The UFO mountain biking trail is part of the Klondike Bluffs system.
This trail is a connector between Baby Steps South and Little Salty. You
reach it via other trails in the system. I recommend this trail as part of
a 12-mile lariat loop (described below), or as a bypass when riding the
Baby Steps Loop.
View of the UFO Trail as we descend
toward Little Salty, with the Blue Hills area to the west. Ride
description and photos April 5, 2012 by Bruce.
|UFO is 1.6 miles long. There's no overall elevation change
between the two ends. Up-and-down riding creates 150 vertical feet of
climbing when riding either direction. UFO is one of the easier trails in
the Klondike system. Most of the trail is easy technical and easy aerobic,
but in the middle of the ride there are a couple of switchbacks on a
short-but-stiff climb that beginning riders will have to walk.
We're just getting started on the
12-mile lariat loop (see below). This is the Dino Flow trail. Easy so far.
||UFO is about half dirt singletrack, with the remainder split
between smooth slickrock and not-to-tricky rollover rock. As of April
2012, the dirt sections are very soft because the trail is new and hasn't
had time to compact. This will make the short climb over the ridge hard,
whichever direction you ride the trail.
We've reached the junction with Baby
Steps and are climbing uphill on slickrock.
|Most riders will use UFO as an alternative (bypass) when
riding the Baby Steps Loop counterclockwise. The classic Baby Steps Loop
drops steeply off the escarpment to the east on dirt road, then heads
north in the valley on flat jeep road before climbing back up. UFO
replaces all that jeep road with singletrack.
After the slickrock climb, there's a
short but boring stretch on doubletrack. Now we've reached the Baby Steps
Singletrack and forked to the right at the sign. This is signed as expert
tech, but it's not that tricky.
||Another great ride using the UFO trail is a 12-mile lariat
loop incorporating the first part of Dino Flow, then Baby Steps south
uphill, UFO, Little Salty downhill to EKG, and the southern end of EKG
southbound back to Baby Steps before returning to the trailhead. This ride
is advanced technical because of the Baby Steps Singletrack sections and
EKG. There's 1350 feet of climbing. Good riders can easily knock this ride
out in two hours. The photos on this page are from the lariat ride.
On a slickrock ramp after the second
ST section (Baby Steps itself is going left to right in this photo), we
reach this trail marker. That's UFO on the hillside above the bike,
heading back downhill at the trail sign.
|On the south, UFO forks to the left when riding Baby Steps
uphill. The connection is at mile 5.3 from the trailhead on the classic
Baby Steps route, mile 5.5 if you took Dino Flow to Baby Steps. The
connector is exactly 0.2 miles from the spot where the second Baby Steps
singletrack section rejoins the doubletrack. You'll see a purple circle
painted on the slickrock. Loop to the left and you'll see the trail sign.
The first mile of UFO is mostly smooth
slickrock, first descending gently, then climbing slightly.
||When riding south-to-north, UFO starts with a short section
of dirt singletrack (which many riders simply bypass by coasting down the
slickrock). It then descends west on slickrock in a shallow wash before
turning northeast on a gentle slickrock climb.
Handlebar view as we climb up the
broad slickrock area.
|There are occasional views to the west tward the Blue Hills
area. The first mile of the ride is very easy and is mostly smooth flat
View from the trail to the west.
||At mile 1 of UFO, you have to climb up and over a dirt
ridge. This is the only tough part of the trail. It's only modestly steep,
but the switchback turns are fairly tight. If the dirt is loose (as it was
April 2012), you may find it impossible to spin up and around. With some
soaking rain and more bike tires (or some rock slabs placed on the trail
surface), you may find these turns doable.
We're reaching the end of the smooth
slickrock. We'll turn west and ride up and over a dirt ridge.
|After descending the north side of the ridge, also through a
couple of tight loose turns, you'll come to a short section of rollover
rock. This is the only techy section, but there's nothing too tricky. Here
the trail descends toward the Little Salty wash.
