When you tell people that you are going to Moab to ride, almost all of them will talk to you about The Whole Enchilada (28 miles with 7000 feet of downhill, it is an epic whole day adventure for strong, skilled riders only - with a shuttle - and the top part is only open in the summer, the last part is the famous Porcupine Rim that can also be ridden separately). Or they talk about Slickrock (10.6 miles of pure slickrock goodness, black, pretty steep and very physical). Of course, these trails are epic in their own ways, but there is so much more in Moab! First, install the Trailforks app on your phone (MTB project is missing a part of the Klonzo trail system), it will come in very handy to navigate your way through all the trail systems around town. Then, come find a spot on Willow Spring Road to camp (14 day BLM, free) and enjoy the view! There are tons of pull-outs (some close to the roads, others further away (we suggest you find a far away one since there is quite a bit of trafic on that dirt road (especially on Fri-Sat-Sun) and it can get pretty dusty (and loud since half the crowd is here to do some four-wheeling on some other trails).
After 3 times visiting Moab for a few weeks, here's what we can tell you about our favorite trails (by trail systems):
Klonzo (sometimes included in the Sovereign network) : This is a newish trail system with some great trails.
Klonzo North: Start with Dunestone (super fun combo of slickrock and dirt) and up Secret Passage, Vertigo (some black sections), Wahoo and down Borderline (all blue except for parts of Vertigo. We heard Gravitron is a fun black, but didn't get to do it.
Klonzo South: Lots of easy fun ones for beginners (Hot Dog + Midway and the whole Carousel area for some slickrock introduction), as well as some good blue ones (Roller Coaster, The Edge, Zoltar) and a great black one (Houdini) that is mostly slickrock with not much elevation.
Horsethief: This is a new sector (also sometimes included or confused with Navajo Rocks). Combine the Mustang Loop (blue) with Wildcat (blue), Hildalgo (blue) and Whirlwind (optional) for a super fun ride. Just know that you go down for a while first and you have to climb back up... Make sure to do Getaway (blue) and Bull Run (black and blue sections, some sections near cliff edges) which is the beginning of Mag 7, a single-track composed of 7 trails that link the upper and lower ends of Gemini Bridges Road and that can be ridden as a point-to-point with a shuttle.
Navajo Rocks: Only fun trails! Do the big blue loop or only half of it (Ramblin and Rocky Tops) and come back for the other half (Big Mesa/Big Lonely)!
Moab Brands (aka Bar M): Warm up on EZ and Lazy (super fun greens) and go do North 40 (blue), it's our favorite trail there. Circle-O is supposedly a fun black that we didn't have time to ride. Deadman's Ridge is a much more technical (rocky and bumpy) black that you can skip...
Klondike Bluffs: Don't miss Dino Flow (blue) and Alaska (if you are up for a climb, the view is totally worth it). For Dino Flow, you might want to consider doing a shuttle (leave a car at the Klondike South parking lot and start at the Dino Tracks parking lot). If you're up for a climb and do not want to do a shuttle, you can park at the Dino Tracks parking lot (don't park at the first parking lot by the highway, you'll have to ride a boring 5 miles on a dirt road to reach the trailhead), go up Homer and Alaska (blue) and down Mega steps (black). You'll even find dinosaur tracks along the way! You can then take Dino flow back to the parking lot. If you want to do Dino Flow all the way without a shuttle, park at the Dino Tracks parking lot, ride Dino Flow all the way down and come back up Jurassic, Jasper East and Midline (all green) for an easy uptrack, or take Baby Steps (blue) if you still have some juice left.
This comment about this sector made me giggle: The Klondike Bluffs Trail is perfect for your teenage son who fancies himself a racer, if you are worried he might kill himself on the Moab Slickrock Trail, which is certainly possible (from here).
And a good reminder: On a sad note, the dinosaur tracks in the Klondike Bluffs area are being destroyed by people who, with no skill or education, are trying to make molds of the prints to take home. We have seen everything from plaster of paris to spray foam. Needless to say, if people do not know how to make molds safely (using a plastic wrap to protect the track), then they probably should be shot on site before they mess this area up for the true amateur paleontologists. Leaving plaster or plastic stuck to the inside of a track is only one small step away from trying to crack the tracks out of the sandstone. Please do not stand on or mar the tracks in any way.
Amasa Back: For the very strong/expert riders only, sounds like Captain Ahab is not to be missed!
For a fun challenge, try Pipe Dream (black trail) located in town and try to do it without setting a foot down!
The Bartlett Wash (aka The Bartlett Bowl) seems like a pretty unique slickrock feature! Check out "The Toilet Bowl" here.
Here's a great site that list all the trails in the area.
