about .25 miles up from where the graded road ends.

Pedaling up to Bootleg MTB trails
Bootleg Canyon shuttle

Some of the trails at Bootleg Canyon are challenging to say the least. If you are going to ride here with smaller kids, an adult with at least strong intermediate skills needs to pre-ride all the trails you intend to ride with the little ones. There is plenty to keep a young family busy, but it will be best if you plan ahead and make your itinerary based on your group’s riding ability.

When you are at the top of the graded road, you can see Las Vegas. While looking at the city, the hike-a-bike trail to the downhill trails is on your left. And, the trail Boy Scout is towards your right.

There are options for getting warmed up when riding Bootleg with your family. To get acquainted with the dirt, take a ride on the trail Desert Cruise and return to the base area on the River Mountains access road/trail.

When you’re ready to dial it up a notch, head up Red Mountain Access Road via pedal power or shuttle and try East Leg. Or, head to the top of Red Mountain Access Road and ride Boy Scout. Both Boy Scout and East Leg are gobs of fun and are rated as intermediate trails. Boy Scout is one of our personal favorites because its features consist of everything we like about riding mountain bikes in the desert: fast corners, challenging but passable technical sections, tough turns, narrow lines, and even a few climbs. When you ride this trail over and over, you’re going to get better at mountain biking. You will ride it a little faster, clean a technical section with a bit more flow and finesse, transition to a climb in the correct gear, and so on.

kid on full-suspension bike at Bootleg Canyon MTB Park

Other intermediate trails include Inner Caldera, West Leg, Girl Scout, Mother, and a handful more. Explore these trails. Have a good time riding in this Southwest mountain biking mecca. Similar to some experts no longer calling Pluto a planet, the IMBA once designated Bootleg Canyon as one of its EPIC rides. Once you visit and ride Bootleg in person, you can judge the retracted designation for yourself.

Mother and son riding Inner Caldera trail at Bootleg Canyon MTB park
Mom rides Bootleg Mountain Bike Park with young son

The trails Sidewinder, Snake Back, and Ginger are a few of the advanced downhill trails in the park. These tracks are tough. There’s a reason why all the pictures of the downhill trails only feature the kids. Mom and dad just don’t have the skills for these. You get to the top of the downhill tracks by shuttling your downhill bike or pedaling your trail bike to the top of Red Mountain Access Road. Then, you have about a .2 mile hike-a-bike/pedal to the start zone. All the downhill trails split off of Sidewinder. If you can ride the fist 150 feet of Sidewinder, you’re going to have a good time on these downhill trails. Again, ride within your skill-set and hunt out the downhill trails that make you happy.

Kid with protective neck brace on downhill mountain bike trail - Bootleg Canyon
Riding downhill mtb trail at Bootleg Canyon
Riding the hourglass on a full-suspension enduro bike at Bootleg Canyon

Racing At Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park

In the months of January, February and March – you and the family can race at Bootleg Canyon. Enduro, Downhill and Dual Slalom races are offered to riders age 6 and up. “Downhill” Mike Scheur is the Race Promoter for the events and his team does a great job running the show.

Downhill Mike Scheur

Downhill Mike, Says…

“Bootleg is great for families because there are so many there. If there was only one family at our events, it may be hard to convince others to come. However, these families seem to know each other and are very welcoming to new families just getting into the scene. They not only make you feel welcome and at home – but they are helpful as coaches and as resourceful as one can become for the sport and way of life.”

Mountain biking mom
Mountain biking family
Downhill racer

These races are a lot of fun and a great way to ease the winter-time blues. Last year, our whole family raced one of the enduro events. You may even see some of the pros. Mountain bike racers Rachel Strait, Logan Binggeli, Cody Kelley, and Mitch Ropelato often make appearances here to kick off their seasons. Even World Cup overall champion downhill rider Aaron Gwin shows up once in a while to get his groove on. For more information and registration, visit www.downhillmike.com.

Current Trail Stewards And Other Features At The Bike Park

“Brent Thomson was not alone in his efforts when building trails”, exclaims Mike Scheur. “Dan Haskin is the acting Trail Boss at Bootleg. His brother Jeff and others started on the trails back when the sport was in it’s infancy. The local bike shop, All Mountain Cyclery and Dan Haskin have been providing maintenance and building some new stuff, too. Our crew, Bootleg Canyon Gravity Racing, works on all race trails before and after each event.”

