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  1. #1
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    Is moab in august a good idea?

    Hey guys, my buddies and i are planning a trip to Arches national park and Moab in august. Why august? b/c that's the only time everyone has off before school starts over again. Im just worried that it will be too hot for mountain biking at slickrock and other trails. This will be my first trip so i want to get a good representation of moab. If it's a bad idea i can always go to mammoth or tahoe california. SO, is going to moab during the hottest month of the year a good idea? thanks for your opinions.
    kiet
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  2. #2
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    Depends

    It depends on how smart you are. There have been two deaths due to dehydration in the past six weeks. If you are planning on drinking beer all night and then hitting the trailhead at 10:00 for a four hour ride, you'll be hurting or dead. If you know how to stay hydrated, and finish up at the lower elevations by 11:00, it is doable. There are good rides in the mountains that you can hit in the afternoons.




    Quote Originally Posted by snowboarderhb
    Hey guys, my buddies and i are planning a trip to Arches national park and Moab in august. Why august? b/c that's the only time everyone has off before school starts over again. Im just worried that it will be too hot for mountain biking at slickrock and other trails. This will be my first trip so i want to get a good representation of moab. If it's a bad idea i can always go to mammoth or tahoe california. SO, is going to moab during the hottest month of the year a good idea? thanks for your opinions.
    kiet
    So Cal.

  3. #3
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    cool, that was what i was thinking, start up real early from arches campsite and finish up before it gets too hot.
    kiet

  4. #4
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    Definitely doable, just use your head and be overly prepared. That was an annual trip for some friends and I every summer either right after the school year ended or right before school started up again so we had 4 years of Fruita/Moab summer trips. In all of the trips I don't think we had a single day with highs lower than the mid 90's and we tried to plan on finishing our riding around noon every day. Usually we were up and riding by 7 or 8 since the sun would usually burn us out of the tents right at sunrise. Take a ton of water, a bottle of sports drink and some snacks to stay fueled. It's best not to plan for too much each day, if possible throw in some shorter rides with possible add ons if you feel good and want to ride more. Just be smart about things and make sure everyone knows there's no shame in bowing out of a ride or cutting one short if anyone isn't feeling right. Enjoy the trip, Moab is an incredible place. Oh, and if you have plenty of time to kill there's this little place called Fruita about 90 minutes to the east that has some decent rides too!

    Oh, not sure if you're aware of this but be prepared to do some shuttling if you're camping at Arches, it's quite a ways from the Sand Flats area (Slickrock/Porcupine). It's rideable but you'd be killing a lot of cool hours and adding a lot of road miles to ride from there.
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  5. #5
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    Question here...

    What do you do for the rest of the day in Moab during August? You're done riding by 11am. Do you sit back at your campsite under a tarp sipping water? Find a campground with a pool? Go sit with your feet in the Colorado River? Walk around the super market until the sun goes down?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shannon-UT
    Question here...

    What do you do for the rest of the day in Moab during August? You're done riding by 11am. Do you sit back at your campsite under a tarp sipping water? Find a campground with a pool? Go sit with your feet in the Colorado River? Walk around the super market until the sun goes down?
    You can go rafting or kayaking on the river for at least one day. There's also the La Sal Mountains close by, where you can get up to 12,000 feet if you like, so you could ride up there in the afternoon. There's Eddie McStiff's and the Moab Brewery if you want to cool off with a pint or three. And if all else fails, there are now TWO supermarkets to wander around in Moab... giving you endless shopping possibilities

    That said, I usually stay away from Moab from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

  7. #7
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    What to do?

    There used to be two supermarkets. It is back down to City Market. FYI, there is also the Moonflower Market, a good little natural foods store across from the Post Office.

    Rent a Jeep, ATV or dirt bike. Rent a Harley. Ask someone how to get to the swimming holes on Mill Creek. Go fishing at Oowah or Warner Lake. Go swim in Ken's Lake or the local pool. Go down to the Blue/Abajo mountains outside Monticello and ride the singletrack, ride over Burro Pass or do Moonlight Meadows. Take a nap and do a midnight hike up the Rim Trail to Behind the Rocks. Hike to the top of Mt. Peale(12721ft) or Mt. Tukuhnivivats(12489).

