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Agate and Jasper Loops
Klondike Bluffs Mountain Biking Area

The Agate and Jasper Loops are easy and short trails in gently rolling terrain west of the Copper Ridge Road in the Klondike Bluffs riding area. These trails are non-motorized singletrack, and are suitable for beginning riders. The trail system is very well marked and easy to navigate. The loops have continuing trail in the north (Chilkoot Pass) and south (Jurassic) for longer rides.

Typical trail on the Agate West portion of the ride. Photos and review by Bruce, October 6, 2012.

The loops can be reached from the main southern Klondike Bluffs trailhead (see below) for a longer but mellow ride. See the by-the-mile ride description below for a ten-miler. Or you can drive directly to the northern trailhead and hit both loops in an easy figure eight of 4 miles.

Heading to the loops from the north. This is the fork off the Dinosaur Tracks road. Go right. There's a small parking spot right here, and two more down the small road.

There's room for a few cars right at the northern end of the Agate Loop (see photo), which you reach by dirt road from US 191 about 4 miles north of the airport. Watch for a sign titled "Northern Klondike" trailhead. Turn east and follow the "Dinosaur Tracks" signs for a mile. (This road may not be passable when wet -- in bad weather, use the southern trailhead.)

The northern trailhead. Straight ahead is Agate West. To the left is Agate East.

There will be two large fenced parking areas on your right 1.1 miles from the highway. (This is the Chilkoot Pass trail. The trail to the right is 0.9 miles to the Agate TH, the left trail is 0.5 miles. Many riders park here because there's a toilet, and they don't have to venture onto the rougher smaller road to the actual Agate-Jasper parking area.)

Fork right onto the smaller road and drive (or pedal) 1/2 mile to the Agate-Jasper trailhead. The main Northern Klondike trailhead parking is about 0.2 miles further along the road, right at the base of Mega Steps.

Following the skirts of the mountain southbound on Agate West.

The Agate Loop is at the north end. It's 1.6 miles. The west side (Agate West) rolls along the skirts of the bluff. The eastern half (Agate East) follows the edge of small conglomerate cliffs just above the Copper Ridge Road. The trail to your right from the Agate trailhead is Chilkoot Pass.

Looking south toward Klondike Bluffs. The slash on the bluff at right is the continuing trail of Agate West.

The Agate Loop gets its name from the chunks of agate you'll see as you ride along. The agate tends to occur in thick patches, with stretches of dirt between. Agate forms when silica-rich water (usually near a volcanic area) intrudes into the sedimentary layers.

Bits of agate at trailside.

The ride lies in the Morrison Formation from the late Jurassic Period. Across the valley, you'll see the Salt Wash Sandstone that supports the other Klondike bike trails. You're riding in the clay between a couple of layers of conglomerate.

From the southern intersection of Midline with the Agate Loop, we're looking west at Agate West.

Sorry, there isn't a lot of spectacular scenery on either loop. On a clear day, you can see the breaks of the Klondike Bluffs and the La Sal Mountains to the south. Otherwise, it's just gray dirt.

Looking east at the southern end of Agate East. Things get loose and sloppy here. Pedal hard if you're going counterclockwise.

The Midline Trail forks off Agate East, about 0.2 miles from the northern trailhead. This is an old doubletrack. It's well-packed and quick to ride. If you're doing a figure eight ride that includes both loops, you'll use the southern end of Midline to connect from Agate to Jasper.

Looking south down Midline at the southern end of the Agate Loop. This is the way to Jasper.

At the southern end of the Midline Trail is the Jasper Loop. (Also here is a connector trail that drops east downhill to the Copper Ridge Road at the base of Baby Steps North.) The dirt will change color a bit, but it's still gently rolling easy riding.

Looking south on Jasper West. This is even easier riding than Agate.

The Jasper Loop is 1.7 miles in length. You can reach Jasper on the north via Midline or by the connector trail from Copper Ridge Road at the base of Baby Steps North. From the south, you can reach the loop via Jurassic or through a connector singletrack from Copper Ridge Road that you'll find just north of the Little Salty Trail.

Jasper East from the junction with Midline.

The Jasper Loop is easier than Agate. True beginners and families with younger children should consider taking Midline from the north directly to Jasper, skipping the more-difficult Agate Loop.

The Jasper West trail lies in the flat below the hillside, rather than rising onto the skirts like Agate West.

Heading west on a meander of Jasper West.

On the Jasper Loop, you'll run into fields of red stone. Therefore the name of the loop.