Mountain biking kid on wood skinny
Bootleg Canyon Welcomes You - sign
Advanced jump line at Bootleg Canyon mountain bike park

Near the main base area, there are a few jump lines you’re free to session. Just treat it like a sledding hill and be on the lookout for oncoming downhill traffic prior to dropping in. Northeast of the base area, there is a see-saw feature, wood skinnies, small gap jump and a couple more senders. North of the metal bike sculpture near the entry of the bike park, there is another advanced jump line. On your left as you enter the park, there is a pump track.

Bootleg Canyon Truly Offers Something For Every Mountain Biker

It’s safe to say most mountain bikers are not familiar with riding in the Southwest. And with it’s proximity to Las Vegas, Bootleg Canyon is very accessible compared to many other riding destinations.

This zone has earned its place on our winter month road trip itinerary year after year. We eagerly look forward to riding its challenging and unique terrain when the temperatures drop at our home and the local trails are covered in snow. When you visit Bootleg, you’re going to have plenty to do. You can easily enjoy a long weekend with the family so you can experience all this great zone has to offer mountain biking families.

Coast Gravity Park

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Coast Gravity Park featured image

Like many of you, we found out about Coast Gravity Park while watching the movie Arrival a few years ago. Coast Gravity Park is located near the town of Sechelt in British Colombia. Cliche warning: they say ‘getting there is half the fun’ and that is certainly true when it comes to CGP. At the very least make a weekend of it. Chances are you have to ferry in from Vancouver.

Coast Gravity Park featured image

Helpful Information About Coast Gravity Park

Day Passes: $65 CAD at the park | $58.50 CAD if you buy at least 24 hours in advance online.

Website: www.coastgravitypark.ca | You will find a lot of additional travel information as well as where to stay on the CGP website.

Phone: 604-989-5431

Ferry Travel: It takes a total of about 2.25 hours to get from West Vancouver’s Horseshoe Bay Ferry Terminal to the Coast Gravity Park. If you are planning your trip from a less-common destination, please see the maps and schedules at www.bcferries.com

SECHELT WEATHER

This mountain bike park was the inception of The Coastal Crew. Originally composed of Dylan Dunkerton, Kyle Norbraten, and Curtis Robinson – these 3 mountain bikers chose to create their own bike park experience which could be utilized and enjoyed 12 months out of the year. During the “slow season” from August 30th – May 15th, the park is only open on Saturdays and Sundays (weather permitting).

Coast Gravity Park trail legend sign
Bikes on shuttle

Need to plan the ultimate birthday party and solidify your position as the best parents ever? As of this writing, you can reserve the entire park starting at $929.49 CAD a day. There are no lifts in the park – just shuttle vehicles. You are encouraged to buy your tickets online several days prior to your visit so the facility can have enough staff and vehicles on site to accommodate riders. Visitors who purchase passes at least 24 hours in advance also save 10%.

Canadian flag and shuttle at Coast Gravity Park

Coast Gravity Park Trail Map

About The Bike Park

There are 12 trails in the park and that was enough to keep our familia very happy. Everyone in our clan is at least a solid intermediate mountain biker and that means we got to experience most of what the bike park had to offer. To get acclimated, cruise down the trail Mr. Green so you’ll get a sense of the slope and terrain. After this warm up run, you can ramp it up on the intermediate through the pro-line runs if you’ve got the skills. Our kids really liked the trail Lift Off because of a table jump that would huck them for several feet. If you’re ready for a little hike-a-bike, you can push your bike above where the shuttle drops you off and ride the advanced trail Dynamite Panther. During our visits, all the trails we rode were in excellent condition.

Hitting a jump on Lift Off

If you choose not to pack a lunch and drinks, you can take a advantage of the outdoor Coast Gravity Grill. The food is very good and made fresh every day.

Coast Gravity Park - tacos
Cruising through the trees at Coast Gravity Park

The vibe at Coast Gravity Park is very family friendly and low key. We’ve had the opportunity to ride CGP a couple of times and on both occasions the other riders and all the staff were very helpful and courteous. Keep in mind that Coast Gravity Park is kind of rustic. That’s just our way of saying there are only portable restrooms on site. If you need to rent bikes, be aware that you will have to pick them up in Sechelt, Vancouver, or elsewhere.

CGP is easy on the eyes

Moab Mountain Bike Trails For Beginners

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Beginner mountain bike trails in Moab for families and kids

Moab is home to some of the best mountain biking trails on the planet! But before you take on The Whole Enchilada, Slickrock Trail, Captain Ahab, and others with your small kids or beginner mountain bikers – you gotta start small and start safe. This list of beginner mountain bike trails for families in Moab was put together so you can still get a dose of what this amazing area has to offer. One of the best things about mountain biking in Moab is that there is plenty to do. You can introduce your kids to mountain biking with one of these short rides and hike surreal desert landscapes on the same day. As your skills and your children’s mountain biking skills increase you can return to Moab and go on longer, more technical rides.

