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  1. #1
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    Desert ride suggestions for little rippers

    A friend and I want to take our two boys on their first desert riding trip this spring and I'm looking for some trail suggestions. St George/Hurricane, Moab and Fruita are all on the table. I've ridden Moab a lot, but mostly the tougher stuff and don't know much about the beginner/intermediate options. Plus, there seems to be tons of new trail popping up all the time around Moab that I have yet to touch. In St. George I've ridden some of the Santa Clara stuff but far from all of it. What I have ridden (Bearclaw, Stucki, Zen) isn't a good fit for them. The one trip I made to Fruita we got rained out and only got to ride Horsethief so I'm pretty ignorant there.

    Both boys recently turned six. They're ripping little riders but both are still on 16" bikes so anything more than mild tech is tough. For those familiar with SLC trails, their favorite places to ride are Rush and Trailside. They will shred Rush top-to-bottom in 30 minutes with maybe one or two brief stops at most and airing off every jump. The rocky section on the double track above the corral is tough for them though. They will often clean it and when they don't it's usually just one or two quick dabs, but they have to slow way down and it's obvious the 16" wheels aren't doing them any favors. We take them on the Quarry sometimes but it's not their favorite due to the rockiness. They can handle long-ish rides as long as the climbing isn't bad. Last fall they rode from Empire Pass to Snow Park via Flagstaff Loop/Sunset/Deer Crest no problem.

    They can't really do any extended climbing, so trails that can be done as shuttled downhills are preferred. If there is dirt road/doubletrack or buff singletrack climbing we have a tow system set up so we can pedal them to the top if the grade is reasonable. This is how we roll at Trailside.

  2. #2
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    18 road in Fruita is exactly what you describe with good camping next to the easy, shuttle able trails. Saw lots of people doing what you describe with kids.

  3. #3
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    18 is super fun for kids. Run them on PBR a few times.

  4. #4
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    On the way into Moab, about 8 miles before you hit town on the left is a small group of trails for those of us that don't even ride as well as mini DTM. It is where the paved trail starts to ride down past Arches and into town.
    Rusty Spur, Bar M loop, Lazy, EZ, Sidewinder, Circle O.......they are all just a few miles at most. If anything a good little spot for the kids to play.

    I have a pic of the trail map if you want to text me, I can send it to you.
    "boobs just make the world better really" - Woodsy

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
    18 road in Fruita is exactly what you describe with good camping next to the easy, shuttle able trails. Saw lots of people doing what you describe with kids.
    Is there a chance in hell of getting a campsite at 18 Rd on a Friday afternoon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzworthy View Post
    I have a pic of the trail map if you want to text me, I can send it to you.
    Thanks for the suggestion Buzz. No need for a map pic, all that stuff is on Trailforks.

  6. #6
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    NP, I had a few hours to kill one day and wanted something easy to dink around on. It isn't much but I had a smile on.
    "boobs just make the world better really" - Woodsy

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    Is there a chance in hell of getting a campsite at 18 Rd on a Friday afternoon?



    Thanks for the suggestion Buzz. No need for a map pic, all that stuff is on Trailforks.
    Depends on what time of year and what time you arrive on Friday I would think. I was there in October and pickings were slim by about 7pm on Friday.

  8. #8
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    Goodwater Rim is not far away and would probably work. There are some cool Hieroglyphs on the drive in or out as well. Lots of camp sites and the trail can be done in 90min for an adult, for the kids you could turn around part way. Not much tech and some cool views.

    Haven't ridden it yet but Deadhorse State Park supposedly has beginner friendly trails and good views.

    I'm not familiar with all the new trails at Brand Trails / Klondike Bluffs / Klonzo but there should be some suitable trails for them there, each of these systems seems to have a wide variety. Bike shops could advise.

    At St.G/Hurricane some of the new trails in the Zen system might be fun. Not much tech and there are some routes that mostly descend without much tech. Even part of Gould's rim might be ok, down to where it comes out to a road. It might be out of season but Navajo Lake loop near VRRT would probably be good as its flat if it is clear - more likely in fall than spring.

  9. #9
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    I would think Bearclaw Poppy in St. George would be a fit if you rode it from the TH at the bottom (not the Zen side TH). The trail up looker's left is very mellow and would be good for a tow. More rolling hills on the way down, but I saw a couple kids out there last weekend (<10 years old) and they were having a a great time. What about Jem if you're shuttling? Even parking on the dirt road that intersects Jem and towing up sections? There's a section of Dead Ringer, right after it crosses Jem (when riding uphill/south), with some fun 1 ft drops and small features. It's near the dirt road (I think) so maybe some sessioning?

    18 Road is solid. People freaking fly down Kestle Run, but if you rode behind him and blocked, you'd be fine. It would be pretty much perfect for little rippers. There is "overflow camping" in a little valley as you drive up the road if all the spots are filled. There's also a ton of BLM land around there you could do dispersed camping. Keep an eye on Fruita Mountain Biking FB page for conditions. GJ - There is a fun dirt jump/pump track at lunch loops to play on, but I don't think anything smoove is shuttleable.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
    18 road in Fruita is exactly what you describe with good camping next to the easy, shuttle able trails. Saw lots of people doing what you describe with kids.
    18 road is the first place that came to mind for me, too. It will probably be my daughter's first bike and camp trip there in the fall.

