USA,  Utah,  We12bike,  We12inspire

Slick Rock Trail: a mountainbike ride up to 100 degrees!

How to survive a mountainbike ride with temperatures of 101 degrees Fahrenheit? 101°F is equals 38°C. Normally I’m not a real fan of biking with this extreme heat, but when in Moab, you just can’t ignore an adventurous ride on the slick rock and the famous Slick Rock Trail.

For every mountainbike lover, this trail is a true must-do when vacationing around Moab, Utah. Here are some of our tips and tricks to make the most out of this epic trail.

– Get up very early, so if you’re renting a bike, pick it up the day before so you can start pedaling before sunrise. In the morning the sun is not yet at its most powerful point. During the day, it can easily give you a sunstroke while pedalling on the rocks. If you get an early start you will be ready before the sun really starts to go crazy!


– Take breaks to put suncream that will protect you from the sun. As I’m just a pale guy who’s not really used to sun (if we have an unlucky summer) this was essential. There is nowhere to hide from the sun, because there’s just no trees. Just rocks. And sand. That’s it.



– Drink lots and lots and lots of water (or Gatorade). This way your body will not dehydrate as easy as it wants to.  It will also give you enough power to get up the little step rocks. (The climbs are very tricky, but no long endurance climbs.)

– Follow the white dots. The whole Slick Rock Trail is covered with the white stripes (I can hear the Seven Nation Army tune … would have been epic on this trail haha) which lead you around the trail and make sure you don’t loose track…



If you are not sure about your fitness and experience, I would recommend doing the ‘practice’ loop first. This practice loop is not too far from the parking lot and will give you a good example of what you can expect on the rest of the trail.

From the track you can look down on the Colorado River and on the town of Moab. Some riders say the Slick Rock Trail is the best MTB trail in North America. I won’t disagree that easily on that, but then again there are probably also other nice places with for example nice single tracks through forests with uncountable amount of trees. These places are on my wish list. But if I’m ever back in Moab I won’t resist to ride out again.

For further reading about this trail, the Discover Moab site may be useful.


Want to read more about our pedalling stories and our Moab adventures? You might enjoy reading these as well:

Biking and hiking around the most photographed mountains in the US!
How to capture sunrise at Mesa Arch
All about Arches National Park

Sharing is caring, so if you enjoyed reading about the Slick Rock Trail and you’re an avid biker (or not) feel free to share this article with your friends!


  • Leigh

    Did the trail years ago and still remember just how hard it was especially considering how short the distance really is -also remember the beauty. It is truly a classic. But 38 C would probably do me in.

    • Martijn

      Leigh, the track is not the long indeed. I believe it the big loop track is only 11 km (7miles).
      So if you like to make so distance, you could make two loops and bike up from town like I did. (the way back to town is all down 🙂 )
      But when I returned in Moab I had allmost 40km on my trip counter.

  • Satu VW / Destination Unknown

    We did something similar, when it comes to the temperatures in Nepal many years ago, it was bit too much for a northerner (i.e. Finn living in Norway) like me! I’d love to go biking in Moab one day, my friends are heading there this spring and I’m just a liiitle jealous 🙂

    • Martijn

      I love to go biking in Nepal one day. I’m wondering if they have the same mountbikes as in Moab. The shop where I rented my bike setted up my bike on my specs. Because I’m very pleased with my home town TREK full suspension 29inch all-mountain I’m a bit spoiled 🙂 .

  • spanKGram

    38C is burning hot-but bearable. But maybe i’m just used to it. When its summer in the Philippines, it easily gets in the mid 30s range (*C). Plus the heat reflected by the road or track adds a “heat factor” to the equation. Hydration is key. Always bring more than enough to drink… Sometimes water just doesn’t do it for me. Gatorade or similar drinks are effective. Also, know when to rest, cool off, and take a break. Even the strongest biker can get zapped by the heat.

  • Sammi Wanderlustin'

    It looks awesome 🙂 I’m not a mountain biker, but love reading about trails like this in the hope that one day I could be- for now tho’ I can live vicariously thru you 🙂

    I think Seven Nation Army is a good tune to get anything done to. Such a good beat 😀

    • Martijn

      I can already hear the seven nation army tune in my head definitely. Alter my trail in memory, “… I’m going to work the straw..Make the sweat drip out of every pore..”

  • Dave Cole

    Those landscapes are endless – beautiful shots! The tips here are very important. Being unprepared in this level of heat can have some terrible consequences, so an early start, sunscreen and hydration really help avoid problems on the ride or the next day. Hope I can get out west to give this a shot, as the 5:00 a.m. rise is rewarded by the views.

    • Martijn

      Dave, we have a saying in dutch “Niet geschoten is altijd mis” which literal means: “Not [having] shot is always missed”; Meaning: “If you don’t try, you will miss opportunities”. So I would say to you ‘Go west’, and like the old Nike commercial: ‘Just do it’!

  • Angela Travels

    I have heard that Moah is a great place to bike. Even though I am just getting into bike commuting, it is fun to find adventure on travels and get out of your comfort zone. Great tips here that everyone can follow!!!!

  • Chris Boothman

    Kudos to you for surviving the 100 degree heat in Moab but I guess that is to be expected in this part of USA, especially in peak summer season! Definitely agree with whatever you are doing, when the temperatures are searing that high you need to be an early bird riser and try to get in whatever you can before it really picks up. I try to follow that philosophy when playing golf in certain parts of USA in summer, even here in Arkansas it gets over 100 degrees so you have to be smart.

  • Lauren

    That is SO hot! I don’t know if I could handle the heat. But it’s great you planned ahead of time, woke up really early in the morning, and packed lots of water! It looks gorgeous.

  • Beth

    I’m not a mountain biker, but this looks like it would be a lot of fun. Maybe someday I’ll give it a try– but for now I think I’ll stick to leisurely riding my bike around cities 🙂

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