Looking back at a climbing turn. The
approach had six inches of powdery dirt. But it's a new trail. It will
||The trail hits Little Salty in a rock washbottom, just
uphill from where Little Salty breaks out onto the escarpment and begins
descending more steeply. If you're doing my lariat loop, turn hard left
(If you're riding the altered Baby Steps loop, veer to the right
uphill. Climb Little Salty 1/2 mile to the junction with the classic Baby
Steps loop. Fork left uphill on the doubletrack. More climbing ahead.)
Up and over the ridge, then descend
through soft turns on the other side.
|Back to the lariat ride. You've forked downhill on Little
Salty. Ride the advanced tech rolling sandstone surface downhill 1/2 mile,
then fork left on EKG. (For an easier return, keep going downhill on
Little Salty. When you reach Dino Flow, fork left to follow Dino Flow back
to the main Klondike doubletrack.)
Heading downhill toward Little Salty,
rolling over humps of rock.
||You'll spend 1.7 miles southbound on the technical rock of
EKG. When you reach the trail sign, you're back at Baby Steps South. Turn
right downhill. Descend to Dino Flow and turn left to complete the ride.
Looking south at the fork between UFO
and Little Salty. From here, uphill takes you to the top of the ridge
where you can join the doubletrack section of the Baby Steps Loop. Our
ride takes us downhill on Little Salty.
|Riding notes, 12-mile lariat loop:
0.0 Cross cattleguard, east on Klondike DT
N38 46.418 W109 42.735
0.8 DT splits, take ST in middle (Dino Flow)
N38 46.998 W109 43.072
1.9 R uphill on Baby Steps South (DT)
N38 47.590 W109 43.556
2.2 Junction w EKG, keep straight uphill
N38 47.746 W109 43.287
2.7 R off DT onto ST
N38 48.018 W109 42.880
3.5 Fork L (R=to Klondike)
N38 47.957 W109 42.584
4.0 L on ST
N38 48.286 W109 42.690
View down Little Salty as we descend.
||5.3 Back to DT, L
N38 48.398 W109 42.772
5.5 L to ST UFO
N38 48.495 W109 42.905
7.2 L downhill on Little Salty
N38 48.778 W109 43.581
7.7 L on EKG
N38 48.589 W109 43.925
9.5 R downhill on Baby Steps
N38 47.746 W109 43.287
9.8 L on Dino Flow
N38 47.590 W109
11.0 Back at fork, straight onto DT
N38 46.998 W109 43.072
11.8 Back at parking
|Photo above: We're on EKG, which features advanced
tech up-and-down riding. Fun stuff. When we reach Baby Steps, we've
completed the loop section of the lariat ride.
Right: And here's the UFO itself, courtesy of Gene Poncelet...
||Getting there: Starting at the Colorado River, drive
15 miles north from Moab. Look for a turnout with parking on the right and
a sign for Klondike Bluffs Road. There will
usually be cars parked there (GPS N 38° 44.452' W 109°
44.037'). For a longer ride, park here and ride up the road. Most cyclists will choose to go through the gate and drive 2.7 miles. Keep left at
the fork. At 2.8 miles, park your car in the broad parking area by the
fence. Go eastbound across the cattleguard through the fence and begin your ride.
Note: Map color-coded to show named trails individually.
Does not correspond to described loop above.
|Northern Klondike TH: On Highway 191 8.5 miles
south of I-70 and 6.5 miles north of the southern Klondike Bluffs road
(about 5 miles north of the airport), watch for a "Northern
Klondike" sign at N38 49.504 W109 46.893. Turn east (toward the
sandstone bluff). Keep to the right as the road winds south around a small
hill. 1.2 miles from the highway as the road is heading east toward the
bluff, fork right on a fainter jeep road N38 49.103 W109 46.061, as the
main road continues to the dinosaur tracks. (Park here if the road is in
bad shape.) At mile 1.6, you'll come to the TH for the Jasper and Agate
loops (N38 49.087 W109 45.625) on your right. At 2.0 miles, you're at the
bottom of Mega Steps at a larger parking area N38 49.179 W109 45.417.
Ride Copper Ridge south to Baby Steps to
connect to UFO.