Slickrock question, can you hike it?- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Slickrock question, can you hike it?

    I know i know, everyone says slickrock sucks, do the practice loop, etc.. but i like scenic rides and it seems like the end of slickrock when you're looking down at the river on the rim is a really really nice spot. And the trail is only 10km with an average time of 50min on trailforks, so it's a pretty low commitment.

    My question is, if I just wanted to dick around on it doing an out and back to the rim, would my wife and kids be able to join me just hiking it, or making their own way on the slick rock not necessarily on the bike trail?

    And also, what about Bartlett Wash, would they be able to hike to it while I ride and we all meet up there kind of thing? Or would it be a shitty hike, or it's really frowned upon to hike on that trail?

  2. #2
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    Slickrock is fine for hiking; I see people doing it all the time. I would be less ambitious, though - especially since you mention kids - and not go for the full loop. It may be 10k, but there is a LOT of climbing involved, and it is extremely hot and dry. Make sure they bring a *huge* amount of water.

    I would also say, stick to the trail. There are hidden 100 foot dropoffs back there, and it is insanely easy to get lost. GCSAR ends up extracting a lot of people every year.

    If you head left at the fork (i.e. go clockwise) you get to great views of the city pretty quickly, and get to see the zip lines. From there they could just return the same way.

    At Bartlett, yeah, not so great of a hike. Still fine to do - but it's like going on a hike of the local jump park, maybe not so entertaining. A GPS for the group would be good, just in case.

  3. #3
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    oh and p.s. your numbers are wack. The full loop is 14.1 km = 8.8 miles, and only 22 people EVER have done it in less than an hour on Strava. Most people take over 2 hours to bike it; so figure 4 hours to hike.

    https://www.strava.com/segments/4816035

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunderland56 View Post
    oh and p.s. your numbers are wack. The full loop is 14.1 km = 8.8 miles, and only 22 people EVER have done it in less than an hour on Strava. Most people take over 2 hours to bike it; so figure 4 hours to hike.

    https://www.strava.com/segments/4816035
    thanks, well they're not my numbers, i got them off trailforks which i assumed would be accurate. thanks for the heads up. strava doesn't give me the overall elevation gain, i wonder if that's inaccurate on trailforks as well. says just over 1000' which wouldn't be a lot of climbing for a hike. kids normally do double that. as far as the heat, we'll be there in mid to late october so i think by then it should be pretty managable, we always carry 2-3L camelbaks.

    but looking at the strava elevation profile, it seems like we could cut out half the climbing by doing an out and back to the rim/river and skip the west side trail that overlooks the city? it would shorten the length too. any reason not to do that?

    thanks for the advice, think we'll skip bartlett wash

  5. #5
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    Slickrock doesn't suck. It's actually pretty rad, it's just fallen out of favor a bit the last several years with all the new trail builds. Yeah, I often skip it when I head to Moab, but if you've never done it, it's worthwhile. The views are pretty awesome. With that said, there is so much better hiking all around Moab, I can't recommend that you have the fam hike while you ride. Instead, have them drop you off (or ride your bike up), then they can go hike in Arches, Canyonlands, Negro Bill Canyon (has a new name now, but can't remember it), or Fisher Towers. You can do your ride and then ride back down into town easily and meet them at your hotel's pool. Slickrock is steep up and down over and over. It's not about total elevation, it's straight up, then straight down and repeat again and again. With so much world class hiking right there at their finger tips, I can't think of good reason to have them do any kind of extended hike on slickrock.

    Hope that helps!

  6. #6
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    "Slickrock question, can you hike it?"

    Yes. With the family? Bring lots of water, sunscreen/hats and such. I wouldn't call it a good hike to do, though.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Padlz View Post
    Slickrock doesn't suck. It's actually pretty rad, it's just fallen out of favor a bit the last several years with all the new trail builds. Yeah, I often skip it when I head to Moab, but if you've never done it, it's worthwhile. The views are pretty awesome. With that said, there is so much better hiking all around Moab, I can't recommend that you have the fam hike while you ride. Instead, have them drop you off (or ride your bike up), then they can go hike in Arches, Canyonlands, Negro Bill Canyon (has a new name now, but can't remember it), or Fisher Towers. You can do your ride and then ride back down into town easily and meet them at your hotel's pool. Slickrock is steep up and down over and over. It's not about total elevation, it's straight up, then straight down and repeat again and again. With so much world class hiking right there at their finger tips, I can't think of good reason to have them do any kind of extended hike on slickrock.

