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  1. #1
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    Tell me about The Mag 7 in Moab...

    Howdy folks!

    Tomorrow I'm embarking on a long overdue pilgrimage to Moab. It's hard to believe, but I haven't been there for 9 years or so. I used to go twice a year before I was married, and I know all the classic rides pretty well.

    I'll be there for three days, and have a co-worker who will also be there with his family and he and I have the green light to ride A LOT while we're there.

    A lot has changed since I've been there. We're definitely going to try Capt. Ahab, but if I'm not mistaken, Mag 7 wasn't really developed when I was last there. I rode Gemini Bridges almost 20 years ago as my first ride in Moab, and while I was impressed with the scenery, it was far too easy of a ride. I'm aware Mag 7 starts in the same area.

    If you can help me put together a killer combination of trails in that system, that's what I'm looking for here. We're also planning to do Porcupine. Probably won't be able to do the upper singletrack stuff due to snow. I've heard Mag 7 can be equally epic to Porc.

    Technicality wise -- I like it gnarly and steep, but I'm not afraid to climb A LOT if it's worth the descent. It would be cool to finish the Mag 7 lap on Portal, as that's one that I usually ride as an up and back several times every time I visit Moab.

    Any other new trails that are a "must hit?"
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  2. #2
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    I rode Mag 7 a couple of years ago---I am an intermediate rider who avoids really nasty stuff----I enjoyed Mag 7 (rode it twice) and had little trouble---a couple stepups I did not make but overall I had few issues---did not ride Portal----of course if you rode faster then Mag 7 is harder---interested what others think

  3. #3
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    IMO, Mag 7 is a great intro ride for Moab, while it's likely more tech than most riders have at home, it's more of an intermediate level Moab ride. Fun for everyone, with all the stuff Moab is known for. A good way to warm up for the more challenging rides as well, don't miss it.

    I'll leave it to the locals to fill you in on the "must hits"

  4. #4
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    Bring lots of water. And then bring some more. The dry air and heat will dehydrate you fast. If your doing the whole thing, it is long. Plan accordingly with snacks and spare parts. I would also pad up for the full ride.
    Don't be afraid to walk/scout technical sections.

    Captain Ahab is a must ride too.
    Making shit harder than it needs to be isn't awesome, it's just...harder.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexbn921 View Post
    Bring lots of water. And then bring some more. The dry air and heat will dehydrate you fast. If your doing the whole thing, it is long. Plan accordingly with snacks and spare parts. I would also pad up for the full ride.
    Don't be afraid to walk/scout technical sections.

    Captain Ahab is a must ride too.
    I'm not too worried about water and heat; the high for next week is around 62* F. (Though, it's been -40* recently where I'm coming from, so 62 will likely feel hot, lol). I come from a dry climate too.

    Also not worried about technicality. My bike has 7" of travel at both ends and I used to do Portal top to bottom in about 6 minutes.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  6. #6
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    Portal is the only difficult part, so no worries.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    It would be cool to finish the Mag 7 lap on Portal, as that's one that I usually ride as an up and back several times every time I visit Moab.
    "
    You ride Portal as an up and back? Cool, but odd.

  8. #8
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    There are PLENTY of gnarly lines after the climb if you look for them. Once upon a time they were more worked into the ride.

    Upper Porcupine is really fun imo. Continue up the road past the porcupine put in (3.5 miles or something like that). There will be an obvious steepish wash on your left and I believe it's posted with a trail marker. Go up that and it will take you right to the start of upper porcupine. Well worth it.
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  9. #9
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    I'd def check gold bar (or blue dot?). It was my favorite part of the ride... really fun, just tech enough to keep you on your toes. Not a fan of portal, FVCK that exposure.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by WHALENARD View Post
    There are PLENTY of gnarly lines after the climb if you look for them. Once upon a time they were more worked into the ride.