MOAB MTB WEATHER

Jurassic Trail
Area: Klondike Bluffs | Distance: 3.2 miles one way 

The Jurassic Trail is a beginner-friendly smooth singletrack trail with very little elevation change. This hardpacked dirt trail skirts the edge of a mesa. The Jurassic Trail is located in the Klondike Bluffs mountain biking area, a network of 50+ miles of singletrack located 20 minutes north of Moab.

The Jurassic trail begins half a mile north of the south parking area and can be reached via Inside Passage (single track but more climby) or on the 4×4 Klondike dirt road (boring but flat). The Jurassic Trail is a smooth singletrack trail with almost no elevation change. Jurassic follows the edge of the mesa to the west of the Copper Ridge road. There are no difficult climbs (7% max grade) and nothing technical to make beginners uncomfortable.

We’d recommend this trail for beginners, although riders of any ability level might enjoy it. Intermediate riders might choose to opt for the Dino Flow trail that adds some more technical challenges.

Beginner mountain bike rides in Moab

Getting To Jurassic Trail In Moab, Utah

The Jurassic Trail is most easily accessed from the South Klondike Trailhead in the Klondike Bluffs area. To reach the trailhead from Moab, drive north on Hwy 191 for 16.0 miles to the signed junction for Klondike Bluff Road. Turn right onto Klondike Bluff Road and continue 2.9 miles on the unpaved road to the South Klondike Trailhead. NOTE: There is no water available in the area, so be sure to plan ahead!

The Great Pyramid Loop
Area: Dead Horse Point – East side trails (Intrepid Trail System) | Distance 4.2 miles 

The Intrepid Trail System was designed for riders of differing skill and fitness levels. The Great Pyramid Loop is a fun loop for families with beginner riders who have some experience riding on dirt. The Great Pyramid is technically easy and mostly flat with some gentle climbing on first half of the loop, so you get to end on a downhill.

The trail system starts at the north end of the Dead Horse Point visitor’s center parking lot. After a short length of two-way trail (Intrepid), it forks into a loop. The Great Pyramid Loop (Intrepid – Great Pyramid- Raven Roll) is easy to follow. You’ll find signs at each intersection and rocks and logs define the trail. The trail is mostly well-packed dirt with a few rock and very short sand sections. There are no true technical areas to speak of, but you’ll come across a few small rock steps (2-5″ in height) that true beginners might choose to walk over. Although the trail has great views, it is more than 50 feet away from the cliffs so parents can relax while biking with kids. Be sure to take the time to hike out to the marked overlook points (Colorado River Overlook and Pyramid Canyon Overlook) along the trail.

NOTES: Dead Horse Point altitude is around 6000 feet. It’s usually at least 10 degrees cooler there than in Moab. There are bathrooms and water available in the visitors center at the trailhead and at the group picnic site. The Great Pyramid Loop trail flows well and is a super fun ride. Riders of all ability levels will enjoy this loop.

Great Pyramid Loop - beginner mountain bike trail in Moab

Getting To The Great Pyramid Loop Trail In Moab

About 10 miles north of Moab, turn west off Highway 191 towards Canyonlands National Park on Highway 313. Drive 14 miles and turn left toward Dead Horse Point. Four miles later, pay your entry fee ($15 per car in 2018, significantly higher than most Utah state parks) at the gate house and drive another two miles to the visitors center. The trailhead is at the north end of the parking lot.

Lazy-EZ Loop
Area: Moab Brand Trails System Distance | 3.1 miles 

Take note that this ride is best suited for competent beginners and intermediate riders. A fun loop for competent beginners and early intermediate riders. This loop is a bit more challenging than the Bar M trail for beginner riders who are hoping for a little bit of challenge. The Lazy EZ Loop is a 3-mile singletrack loop made of two different trails – Lazy is the eastern trail and EZ is on the west. This loop has is designated as a one way loop, which makes for less trail congestion.

Prepare for around 150 vertical feet of mild climbing.

To get to the start of EZ/Lazy, take the double track Short Loop 1/10 of a mile from the main parking area. This loop is designated as a one-way ride starting with EZ, so take a right at the trailhead.