  11. #11
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    Dan,
    i'll 2nd/3rd 18 rd. even if you have to camp further away, worth it to drive there and hang out/ride for the day. also, when zzz and I rode the trails south of GJ there seemed to be some kid friendly flat stuff (no necc shuttle) as well as a bike park to mix it up.
    in moab, we've done dead horse (not shuttle but flat loop kids did w/ minimal walking) as well as klonzo south trails (again, no shuttle but flattish enough to do some different loops w/ minimal walking).
    We're heading to st George w the kids early april so will be looking for stuff down there as well and will report back.

  12. #12
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    18rd FTW.

    Fun trails, short loops from the main TH. I'd have a vehicle at the TH regardless, (water, food, rest), so it doesn't matter how far away you have to camp. I think I've only ever stayed in that "little valley", but we've always found a spot and it's always been after dark when we pulled in.

  13. #13
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    bookmarking this thread for future reference..

    But I'd 5th 18 road.. warm them up on Kessel then over to PBR and have opportunities to challenge them from there.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by skiergirl View Post
    I would think Bearclaw Poppy in St. George would be a fit if you rode it from the TH at the bottom (not the Zen side TH). The trail up looker's left is very mellow and would be good for a tow. More rolling hills on the way down, but I saw a couple kids out there last weekend (<10 years old) and they were having a a great time. What about Jem if you're shuttling? Even parking on the dirt road that intersects Jem and towing up sections? There's a section of Dead Ringer, right after it crosses Jem (when riding uphill/south), with some fun 1 ft drops and small features. It's near the dirt road (I think) so maybe some sessioning?
    I honestly thought Bearclaw was pretty boring the one time I rode it. Didn't have much desire to do it again. I'm embarrassed to say I've never ridden the Hurricane trails. I'll look into Jem and DR, thanks.

    Quote Originally Posted by skiergirl View Post
    18 Road is solid. People freaking fly down Kestle Run, but if you rode behind him and blocked, you'd be fine.
    Yeah, I always ride behind him and that's one of the reasons.

    Sounds like 18 Rd is a solid sure bet and Hurricane is worth further investigation. We'll probably avoid really flat stuff like Deadhorse since most likely they'll just be bored. For better or worse we've got them hooked on the down.

  15. #15
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    Practice loop at Slickrock or even Slickrock itself can be pretty fun for kids, just let them ride around in circles and session some fun slickrock features. Navajo rocks is fun too.

    18rd is the no brainer though. Shuttle PBR all day long. I've seen families bring a big trailer and 15-20 kids and shuttle all afternoon while the old folks sip PBR's at the campsite.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Buzzworthy View Post
    On the way into Moab, about 8 miles before you hit town on the left is a small group of trails for those of us that don't even ride as well as mini DTM. It is where the paved trail starts to ride down past Arches and into town.
    Rusty Spur, Bar M loop, Lazy, EZ, Sidewinder, Circle O.......they are all just a few miles at most. If anything a good little spot for the kids to play.

    I have a pic of the trail map if you want to text me, I can send it to you.

    Bar M is nice as you can make the day as long or as short as you like. The signage has gotten much better around there too.

    18 road in fruit is a good choice too. You're right about it getting played out recently. You will find camping in the newer pay for areas on a friday.
    Quote Originally Posted by timnormandin View Post
    I never wear a helmet 'cause I'm core. I do, however, Crazy Glue my cock to my leg so I won't ski over it. My cock that is, not my leg. not that you could ski over your leg...what was that about the Minnow being lost?

  17. #17
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    also gotta agree with shredgnar.

    Slickrock is pretty fun for little dudes. The pay for part is what gets me over there.

    Also near bar M loops in moab is klondike bluffs. A little more jeep road and rock ledges than bar M, but still very doable and an easier ride than say Amasa back.
    Quote Originally Posted by timnormandin View Post
    I never wear a helmet 'cause I'm core. I do, however, Crazy Glue my cock to my leg so I won't ski over it. My cock that is, not my leg. not that you could ski over your leg...what was that about the Minnow being lost?

  18. #18
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    Klonzo north trails in Moab would be good as well it's similar riding to 18rd and mostly on dirt unlike most of the trails in Moab but as mentioned 18 rd is just about perfect. Beginners can just cruise while all you do is amp up the speed on the same trails for more advanced riders.
    ...tricks deserve applause, style deserves respect

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dantheman View Post
    I honestly thought Bearclaw was pretty boring the one time I rode it. Didn't have much desire to do it again. I'm embarrassed to say I've never ridden the Hurricane trails. I'll look into Jem and DR, thanks.
    Oh Bearclaw IS boring.

  20. #20
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    18rd for sure
    My girls (6&8 last summer) love it.

    Campsite in the semi-developed campground ?? probably not
    Or reasonably flat spot in the free for all BLM open camping area?? Should be fine

    And Rustlers loop over by the Kokopelli trails is good for kids too.

  21. #21
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    Great times on PBR and Kessel this weekend.












  22. #22
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    ^^^Nice! Looks like you had great weather.

  23. #23
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    Did you find a camp spot?

  24. #24
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    We had a commitment Friday night and couldn't drive down until Saturday, so we went the lazy route and got a room at Balanced Rock Inn for the night. Tough to beat for $55. I meant to spin a lap through the campground Saturday to see if there were any spots open but forgot to.

    Weather Saturday was spectacular. Much cooler Sunday, still good for riding but the wind was really picking up when we left at around noon.

  25. #25
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    Stoked to see you guys had a good time!

    Inspiring to see, as I'm sure we'll be there in a few years.

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