The USA's Desert Southwest is one of the most dramatic landscapes in the world, and it's jam-packed with world-class mountain bike trails! To experience the best trails that the Southwest has to offer, follow this detailed road trip itinerary.Less
Riding the entire Ribbon route requires expert-level bike handling skills and cojones of steel, thanks to mandatory drops, steep rock rolls, boulder-filled rock gardens, and high-speed slickrock slab surfing. However, if you're an advanced-level rider and are willing to walk a few sections, you'll still be able to enjoy 95% of the Ribbon's sweet charms!
The Horsethief Bench has acquired its fame due to the uber-technical descent from Mary's down to the main Horsethief Bench Loop. The drop in is highly technical with massive rock rolls, drops, and tricky moves that require advanced to expert-level technical skills... but more than anything, time spent studying the best line. Once on the Bench itself, there are a few technical portions but the singletrack is much easier, and very flowy in sections.
Zippety Do Da is one of the original trails in the North Fruita Desert that helped put Fruita on the mountain bike map. The singletrack flows along treeless desert ridges, plummeting sharply down the back side of the rolls in the ridge only to rocket back up the next ridge. The flow is incredible, the speed bordering on scary.
Slickrock was arguably the original world-famous mountain bike trail! The unique slickrock slabs provide an otherworldly ride experience, providing phenomenal traction up and down near-vertical rocks. While the ride quality is no longer as excellent as the newest singletrack trails that have been built in Moab, it's still a route that all riders need to check off their bucket list, if only for the otherworldly experience.
Captain Ahab combines the best new-school singletrack trail building techniques with Moab's famous views and challenging rocks for a classic mountain bike experience. It's located next to the classic Amasa Back ride, but in reality, Amasa Back is just a 4x4 road. Captain Ahab is the new crown jewel of the Amasa Back Trail System.
The Jem trail network is a system of singletrack in the desert outside of Hurricane, but located BELOW the iconic Gooseberry Mesa. The location of this sweet set of trails not only provides for flowy, beginner-friendly riding, but they are much quicker and easier to access than the iconic Gooseberry.