    Quote Originally Posted by soboko
    You can go rafting or kayaking on the river for at least one day. There's also the La Sal Mountains close by, where you can get up to 12,000 feet if you like, so you could ride up there in the afternoon. There's Eddie McStiff's and the Moab Brewery if you want to cool off with a pint or three. And if all else fails, there are now TWO supermarkets to wander around in Moab... giving you endless shopping possibilities

    That said, I usually stay away from Moab from Memorial Day to Labor Day.

  8. #8
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    I like the free ideas, especially when water is involved!

    I don't have plans to visit Moab in the summer, I was truly curious. The bike trips I do consist only of biking, from breakfast until dinner, so you can see the mindset I was in! But these ideas are good to know for when I do visit Moab.

  9. #9
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    thanks for the warmly replies guys. definately good to know that it's doable in august. didn't want to miss moab this year.
    kiet

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by snowboarderhb
    thanks for the warmly replies guys. definately good to know that it's doable in august. didn't want to miss moab this year.
    kiet

    One other thing, might be a moot point as I have no idea how much you ride. Be sure to 'train' for the trip if at all possible and see if your buddies will do the same. I've never raced or seriously trained but a few weeks prior to our trips I would get really serious about riding almost every day, even if for only an hour or so and really try to push myself to the limit. I normally don't get that gung ho into being in peak physical shape but it really helps when you're riding in conditions that can be so extreme. One of the trips I didn't ride much beforehand and I had a lot less fun because riding in the heat took so much out of me early on in the rides.
    Sipping the Knolly Whisquillappa

  11. #11
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    We are headed out to moab as well the first week in august.

    Been to moab before but usually in march for spring break, but looking at the weather highs are about 90 or so average for the first week in august, though I think a lot of places in that are have been warmer than usual this year.

    We've been having a lot of hot weather here mid to upper 90's with humidity so riding in that should help.

    Is it possible to get a late in the day ride in as well or does it stay hot pretty well till dark down there? Certainly I would not want to get caught out on the trail after dark, at least without lights.

    We also plan on doing more off roading and hiking and maybe some kayaking and site seeing in arches and canyonlands this time as well so one ride a day each morning would be fine too. How cool is it up in the la sals this time of year?

  12. #12
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    Normal temps in August are closer to 100 than 90. The temps on all the weather websites are taken at the airport, which is 15 miles north of Moab and a good deal higher in elevation. It is a good 10F hotter in town, and on the close in trails like Slickrock and Poison Spider.

    If there is no afternoon thunderstorm, it stays in the 90's until the sun goes behind the rocks, then it cools rapidly. It can get windy in the afternoons, too. Sometimes you'll get a little afternoon rain and the temps will drop by 10-20F.

    The mountains are thousands of feet higher (12,700ft at the peaks) than Moab( 4000 ft), so the daytime temps are 50-70F. You can ride right through the middle of the day with no problem, just take a rain jacket and be prepared for mountain weather. Most of the trails in the mountains are 8000-11000 in elevation. You still need lots of water.

    Actually, Moab has been much cooler than normal this year.



    Quote Originally Posted by ToddM
    We are headed out to moab as well the first week in august.

    Been to moab before but usually in march for spring break, but looking at the weather highs are about 90 or so average for the first week in august, though I think a lot of places in that are have been warmer than usual this year.

    We've been having a lot of hot weather here mid to upper 90's with humidity so riding in that should help.

    Is it possible to get a late in the day ride in as well or does it stay hot pretty well till dark down there? Certainly I would not want to get caught out on the trail after dark, at least without lights.

    We also plan on doing more off roading and hiking and maybe some kayaking and site seeing in arches and canyonlands this time as well so one ride a day each morning would be fine too. How cool is it up in the la sals this time of year?

  13. #13
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    august in moab

    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit
    Normal temps in August are closer to 100 than 90. The temps on all the weather websites are taken at the airport, which is 15 miles north of Moab and a good deal higher in elevation. It is a good 10F hotter in town, and on the close in trails like Slickrock and Poison Spider.