    Hope that helps!
    cool, we've been to moab a couple times before hiking, so we've done a lot of hikes at arches and canyonlands, and a couple at chesler park. i just thought this would be a fun way for us to bike and hike at the same time since its not possible anywhere else, and the views at the end should be worthwhile. We've hiked the fisher towers trail before

    i've often seen negro bill canyon mentioned as a hike, but looking at pictures i don't see whats so special about it? it's one i've never managed to check out

  8. #8
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    You might take a look at the Intrepid mtb trail system in Dead Horse Point State Park if you haven't. Good trails for hiking right out of the Visitor Ctr. or at the Point. Great views, and about 2k ft higher elevation so 5-10 degrees cooler as well.

    Slickrock question, can you hike it?-dhpsp1.jpg

    Slickrock question, can you hike it?-dhpsp2.jpg

  9. #9
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    You could try Klondike. Lots of good bike trails there, and a hiking only dino-tracks trail that isn't nearly as steep as slickrock.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by marving View Post
    but looking at the strava elevation profile, it seems like we could cut out half the climbing by doing an out and back to the rim/river and skip the west side trail that overlooks the city? it would shorten the length too. any reason not to do that?
    The west side is way more scenic; east side is kinda boring until you get to the overlook. On the east side there is a small spur off the main trail where you can look down on the river (pretty much right above the 128/191 junction) so you're not missing anything.

    3 L camelback per person is good for fall.

    Trailforks numbers are very seriously broken. The "leader" right now for the slickrock trail is showing 2 minutes total at 56 MPH.... even an expert on a motorcycle couldn't achieve that. Strava numbers pretty much reflect reality.

  11. #11
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    How old are your kids? There is better hiking on the south side of Sand Flats road, basically across the road from the trailhead. They won't have to dodge mountain bikes, motorcycles, and Jeeps on that side. It is a little tricky right at the beginning, but then you can make a great freeform loop out there and end up overlooking the potholes at Millcreek Canyon, several hundred feet below. If your kids are under 10 I wouldn't do it, or if they are bad off leash. On either side there is huge exposure in a few places, and also lots of crypto crust that should not be touched. Learn what that is before you go. I know a guy who slipped hiking on Slickrock and was seriously injured, and he was a local who had hiked it many times before. He just rolled an ankle on a side slope and down he went into a deep hole.

    Also, the water thing. Kids don't deal with severe heat as well as adults, it is just a fact. They dehydrate much more quickly. You *must* keep them hydrated.

    Also, leave your dog at home.

  12. #12
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    Yeah I just really want to get to the river overlook because it seems like a great scenic view and the only way to get there is the bike trail or hells revenge jeep trail, so the bike trail seemed like a better option and it seemed like a fun trail to hike and bike together since i can just re-attempt climbs as they catch up.

    we're going to be in moab for a week, hiking all over the place (arches, island in the sky, chesler park, fischer towers, etc).

  13. #13
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    I've already given my 2 cents, so I won't hammer it anymore. I'll just say that before you take the family up there, try to do a quick scout run on the practice loop. You'll quickly get a good sense for what the terrain is like from that, and you'll be in a better position to decide whether your family would enjoy doing that for several miles. I could see my kids liking the up and down a few times just for the novelty, but I'd have a mutiny on my hands if I tried to get them to do it for any extended length.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunderland56 View Post
    The west side is way more scenic; east side is kinda boring until you get to the overlook. On the east side there is a small spur off the main trail where you can look down on the river (pretty much right above the 128/191 junction) so you're not missing anything.

    3 L camelback per person is good for fall.

    Trailforks numbers are very seriously broken. The "leader" right now for the slickrock trail is showing 2 minutes total at 56 MPH.... even an expert on a motorcycle couldn't achieve that. Strava numbers pretty much reflect reality.

    sorry did you mean on the west side there's a small spur looking down at the highway junction?