    Upper Porcupine is really fun imo. Continue up the road past the porcupine put in (3.5 miles or something like that). There will be an obvious steepish wash on your left and I believe it's posted with a trail marker. Go up that and it will take you right to the start of upper porcupine. Well worth it.
    He's going up tomorrow. Can you get up there without a snowmobile?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    He's going up tomorrow. Can you get up there without a snowmobile?
    Dunno.
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    You ride Portal as an up and back? Cool, but odd.
    Yup. But mostly as a shorter second or third ride of the day kind of thing. I just park at the bottom and go up until I get to the overlook/beginning of the sketchy traverse section. Having ridden the entire thing several times, I don't need to do it again all that bad. The upper part isn't what's fun about Portal anyway -- it's the lower gnar section. It's a world class DH course, IMO.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    He's going up tomorrow. Can you get up there without a snowmobile?
    I've been checking Strava and it looks like nobody has done UPS/LPS yet this year. I'll take that as a sign that it's impossible. Plenty of people doing the original Porcupine though, which is good enough for me.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    I've been checking Strava and it looks like nobody has done UPS/LPS yet this year. I'll take that as a sign that it's impossible. Plenty of people doing the original Porcupine though, which is good enough for me.
    That's good. They've had a shit-load of snow down there this season.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by MSU Alum View Post
    That's good. They've had a shit-load of snow down there this season.
    Tell me about it. I still have 2 (settled) feet of snow in my front yard. I live at 5200'. If I'm lucky I'll be riding our alpine trails by August...

    In 2019 we set the all-time record for snowfall and most consecutive days of bitter cold.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  16. #16
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    UPS/LPS/PorcRim are still snow covered (and will be muddy as heck when the snow melts). Even Sand Flats Road is muddy enough that they are recommending a 4X4.

    Mag7 is fine except for Getaway, at the top - if you start at the Bull Run parking lot you'll be fine.

  17. #17
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    Porcupine Shuttle posted this yesterday: "If riding Mag 7 start lower at the Bull Run TH. Navajo Rocks, North Klondike Bluffs, Bar M, and Slickrock are all riding great right now!"

  18. #18
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    Tell me about The Mag 7 in Moab...

    Based on that intel from Porcupine Shuttle, I'd do a double loop at Amasa (Up the jeep road-to upper Ahab, then back up on Hymasa over to RockStacker, with an out and back to Pothole Arch, then down Jacksons). Then Mag 7 from as high as you can go (Bullrun TH) clear to town via Gold Bar ST(Blue dot) to Portal. Third ride: Usually I'd recommend Porcupine Rim from as high as you can get.... but sounds like you'll have a tough time getting to Porc....maybe ride up it as far as you can then descend? Of the others they say are good to go, I like North Klondike the best, but a big clock wise loop of Navajo Rocks can be fun. Or if the Horsethief stuff is open start up there on Chisolm and do what the locals call the Nascar descent clear to the bottom of Navajo Rocks (All left turns). If you haven't done Slick Rock trail in forever it's worth a go too. Lots of alternate lines and even some steep DH trails that descend off Slickrock back to town.


    As an aside: I've done Portal up and backs too. Definitely some HAB but it's a good second ride or early AM warm up. Portal is such a bomber descent, I totally agree, it's worth it. Poison Spider gets a lot of bad press, but looping up from Poison Spider to Portal is also an option especially if it's been raining and the sandy sections are packed in.
    Last edited by KRob; 03-18-2019 at 09:43 PM.
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  19. #19
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    If you're going up Amasa Back to ride Ahab or elsewhere, you're going to get extremely wet crossing the creek - 2+ feet deep rushing icy cold snow melt.

    The Jackson crossing is significantly deeper and I wouldn't recommend it.

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    I was there yesterday and avoided Amasa Back because of the water level. I did Pipe Dream, BRANDS, and Klondike, which were all excellent.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by UtahJohn View Post
    I was there yesterday and avoided Amasa Back because of the water level. I did Pipe Dream, BRANDS, and Klondike, which were all excellent.
    I didn't even think about crossing that stream. Was it pretty deep?