    If there is no afternoon thunderstorm, it stays in the 90's until the sun goes behind the rocks, then it cools rapidly. It can get windy in the afternoons, too. Sometimes you'll get a little afternoon rain and the temps will drop by 10-20F.

    The mountains are thousands of feet higher (12,700ft at the peaks) than Moab( 4000 ft), so the daytime temps are 50-70F. You can ride right through the middle of the day with no problem, just take a rain jacket and be prepared for mountain weather. Most of the trails in the mountains are 8000-11000 in elevation. You still need lots of water.

    Actually, Moab has been much cooler than normal this year.

    The others have covered this pretty well but here's my two cents: I went to Arches a long time ago in August even before I was a mountain biker. The summer monsoon had just arrived and it was down into the low 90s. The park ranger who was guiding us around some hidden area hike looked at us and said, "you have no idea how fortunate you are to be here this week, because it's been 110 degrees for the last month!"
    It seems that some folks just can't take up water to rehydrate like others, no matter how much they drink. The poor girl that died about a month ago did everything right but still died on Porcupine. You think if you just keep drinking you'll be OK, but that's what she was doing.
    There is no riding from the campground at Arches, like the poster said, just hot road miles. I'd recommend you guys get a room at some motel in town with AC--that way you're close to McStiffs and can get a good night's sleep. Surely some empty motel will wheel and deal on a bargain rate. Get up at 5 am, be on whatever trail by 6 am, and be done with your riding by noon latest. Forget late day riding. That's when it'll be the hottest. It's not just your positive attitude that will get you back safely, it's your being aware of hot desert riding dangers and acting accordingly.
    If you ride up at altitude it'll be cooler but in my mind the slickrock riding is why I go to Moab, not the mountains.
    I guess if you can only go in August, just go with the idea that it won't be like a full-on Spring or Fall trip but enjoy it anyway. It'll give you a taste of the area and you WILL make time some other year to go there when conditions favor riding all day, all week.

  14. #14
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    Moab dangers

    I just got back from Moab and doing Slickrock. I normally camp, but got a motel this time because I knew I would be dehydrated in the morning no matter what I did. You sweat a lot at night and don't drink what you should because,well, you are sleeping. I think it is wise to be less ambitous in how many rides you do as well. It can take 24 hours just to get your body back in balance, for hydration or food. Food is just as important as hydration. Anybody who climbs 14ers in Colorado or rides in Moab either gets up really early, as in when it is still dark, to eat and rehydrate and be off the trail before 11, or they just do part of the ride or climb. I noticed several of whom I suspect where fairly local, and they did just portions of Slickrock, sat and enjoyed the moment, and then headed back in. I started at about 6:45, late in my opinion, and got back at about 10:30. The heat was already becomeing a factor. To make a point on the dry heat of Moab, you don't see anybody but Europeans and the occasional American visitor out on the street past noon in town. Now for the fun part: to cool off, branch off of the road up to Slickrock on Powerhouse road and go sit in Mill Creek. It is still moderately cool and clear even at this date. Just ask at the tourist place on the main drag and they can direct you there easily.

  15. #15
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    What about camping up in the la sals instead of sandflats? I know when we've been there in spring I think I've seen a couple camping areas on the la sal mountain road, however they were unaccessable at the time due to snow. I guess it would make it a longer drive to the trails in the morning but it might be a lot more comfortable during the day and for sleeping. Maybe even a little cold at night? I suppose weather could be more of an issue up higher as well.

    Our plan is to be on the trails early for sure, and done by noon, we've been doing a lot of riding around here in temps approaching 100 during the day with pretty high humidity which to me is worse than low humidity, so it should not be too horrible a shock to the system. Also I figure a lot of the trails you start out hard climbing and finish downhill, porcupine, amasa etc. so you get the climbing out of the way early in the moring, and at worst your going downhill as the heat of the day starts to come in.

    Not sure what we'll do for the rest of the day though, probably do park drives, wanna go check out upheaval dome since I just did a seminar on it, and maybe some short hikes and off roading etc. Little kayaking or rafting maybe, more time to play tourist and explore town. I even have to leave my climbing gear home cause I'm the only climber of the group going.

