Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Klonzo Trail System Mountain Biking in Moab

At the end of my first ride in Moab, I ate dinner and was looking to put in another short ride.  I had no desire to hang around town with the masses and wanted to take advantage of the remaining daylight.  Klonzo is another newer trail system in Moab about 12 miles north of town.  Since I just wrapped up a solid ride just a couple hours earlier, I was looking for something a little mellow and Klonzo seemed like the right place to for mellow.

Klonzo is comprised of numerous short trails with many options to make up a loop of any length.  Since it was already 6PM when I started the ride, I was hoping to ride the perimeter of the area and cover 10 or 12 miles.

From the lower trailhead, I began my ride heading south.  A short stretch on The Edge, led me to Topspin.  The riding was fairly easy as it wound its way through the desert on a mix of smooth singletrack with some interesting and mildy technical rocky sections on Topspin.

View from Topspin
Close up the view above
From Topspin, I headed down Midway.  Midway is another easy rolling trail.  I followed Midway to access an interesting feature near it.  A short connector off Midway leads to ancient fossilized dinosaur tracks in a section of slickrock.  The actual tracks look like pock marks as they eroded over time.  Nonetheless, it's kind of neat realizing that you are standing at the exact spot a dinosaur passed by.  An interpretive sign at the site explains the history.  I did a tiny loop back to Midway to continue on to my next section.

Informative sign near the dinosaur tracks

Dinosaur tracks

I continued a short distance on a trail called Hot Dog before hitting my next intersection.  This four way junction is probably the only intersection on all of Moab's bike trails without a map or sign.  I accidentally took the wrong trail and ended up on the lower part of a trail called Red Hot.  It turned out to be a great mistake.  Red Hot is a one way downhill trail and albeit short.  The trail has several berms and bumps with good launches to get some air.  The fun run on Red Hot was over before I knew it and I headed back to the intersection where I took the wrong turn.

Threatening clouds in the distance
My next trail was Houdini.  Houdini is one of the longer trails at Klonzo.  Unlike the other trails at Klonzo, Houdini forms a loop away from the rest of the trails in the area with no bailout point.  Naturally as I started Houdini, the weather started to change and look rainy again.  I made over halfway on the loop before sprinkles started falling.  The wind picked up quite a bit and made the air chilly.  Houdini wasn't particularly the greatest riding trail either.  Much of Houdini is rough slickrock intermixed with deep sand that brings your momentum nearly to a stop.  The riding on Houdini is at least relatively flat.

La Sal Range

Houdini slickrock

By the time I made it to the end of Houdini, I had to make a decision.  The rain wasn't too intense yet but the clouds moving in were a lot darker.  I'm not certain because it was difficult to hear riding with the wind, but I may have heard thunder in the distance.  I really wanted to continue but didn't have much faith in the weather.  Even if it wasn't thundering, the rain looked like it would intensify soon.  The sand in the area can get quite nasty when wet.  I decided to take a more direct route back to the trailhead rather than ride the perimeter of Klonzo like I originally intended.

I tried to sneak in a few more trails from the end of Houdini but took a course that allowed a quick escape to the trailhead.  I rode Zoltar with parts of Cross Canyon, Dunestone,and Boondocks to wrap up my ride.  The rain did continue to intensify as I rode.  It's a shame because the terrain was more interesting on the short bit I rode on these northern trails in Klonzo.  As I neared the trailhead a rainbow appeared.  By the time I reached the trailhead the rainbow was quite intense with a second rainbow forming next to it.

Cross Canyon

View from Boondocks

Another view from Boondocks

Mars like landscape

Rainbow near the end of the ride

I wrapped up my ride with less than 8 miles.  Not as much as I would have liked to ride, but it would have been quite messy and slick if I continued.  Besides, I rode this less than two hours after my first ride at Navajo Rocks, which was nearly 18 miles.  25 miles of riding isn't too bad for a day, especially in Moab.

Double rainbow when I wrapped up the ride

I hope to visit Moab again in the future.  While I don't think I'd make Klonzo a featured ride, I'd like to ride here again and give the trails at Klonzo a fair shot.  Since I was constantly worried about the weather moving in, I didn't get a good chance to enjoy the trails as much I would have liked.  Based on what I've seen at Klonzo, it seems like a good place for less seasoned riders or a place to put in a less intense ride on a down day or second ride for the day.  There are plenty options to make loops as short or long as you like.  The access road to Klonzo, Willow Springs Road, is also filled with free camping sites along its length.

Typical Moab landscape

Another shot of the La Sals

Click the link Klonzo Map for a map of the area.

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