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    Yes; guys who did cross got wet up to and including their twigs n berries. I wasn't willing to do that to BEGIN a 3hr ride, so went elsewhere. Ending one would be no problem, but I don't want to start that way.

  23. #23
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    We were planning on rolling into the Horsethief campground area Thrusday, but are delaying our travels due to forecasted wet and coldness Thursday-Sunday ish. May try to hit it come Monday.

    If that area sees some moisture Thursday-Sunday, do you think it will close these trails back down? Not sure how wet its been down there, but 3 hours East in the area of Aspen/Glenwood, its been really wet - tons of snow around, and gonna be that way for a while.

    Oddly enough, Moab's got crappier weather forecasted over the next several days than Fruita, which we'd be driving through to get to Moab. Sounds like its crappy up on sand flats if they're suggesting 4wd for that road. I really wouldn't mind it if spring break came a few weeks later. We're always dodging storm systems in Moab this last week of March.
    I would advise not taking my advice.

  24. #24
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    Just got done doing Porc proper from Lazy Manís. Road was good all the way up. Beginning/climb was a little snowy/muddy but nothing major. Descent was cherry all the way to the river. 👍

    Gonna go hit Goldbar/Portal this afternoon.

  25. #25
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    Tell me about The Mag 7 in Moab...

    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    Just got done doing Porc proper from Lazy Manís. Road was good all the way up. Beginning/climb was a little snowy/muddy but nothing major. Descent was cherry all the way to the river.

    Gonna go hit Goldbar/Portal this afternoon.
    Win! Nothing like on the ground intel. What else did you end up doing?


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  26. #26
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    After riding Porc I actually went out later and did Amasa/Captain Ahab, which, as it turns out, is a pretty big day on a bike, haha.

    The stream crossing at the bottom of Amasa was pedal-deep, not two feet. One of my shoes got mildly wet.

    Iíve done Amasa many times, but this was my first time on Captain Ahab. The climb up Amasa was easy even after doing Porcupine, but what got to me finally was the constant up and down on Ahab.

    The verdict is still out on that trail for me. I loved the techy sections and cleaned most of them, but took a wrong line a few times that would have ended badly had I not gotten off and walked. I didnít have the energy at that point to go back and hit some of them correctly. I really want to do it again when Iím fresh and not hitting the technical sections blind, as Iím sure that will save energy and feel a lot more flowy.

    I kept thinking there would finally be a sustained downhill on that trail, but man, it just didnít happen. My bike weighs 36 pounds and has 7Ē at both ends. It is awesome in the gnar but probably too much bike for Ahab as a whole. It was an awesome choice for Porc though.

    The next day my family and I went into Arches, and my daughter got a stomach bug while we were there. To make a long story short, I didnít have much time left when we got back, and as I was rushing to head up to Portal, I noticed something loose in the back end of my enduro bike, and decided I didnít have enough daylight left to mess with it. So I grabbed my hardtail and did a hot lap on Slickrock, which is always fun.

    The next day, it rained all day, and then we headed home. So Iíll have to hit Mag 7 next time.. What surprised me the most on this trip is that my friend and I had Porcupine all to ourselves, and the conditions were epic. Not a soul there until the last 1/2 mile. I had Slickrock nearly to myself as well, but it was around 6:30 pm. Good times!

  27. #27
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    Tell me about The Mag 7 in Moab...

    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    After riding Porc I actually went out later and did Amasa/Captain Ahab, which, as it turns out, is a pretty big day on a bike, haha.

    The stream crossing at the bottom of Amasa was pedal-deep, not two feet. One of my shoes got mildly wet.

    Iíve done Amasa many times, but this was my first time on Captain Ahab. The climb up Amasa was easy even after doing Porcupine, but what got to me finally was the constant up and down on Ahab.