  16. #16
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    Oowah Lake

    There is nice camping on the road to Oowah Lake. Campsites next to the creek, or away from it. There are a couple of sites right at the lake, too, but there are more people there. There are outhouses at the lake, and best of all, the camping is F-R-E-E. No water available, though. It is about 25 minutes to town from there. There are a couple of great rides up that way. Check out Burro Pass and Moonlight Meadow.

    There are always a couple of bears hanging around, so don't keep food in your tents.

    The road up there is a little washboarded, but 4wd is not needed.





    Quote Originally Posted by ToddM
    What about camping up in the la sals instead of sandflats? I know when we've been there in spring I think I've seen a couple camping areas on the la sal mountain road, however they were unaccessable at the time due to snow. I guess it would make it a longer drive to the trails in the morning but it might be a lot more comfortable during the day and for sleeping. Maybe even a little cold at night? I suppose weather could be more of an issue up higher as well.

    Our plan is to be on the trails early for sure, and done by noon, we've been doing a lot of riding around here in temps approaching 100 during the day with pretty high humidity which to me is worse than low humidity, so it should not be too horrible a shock to the system. Also I figure a lot of the trails you start out hard climbing and finish downhill, porcupine, amasa etc. so you get the climbing out of the way early in the moring, and at worst your going downhill as the heat of the day starts to come in.

    Not sure what we'll do for the rest of the day though, probably do park drives, wanna go check out upheaval dome since I just did a seminar on it, and maybe some short hikes and off roading etc. Little kayaking or rafting maybe, more time to play tourist and explore town. I even have to leave my climbing gear home cause I'm the only climber of the group going.

  17. #17
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    i don't think people can stress the water thing enough...i went over spring break and went through 3 litters of water on a 3 hour ride i think it was around 80 deg....maybe i just drink alot but if your gonna be there in august i would carry like 5 liters and a water purifier if you gonna get close to any water...also i wouldn't ride very hard
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  18. #18
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    Voice of reason

    NO. It is not a good idea. All of you people are nuts. Moab is great if you are near the water or going for super short hikes but to do the kind of biking you want to do is stupid.

    If you are going to Moab, go high altitude for biking and spend the rest of the time going to Natl parks, boating, etc.

    If you are not a seasoned athlete used to the Desert then do not attempt it. You will end up hating life.

  19. #19
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    hot hot hot

    I get the Moab newspaper mailed to me. Here's some recent high temps--108, 109, 107, 107, 106, 102, 107. If I HAD to ride in that heat I'd be on the trail before sunrise and back by 10 am. Then what do you do the rest of the day? Cruise around in your air conditioned car? Got to Mammoth and plan on a trip to Moab sometime end of September.

  20. #20
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    Hot..

    Those are the temps that can really kill you.

    If you ride in the summer in Mob, you have to be smart about it. Or hit the mountains. I still think you can have a good trip if you know what you are doing, but like just about anywhere, there are times of the year that are better than others for that visit. July and August are the worst.

    I actually like November. You can roll out of bed late, hit the trail around 11, temps in the 50's, which are perfect for a low humidity environment. And the place is pretty much deserted.

    If you like backcountry skiing/boarding or snowmobiling, you can go to Mob over the winter months and have great bike riding and great snow riding, too. The La Sals get tons of snow. You can shuttle up to the parking lot near Geyser Pass, and get in some 2-3 mile snowboard runs through the trees, or if you are the telemark type, there are lots of possibilities. Good snowmobiling up there, too, but you definitely need a powder sled.

    The bike trails are generally clear, although the Porcupine holds snow once it falls. It does snow in town occasionally, and it can hang on for a few days, so it is a bit of a crapshoot, but a lot of Colorado Front Rangers will go out to get a mountain bike fix in the middle of winter. If you have to make plans in advance (like you are flying), you need a backup plan.

    All the hotels have deals, or you can have your pick of campsites. It is a little chilly in the morning though.

  21. #21
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    The very first thing I rode when I got to Moab was Slickrock at noon in August. I knew what I was getting into, I did it anyway.