EZ offers nice views of the Wingate cliffs to the west. EZ trail skirts the edge of a small ridge and is mostly smooth hardpacked dirt with a few slick rock sections. There are a few rock outcrops that are mellow enough for beginners to ride with little concern. After about 1.5 miles, you’ll come to the Lazy Trail.

Lazy has more downhill than up and is fun to ride. From Lazy, you’ll enjoy views of the La Sal Mountains and Arches National Park The loop travels over rolling desert terrain, with long views into Arches National Park to Balanced Rock, the Windows and the Klondike Bluffs. We especially enjoy the swoopy downhill section near the end.

Get out there and enjoy the ride! The Lazy-EZ loop is a nice trail for riders of all skill levels. Beginner riders will find it mildly challenging. Not only is Lazy EZ a nice loop in itself, it also accesses other trails so you can extend your ride if you choose.

Lazy EZ Loop - beginner mountain bike trail in Moab, Utah

Getting To The Lazy EZ Trail In Moab

To get to the Moab Brand Trails System, drive 7-miles North of Moab on Highway 191. Turn east onto a gravel road – opposite from the Gemini Bridges turnout. You’ll see Bar M signs advertising a cowboy dinner. After getting off the highway, immediately turn right and continue down the road as it curves left into a dirt parking lot. The ride begins here.

Bar M Loop
Area: Moab Brand Trails System North of Moab | Distance: 8 miles 

This ride is best suited for true beginners and intermediate riders who would like a warm-up ride. Bar M Loop is a super easy well signed mostly double track ride with beautiful desert scenery. There is hardly any change in elevation. T Many families ride this trail, including baby trailers and trail-a-bikes. he loop is eight miles long, but does have several escape trails throughout the area in case you need to get back to the parking lot quicker than planned.

The east side of the loop has a few non-technical slickrock spots to play around on. It’s a great area to give true beginners a taste of what slickrock riding is all about. There are also a few short downhill sections to get the amazing feel of flowing effortlessly through the desert on your bike. Here you can pick up speed and blast down through the sand and stone to see what your bike is capable of. Fear not though, there’s nothing technical here.

The views also become more dramatic as you can see Arches National Park in the distance. Keep an eye out for spur trails that lead to overlooks for even better vistas.

The ride consists of mellow singletrack with a few low-threat technical sections for beginners to test their meddle (but if anything is still too hard, there’s no shame in walking.) Other than these few rocky spots, the path is smooth, well marked, and excellently maintained.

Beginning mountain bike trails in Moab - Bar M trail

Getting To The Bar M Loop In Moab

To get to the Moab Brand Trails System, drive 7-miles North of Moab on Highway 191. Turn east onto a gravel road – opposite from the Gemini Bridges turnout. You’ll see Bar M signs advertising a cowboy dinner. After getting off the highway, immediately turn right and continue down the road as it curves left into a dirt parking lot. The ride begins here.

Moab Canyon Pathway and Highway 128 path (paved)

The Moab Canyon Pathway follows the former path of Highway 191. This path has been re-paved and extended so it forms a nice paved bike path from the north end of Moab to Highway 313. Connecting to this trail at the Colorado River is the paved path along State Route 128.

Moab Canyon Pathway

This trail can be ridden as a destination in itself or as a connection to Brand Trails, Gemini Bridges or Highway 313. The path begins at the pedestrian/bike bridge that crosses the Colorado River on Highway 128, just north of Moab. The super smooth blacktop snakes through 2 miles of the red rock canyon to the entrance of Arches National Park. The path continues past Arches National Park for another 6.5 miles, and 525 vertical feet of climbing, crossing under Highway 191 to the beginning of Highway 313.

Parents can pull their babies behind their bikes in trailers and all ages can enjoy the pathway, even if it is just for a leisurely stroll. Kids can try their new bikes on the flat sections on either end, since only the middle 4 miles have noticeable grade.

Mountain bikers can use the paved bike path for direct access to the multiple trails at the Moab Brands Trail System and Gemini Bridges area (near mile 6) which adds a great warm-up on pavement to the trail and slickrock rides. From there, mountain bikers can access unlimited miles of dirt and slickrock routes including the Sovereign Trail, Bartlett Wash and Monitor & Merrimac areas.

The Moab Canyon Paved Path has got to be one of the most scenic bikeways around. It connects the Courthouse Wash trailhead near Arches National Park with Highway 313 that leads to Canyonlands National Park. Along the way, the trail provides access to the Bar M trails and the Mag 7 trails (Gemini Bridges).