    The verdict is still out on that trail for me. I loved the techy sections and cleaned most of them, but took a wrong line a few times that would have ended badly had I not gotten off and walked. I didnít have the energy at that point to go back and hit some of them correctly. I really want to do it again when Iím fresh and not hitting the technical sections blind, as Iím sure that will save energy and feel a lot more flowy.

    I kept thinking there would finally be a sustained downhill on that trail, but man, it just didnít happen. My bike weighs 36 pounds and has 7Ē at both ends. It is awesome in the gnar but probably too much bike for Ahab as a whole. It was an awesome choice for Porc though.

    The next day my family and I went into Arches, and my daughter got a stomach bug while we were there. To make a long story short, I didnít have much time left when we got back, and as I was rushing to head up to Portal, I noticed something loose in the back end of my enduro bike, and decided I didnít have enough daylight left to mess with it. So I grabbed my hardtail and did a hot lap on Slickrock, which is always fun.

    The next day, it rained all day, and then we headed home. So Iíll have to hit Mag 7 next time.. What surprised me the most on this trip is that my friend and I had Porcupine all to ourselves, and the conditions were epic. Not a soul there until the last 1/2 mile. I had Slickrock nearly to myself as well, but it was around 6:30 pm. Good times!
    Yeah, itís a misconception that Ahab (especially upper Ahab) is a down hill trail. Itís work, but a nice mix. From a certain spot on lower Ahab itís mostly downhill with a few short steep grade reversals but you gotta know where they are so as to maintain enough momentum to clear them. Youíll like it better next time.

    Mag 7 is downhill trending but itís more XC and more work than youíd expect too. A tail wind and a snappier bike are your friend.

    Weather/dirt conditions in the desert change fast. A thigh deep crossing one day might be ankle deep just a few days later. Same with muddy, impassable roads. A few days can make a big difference.

    Glad you were able to do Porc and Slick Rock. Good call.


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  28. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by KRob View Post
    Yeah, itís a misconception that Ahab (especially upper Ahab) is a down hill trail. Itís work, but a nice mix. From a certain spot on lower Ahab itís mostly downhill with a few short steep grade reversals but you gotta know where they are so as to maintain enough momentum to clear them. Youíll like it better next time.

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    That's kind of what I was thinking. And don't get me wrong, I'd rate even my first and only ride on Ahab as a 9/10.

    Another issue I was battling was that I had a 34T narrow wide chainring on the front, and my largest cog in the back is a 36. I felt that the most on upper Ahab, as on some of the punchy climbs, I really didn't have a low enough gear to comfortably climb them. By the end of the trail I was pretty tanked and tired of that. With my 30T ring, it would have been no sweat.

    I think that, combined with knowing all of the trail, and it would be a 10/10 for sure. But a fast, top-to-bottom descent it is not, nor will ever be.
    Bikes belong in Wilderness areas.:)

  29. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by cookieMonster View Post
    .........did a hot lap on Slickrock, which is always fun.
    Well....maybe not "always". Last time down there we did a lap on Porc from UPS down, went to Milt's for a burger, fries and shake, then got the bright idea to do a fast lap on Slickrock right after.

    Nothing like punching it up one steep slickrock climb after another while trying not to puke up a gut bomb.

    Definitely give Ahab another go when fresh and I think you'll like it a lot more. I only get the chance to ride that trail once every other year or so, and it's not quite frequent enough to have it memorized to the point of remembering all the spots you need to really carry speed through. We usually do two laps on Ahab in one ride, and the second lap is always more fun than the first.

    For me, the verdict is still out on Mag 7. I've only ridden it twice, both times on like day 6 of a trip after riding 2 big rides every day. At that point, I'm pretty beat down and I've only enjoyed some of the sections and didn't care for some of the washboard slickrock sections that don't take any skill to navigate but are much more tolerable when you're fresh.

    But, Mag7 into Gold Bar/Blue dot and out Portal is definitely a great day on the bike. Bits of Mag7 can be meh, as is the exposure section of portal, but blue dot and the last bit of Portal are some of my favorite bits of Moab riding.
    No dig no whine

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