    Provided you don't die, riding in full-on midday desert heat is surreal. It's like a sweat-lodge vision quest, but without the steam.

  22. #22
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    We go in April and Oct and do two rides a day. We stay at the slick rock campground. They have a pool, three spas and clean restrooms. Two (2-3 hour) rides a day leaves you spent at the nd of the week.

  23. #23
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    We were down there a couple weeks ago, and aside dislocating my shoulder on porcupine it was a great trip.

    A person does have to be more careful about hydrating and riding in your limits, and make sure you get good rest and lots of water/recovery drinks not only while riding but after. I think it also helped that instead of camping in sandflats we rented a condo so we had an air conditioned place to escape the heat and a cool place to get a good nights rest.

    If you are done riding by 11-12am it's certainly doable. We were on the trails by at least 8am every day, and done by 11am except the day I had to hike out of porcupine. After that later in the day we either hiked or rode in the la sals, or drove around arches or canyonlands. It was not the 2-3 rides a day we have done in march but it was actually really neat to get up into the la sals which would normally be snow blocked.

    Honestly....105 in moab feels like about 85 in ND since it's about 8% humidity there. When we got back here it was like 91 and 65% humidity and it felt way more miserable. I think it's harder for us coming from 25-30 degrees as a high here in march to 60-80 degees in moab than it is coming from here in the 90s with high humidity to moab in august.

    I would guess what gets most people out there in the summer is either they are horribly unprepared for the ride they take on, or they get a little more exhausted every day and don't recover and by the 3rd or 4th day they are in much worse shape than they think. That or they get hurt or lost and certainly if you end up spending a couple days lost out there at 105 it can be and is fatal.

  24. #24
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    "it's not the heat, it's the humidity"

    Quote Originally Posted by ToddM
    We were down there a couple weeks ago, and aside dislocating my shoulder on porcupine it was a great trip.

    A person does have to be more careful about hydrating and riding in your limits, and make sure you get good rest and lots of water/recovery drinks not only while riding but after. I think it also helped that instead of camping in sandflats we rented a condo so we had an air conditioned place to escape the heat and a cool place to get a good nights rest.

    If you are done riding by 11-12am it's certainly doable. We were on the trails by at least 8am every day, and done by 11am except the day I had to hike out of porcupine. After that later in the day we either hiked or rode in the la sals, or drove around arches or canyonlands. It was not the 2-3 rides a day we have done in march but it was actually really neat to get up into the la sals which would normally be snow blocked.

    Honestly....105 in moab feels like about 85 in ND since it's about 8% humidity there. When we got back here it was like 91 and 65% humidity and it felt way more miserable. I think it's harder for us coming from 25-30 degrees as a high here in march to 60-80 degees in moab than it is coming from here in the 90s with high humidity to moab in august.

    I would guess what gets most people out there in the summer is either they are horribly unprepared for the ride they take on, or they get a little more exhausted every day and don't recover and by the 3rd or 4th day they are in much worse shape than they think. That or they get hurt or lost and certainly if you end up spending a couple days lost out there at 105 it can be and is fatal.
    I think the perception that since it might be really humid during the summer wherever you're from, and that makes you miserable, so when you're in 105 degrees but low humidity you're not as miserable---the perception is that 105 degrees is downright tolerable and no big deal! This latest poster on this thread had enough sense to still take it easy, hydrate like a sumb!tch and get out of the sun by noon. Others make the mistake of thinking, sheeit, it's much "worse" back in Iowa during the summer--this is a piece of cake. Well, a humid climate means you sweat big time but the sweat just drips off of you instead of being able to evaporate (I used to live in Dallas). You can't really cool down, you're miserable. In a desert environment the sweat evaporates instantly and I guess an Iowan feels less "miserable", but your body moisture content is still being depleted rapidly by the intense heat. In some people their bodies just can't take up water into their system fast enough to forestall problems, no matter how much they drink. Realizing that mountain biking in summertime temps is time to exercize caution is key to not only having a good time but survival. By the way, I live in Denver--during our hot spells (hey, 100+ for a whole week this summer!) we all were on the trails by 7 am and home by 11. Moab in August? No way. See you in late September.

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