Beginner mountain bike trails in Moab for families and kids

Zen Trail

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Zen trail - Utah mountain biking

Trailside Mountain Bike Park

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Trailside Bike Park - Park City, Utah

The Snake Hollow Bike Park in St. George, Utah

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The Snake Hollow Bike Park in St. George, Utah

There’s an incredible new St. George mountain bike park in southern Utah. Just across from the street on the east side of Snow Canyon High School lies the Snake Hollow Bike Park. You and the kids can explore four separate zones where the whole fam can increase your mountain biking acumen and artistry.

The Snake Hollow Bike Park in St. George, Utah

Mom, dad and the womp rats are encouraged to ride in a beginner to advanced level dirt jump zone, pump tracks and skills loops, gravity and progressive drop features, and gravity jump trails. When you see this for the first time in person, you will be amazed at the breadth of terrain and features. What was once a vacant wash is now yet another slice of mountain biking paradise in the St. George area. The park is expansive. The total property size is 80 acres and the is just Phase One.

The majority of the dirt jumps are tables and they have take-off ramps with welded steel foundations and wood ladder surfaces. The angles and transition of the jumps on the beginner and intermediate lines are very well crafted and they encourage you to hit them at speed in order to clear them.

A couple of bigger features in the park include an elevated table with a step-up step-down and a tall whale-tail.

In addition to the bike skills zones, there is a covered pavilion with picnic tables, drinking fountains, and restrooms.

How The Bike Park Was Funded

Financing was obtained from two resources in order to build the facility – the RAP (Recreation, Arts & Parks) tax from the city of St. George and transient room tax dollars from Washington County.

Why a bike park with this money? Marc Mortensen, the Assistant City Manager of St. George told us that the bike park was included in the original appeal to have the RAP tax approved so the tax would gain the support of the cycling community. Other types of activities that qualify for RAP funding include art, music, theater, dance, cultural arts, and natural history. Marc also said, “Our city council understands the importance of mountain biking and what it’s done here. We think mountain biking is in the top five reasons of why people come to St. George and we want to capitalize on that.”

Dixie Mountain Bike Trails Association
FlowRide Concepts
The city of St. George, Utah
Washington County, Utah
Washington County RAP tax
Mountain biker at the Snake Hollow Bike Park in St. George, Utah

FlowRide Concepts from Boulder, Colorado was selected to build the bike park. They worked closely with City of St. George Park Planning Division and their existing park architects on staff to create the venue. The area’s local trail organization, DMBTA (Dixie Mountain Bike Trail Association) also played a role with the development of the area.

Advanced zone at the Snake Hollow Bike Park in St. George

How To Get To The Snake Hollow Bike Park

  • Get off I-15 at the St. George Blvd. exit and head west.
  • Turn right on Bluff Street
  • Turn left on Sunset Blvd.
  • Turn right on Lava Flow Drive (2400 West)
  • The Snake Hollow Bike Park will be on the right side of the road across the street from the Snow Canyon High School

NOTE: the label on the Google Map is incorrect. The bike park is there, though – we promise!

Phase Two Of The Bike Park And The NICA Influence

NICA stands for the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. It’s the organization responsible for developing high school mountain biking leagues across the united states. Over the last few years, St. George has hosted Utah NICA races including this year’s state championship races.

Phase Two development of the the Snake Hollow Bike Park will include a brand new cross country loop suitable for NICA events. Marc Mortensen said, “Funding for a 5 to 5.5 mile long race course has already been approved through the previously mentioned tax funds. After we get the trail flagged, its construction will rely on a lot of volunteer hours from our local high school kids, the DMBTA, and others willing to help.” The new course will undulate through an environment accented with lava rocks, sage brush. The high school across the street is a logistical asset to large events because as opposed to other venues because it offers ample pave parking.

The estimated completion time for the Phase Two race loop is during the late spring of 2019. Other improvements for the second phase of the bike park will include more shaded pavilions and additional parking.

St. George Is Excited To Have You Visit And There Is More To Come

As the only year-round bike park the state of Utah, Marc exclaims “This is going to be a very popular [bike] park and hopefully another reason for people to spend an extra day in St. George.”

St. George already has 300 miles of trails in the area, so this new venue is only going to help solidify the city’s commitment to drawing active families down to southern Utah. In order to keep the good times going, Washington County has established a trails committee to explore additional projects.

We strongly suggest you make the effort to spend some time at this place. There seriously is something for all to enjoy.

Map - Snake Hollow Bike Park in St. George, Utah

View a large version of the Snake Hollow Bike Park map.

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