Moab is a pretty cute little town that is pretty busy during high season (April to October, but busier during Spring and Fall, summers are hot!). You'll never see so many awesome bikes in such a high concentration! There are lots of bike shops in Moab, but we recommend Chili Pepper and The Moab Cyclery
Just know that everything is a little more pricey in Moab. There are lots of rental bikes on sale at the end of the season (November), but most of the regular sizes are so beaten up you really want to get such bikes. Four years ago, I got a really good deal on a XS bike that barely got out during the season. So, unless you are an XS or an XL, I would pass on the rental bike sales. If you need to rent a bike while in Moab, do a weekly rental (around $300/$350), which is much cheaper than daily ($80/$90).
As for food, you best one spot shop is the City Market (where most people shop with muddy legs and bike protections on). We really like the little health food coop called Moonflower. They sell delicious local greens and produce at decent prices. The rest is quite pricey.
Milt's Stop and Eat is an institution in Moab and every night of the week (except Monday when it's closed), you can expect to wait a good 30 min to get your burger, fries and shake, sitting outside among other bleeding and dirty riders. We make a point of eating here at least once when in Moab, but we have to say that it seems to have lost some of its quality. Our friend Karl had to bring back his large fries because there truly was only a handful of fries in there. They apologized and gave him a new order for free. Our fries were quite pale and undercooked and the avocado melt... didn't contain any avocado. The burgers were good, but not as juicy as they used to. Our chocolate-vanilla malt was as good as usual though.
Four our girls' night out, we went to the Spoke and liked their food (gluten-free bun option for their great burgers), good drinks, homemade ice cream and one of the nicest ambiance in town.
The boys went to the Atomic Loung/Moab Burger and found the food really good (great fries, homemade bacon, delicious burgers), but the atmosphere kind of so-so.
Our friends hit the Moab Brewery and didn't think much of it. The food is average and the beer is well, Utah beer. So if you like 4% beer, go for it, otherwise, forget it.
Grab and go: Try the Quesadilla Mobila. You can't miss this yellow truck. A bit pricey (like everything else in Moab), but it hits the spot.
Coffee. Try the Eklecticafé, nice ambiance, good coffee, vegan and gluten-free options. For a grab and go delicious coffee (or beans $13/lb), hit Moab Coffee Roaster, by the post office and almost in front of the health food coop Moonflower.
As for camping, there's plenty of options. There are a few big and crowded RV park in town, but the largest and most common place to camp is up at Sand Flats Recreation Area, a 10-minute drive up above town. Sand Flats road is the home of the Slickrock trail, and Porcupine Rim trail. There are over 120 campsites up and down the dirt road that runs through the recreation area. Campsites have pit toilets but no water. There's a fee to use the recreation area, and you pay at an entrance gate as you drive into the area. The Internet cell connexion is not great there.
We much prefer boondocking for free on the BLM land on Willow Springs Road, 12 miles North of town. It's closer to most of the trail systems we like, the view is amazing (view of the La Sal Mountains and Arches National Park from our bedroom!), but it's a bit of a longer drive to town (20 min), but the connexion is better here. Still, you might need a booster to get good 4G.
For laundry, you can choose between the gringo laudromat (uber clean and more expensive), conveniently located beside the City Market and the Moab Cyclery, so you can shop while you laundry dries and the locals' laundromat (Moab Speedqueen Laundromat, no website, of course), located in the same strip mall as the Chili Pepper bike shop and another smaller and more expensive grocery store (Village Market). No wifi on the premises, but go sit in the grass outside in the La Quinta Hotel and get their signal. There are a few more that I didn't check (Wet Spot, close to Main and Center).
You can go fill your jugs of water with delicious spring water for free inside the Gearheads outdoor store (by the gringo laundromat and the City Market).
Recycling: Moab has probably the most recycling per square miles of any town. There is recycling for everything and a garbage container in the Information Center Parking Lot. There is also some recycling at the Moab Cyclery (no tin). Cardboard recycling between Gearheads and the laundromat. Arches National park has plastic and tin, but not glass.
Showers and pool. You can shower at the Moab Cyclery for $5 or at the Youth Hostel for $3 (Lazy Lizard), and at most campground for $4 to $6. We think that the best deal is the Aquatic Center ($20 per family) where you can enjoy the nice warm pool with a super fun waterslides and diving boards (and clean warm showers that do not run out of warm water!).
Receiving packages : UPS can be shipped to the UPS Customer Center at 1030 Bowling Alley Ln Ste 2, Moab, UT 84532. Pickup times vary so call ahead 435-259-5593
Shipping from any carrier at Canyonland Copy Center (375 S Main St Moab, UT 84532 435-259-8432) There is a fee of $5 per package
Dump and Fill: at the Maverick on the South side of town (free, no purchase required). You can also go to the Slickrock Campground (north side of town, so closer to the BLM) and dump and fill for $5.
Wifi: Library, Information Center, Moab Coffee Roaster, Love Muffin, Eddie McStiff