  15. #15
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    I second levity's advice: Dead Horse Point. Separate hiking and biking trails both starting from the visitors centre, amazing views, nothing strenuous, and likely several degrees cooler than the trails at lower elevation (but in mid-October, heat shouldn't be as much of an issue).

    Slickrock isn't absolutely horrible. Ride Slickrock to experience the alien-looking terrain. As for the ride quality itself, as others pointed out, it's a lot of steep up and down. It's physically demanding, but technically not as much. Figure about 2.5 hours to do the main loop at a casual ride pace with stops for lookouts, snacks, and photos. If you bring your family to hike it, I recommend you choose one of the lookouts and do it as an out-and-back, and stick to the trail, as the sandstone domes all start to look the same pretty quickly.

    My GF and her friend hiked Bartlett Wash when I biked it in May. The views are not as spectacular as Slickrock, but still nice. There is no marked trail, but it's more wide open and more of an out-and-back kind of thing, so it's hard to get lost out there. Much less busy than Slickrock.
    Mountain bikers are generally a rational bunch...until someone moves a rock on our favorite trail and we lose our minds - LMN

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by marving View Post
    sorry did you mean on the west side there's a small spur looking down at the highway junction?
    Yes. Two, actually - "Panorama" and "Portal" viewpoints here:

    Slickrock question, can you hike it?-slickrockbigpic.jpg


    p.s. the suggestions for Dead Horse - it's a fine hiking area, great views.... but pretty easy beginner riding.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by ray.vermette View Post
    I second levity's advice: Dead Horse Point. Separate hiking and biking trails both starting from the visitors centre, amazing views, nothing strenuous, and likely several degrees cooler than the trails at lower elevation (but in mid-October, heat shouldn't be as much of an issue).

    Slickrock isn't absolutely horrible. Ride Slickrock to experience the alien-looking terrain. As for the ride quality itself, as others pointed out, it's a lot of steep up and down. It's physically demanding, but technically not as much. Figure about 2.5 hours to do the main loop at a casual ride pace with stops for lookouts, snacks, and photos. If you bring your family to hike it, I recommend you choose one of the lookouts and do it as an out-and-back, and stick to the trail, as the sandstone domes all start to look the same pretty quickly.

    My GF and her friend hiked Bartlett Wash when I biked it in May. The views are not as spectacular as Slickrock, but still nice. There is no marked trail, but it's more wide open and more of an out-and-back kind of thing, so it's hard to get lost out there. Much less busy than Slickrock.
    thanks, yes we were already planning on going to dead horse point, that's where we're going to do a family ride. as well as the all the other hikes i mentioned, this would be in addition to it. i just wanted to find a trail where we could bike/hike at the same time together and i wouldn't be leaving them in the dust after 10 seconds. slickrock seemed like a good candidate because i could just redo a climb while they catch up, and there's a great view at the end. but ya it would be out 6th hike in moab not our 1st

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunderland56 View Post
    Yes. Two, actually - "Panorama" and "Portal" viewpoints here:

    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	slickrockBigPic.jpg 
Views:	38 
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ID:	1206993

    ah cool, i thought there was only the ones called portal and shrimp rock viewpoints, and between those two it seemed like shrimp rock was clearly the superior viewpoint because of the view of the river and the bend, etc.. but how does panorama compare?

  19. #19
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    Slickrock "alternate routes"

    Never been all the way out to panorama, my favorite spot is the section just past shrimp rock where the trail goes right next to the cliff. From there you can over look the river and arches across the river. Shrimp rock is real cool in the spring when the pools are full of water, great photo ops.

    I believe now if you get a new map at the gate there are more alternate routes that may be better than the main path for hiking.

    here ya go.


  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by supersize View Post
    Never been all the way out to panorama, my favorite spot is the section just past shrimp rock where the trail goes right next to the cliff. From there you can over look the river and arches across the river. Shrimp rock is real cool in the spring when the pools are full of water, great photo ops.

    I believe now if you get a new map at the gate there are more alternate routes that may be better than the main path for hiking.

    here ya go.

    nice! i like that alternate route, i haven't seen it on any maps. it seemed like the viewpoint out at the end of the hells revenge jeep trail would be the best view of the river and the alternate bike trail gets you over there avoiding 90% of the jeep trail, and you also get an overlook into negro bill canyon. definitely what i'm going to do

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