Mountain Biking Slickrock Trail with Kids in Moab, Utah


Overview of Moab’s Slickrock Trail

Considering taking your kids to ride Moab’s renowned Slickrock mountain biking trail? We’ve given it a shot! If your kids possess at least intermediate mountain biking skills and enjoy adventures, then you might find it enjoyable too. Many consider this trail one of the best globally. Despite its toughness, it’s not as technically challenging as some other trails with numerous roots and sharp turns.

The trail primarily traverses Navajo sandstone, which offers excellent grip for bike tires. It earned the name “slickrock” because people used to ride horses here with metal shoes! Your family will relish riding on the mesa, encountering some truly remarkable landscapes, unlike those of other biking destinations you’ve experienced.\

Here are some things to consider: negotiating the hills can be tricky. Watch out for cactus plants and be mindful of the elevation. It’s advisable for a proficient adult cyclist to test the trail first before deciding if it’s suitable for your kids.

Riding Moab's Slickrock Trail with Kids

Getting To The Slickrock Trail In Moab: [1] Head east on E Center St toward S 100 E/S 1st E St (0.4 mi). [2] Turn right onto Fourth E St (0.4 mi) [3] Turn left onto Mill Creek Dr (0.5 mi) [3] Continue straight onto Sand Flats Rd (2.3 mi). There will be a toll booth. The parking lot for the Slickrock trailhead will be on your left.

Riding The Slickrock Trail With Kids

When our kids tackled this trail for the first time, our youngest rode a hefty 20-inch mountain bike with v-brakes, a heavy entry-level spring fork, and tires with tubes. His hands were as fatigued as his legs when we finished – but what an achievement!

Ascending the Slickrock Trail is genuinely enjoyable due to the rock’s grip. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be surprised at how you can ascend climbs that appear too steep. The trick is to keep your front tire grounded and pedal smoothly. We taught the kids to zig-zag up the wider steeper slopes, and they managed almost every climb.

Slickrock Trail Practice Loop with Kids

The Slickrock Trail consists of numerous short, steep undulating climbs and descents. Furthermore, the trail is easy to follow, marked with white dots and arrows painted on the rock. The views are stunning. Approximately a quarter mile from the parking lot, you’ll encounter the 1.7-mile practice loop, serving as an excellent introduction to riding on sandstone. You can opt to ride just this loop or add it to the full Slickrock Trail, adding a mile and reconnecting with the main trail.

At 2 miles, you’ll reach the loop part of the lollipop. You can choose either direction, but we’ve only ridden it clockwise by taking a left at the fork.

Out And About On The Slickrock Trail With Family

Moab Slickrock Trail with Kids
Family Friendly Trails in Moab, Utah - Slickrock Trail

Along the way, there are optional short spurs leading to the cliff’s edge. These add minimally to the ride’s length but greatly enhance the trail experience. Additionally, we took breaks at each overlook.

There are a few places where you may need to ride or walk through sand. Also, there are numerous spots to take breaks and admire the view.

Watch out for sand-filled potholes and cacti. Once, our youngest fell into a pothole filled with cactus halfway through the trail. It was dreadful. After removing as many barbs as possible, he showed his resilience and completed the ride. He rode so slowly for a while that I feared we might not make it, but we did! Elmer’s school glue works well for removing cactus barbs, we learned.

Landscapes are big while mountain biking in Moab, Utah

Being Prepared For The Slickrock Trail

Depending on the time of year, ensure you have enough water, snacks, proper clothing, tools, sunscreen, and your camera! Your kids might need frequent breaks as there are several long climbs where both kids and adults may need to walk their bikes. Additionally, it can be quite windy. And, of course, check the weather forecast to avoid getting caught in a rainstorm miles from the trailhead.

As you plan this ride, consider the following tips:

  • Assess your kids’ biking skills to ensure they’re ready for the trail.
  • Start with the 1.7-mile practice loop to gauge their comfort level.
  • Bring plenty of snacks, water, and sunscreen to keep everyone energized and protected.
  • Dress in layers as weather conditions can change quickly.
  • Check your bike equipment before hitting the trail to prevent any mechanical issues.
  • Encourage breaks to enjoy the breathtaking views and rest tired legs.
  • Be cautious of sand-filled potholes and cacti, especially with younger riders.
  • Consider bringing Elmer’s school glue for removing cactus barbs, just in case.
  • Monitor weather forecasts and plan accordingly to avoid unexpected storms or extreme conditions.

By following these tips and being well-prepared, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable biking adventure for the whole family on the Slickrock Trail in Moab.