No other place has quite captured the imaginations of mountain bikers like Moab. For decades, fat-tired thrill-seekers have journeyed to its hallowed mesas, steep slickrock, and dry trails for a taste of some of the best riding in the world. It was the original mountain bike destination, and its presence in our community has wavered little since.
To this day, we are constantly surrounded by photos of riders struggling up Slickrock Trail‘s grueling climbs, tracing the dramatic red rock ledges of Porcupine Rim or the Portal Trail, or navigating the chundery tech of Captain Ahab. And every year, some of mountain biking’s hottest new products and bikes are showcased at Outerbike, one of the largest MTB events in the world.
In spite of all of this, even Moab has a quiet side. To get away from the crowded trails and soaring summer temperatures in the desert, there is no better place to go than the Abajo and La Sal Mountains of Manti-La Sal National Forest. Apart from the famous Whole Enchilada Trail, which is always busy, this alpine wonderland sees little traffic for no good reason. In fact, enormous vistas, clear mountain lakes, aspen groves, scrubby canyons, and a variety of trails all await those willing to drive out of the desert.
To prove how exceptional the riding in Manti-La Sal National Forest is, here’s a quick guide to make sure that any trip into the mountains east of Moab is well worth the effort.