The color of this area comes from the multiple chunks of jasper rock on the dirt surface.

You may stop and admire the rocks. Do NOT collect rocks. It's illegal. Unless you have a BLM mining permit, leave our public resources where you found them.

Close-up of the red rock. Jasper is an opaque red crystal rock of iron-rich silica, created through the same processes as agate. Wonder how red and opaque agate needs to be before it's called "jasper?"  Note: I put it back after the photo.

At the far southern end of the Jasper Loop is a 0.3-mile connector to the Copper Ridge Road This connecting trail goes to the road a little bit north of the downhill end of the Little Salty Trail. Just after dropping off the little hill, the connector ties into the northern end of the Jurassic Trail. Riders will use this trail to connect to the figure-eight ride when coming from the southern trailhead.

View from the southern end of the Jasper Loop, looking to the east as the connector heads toward Copper Ridge Road.

The east side of the Jasper Loop, Jasper East, winds along the top edge of a conglomerate layer within the Morrison Formation. The track is more firm here, and the slopes more gentle, than on the Agate Loop. When you reach the Midline Trail, consider another lap (maybe the other direction).

Northbound on Jasper East, as the trail hugs the edge of tiny conglomerate cliffs.

 

 If the above video does not appear on your browser/device, you can watch it on YouTube by clicking here.

For beginning riders, an easy add-on ride is the Dinosaur Tracks north of Klondike. Pedal back to the main dirt road (the spot where Copper Ridge Rd forks off the wider Dinosaur Tracks road). Head toward the mountains one mile and turn right into the parking loop.

Tracks of a big 4-legged dinosaur of the late Jurassic such as apatosaurus or camarosaurus.

Important family note: There's a toilet at the Dinosaur Tracks parking area. It's the only one in the Klondike area as of fall 2012.

Leave your bike at the kiosk. Find the foot trail that heads steeply uphill. It's found on a straight line from the road just before it turned into the parking area. Hike about 1/10 mile. (The trail is closed to bikes.)

Just uphill from the sauropod tracks are these three-toed chicken-like tracks, thought to be the predatory allosaurus. (Sorry T-Rex fans, but allosaurs were top of the food chain in this era. The T-Rex won't be around for many million years.)

Agate-Jasper Figure 8 from southern trailhead:
0.0   Cross cattle guard east to DT
        N38 46.428 W109 42.764
0.9   Straight onto Dino Flow / EKG
        N38 47.006 W109 43.074
1.1   Keep L on Dino Flow
        N38 47.118 W109 42.986 (R = EKG)
1.5   Cross wash, keep L (R = EKG)
        N38 47.370 W109 43.253
2.0   Cross Baby Steps South
        N38 47.593 W109 43.552
3.1   L downhill on Little Salty
        N38 48.233 W109 44.140
3.2   R on Copper Ridge Rd
        N38 48.181 W109 44.191
3.3   L on ST connector
        N38 48.244 W109 44.285
3.5   R on Jasper East
        N38 48.201 W109 44.548
4.4   Take middle trail = Midline 
        N38 48.595 W109 44.889
        (R = connect to Baby Steps)
4.7   L on Agate West
        N38 48.765 W109 45.087
5.5   R on Agate East (straight = N TH)
        N38 49.086 W109 45.610
5.7   Keep R (L = Midline)
        N38 49.027 W109 45.488
6.3   L on Midline southbound
        N38 48.767 W109 45.087
6.6   R on Jasper West
        N38 48.586 W109 44.900
7.4   R on connector
        N38 48.198 W109 44.552
        option: next R on Jurassic
7.7   L on Copper Ridge Rd
7.8   Pass Little Salty
        Stay on Copper Ridge
        (Alt = back to Dino Flow)
8.7   Pass Baby Steps
9.6   R on Klondike Rd
10.5 Back at parking
Getting there, southern trailhead: Starting at the Colorado River, drive 15 miles north from Moab. Look for a Klondike Bluffs sign and a turnout on the right. There will usually be cars parked there. GPS N 38 44.452 W 109 44.037.  Go through the gate and drive 2.7 miles. Keep left at the fork. At 2.8 miles, park your car at the gate and begin your ride. N38 46.428 W109 42.764

Water: None
Toilet: Chilkoot trailhead or Dinosaur Tracks/Dino Flow parking
Camping: Not here
Information: Moab visitor's center

See the Jurassic Trail and Chilkoot Pass pages for other ride options that combine Agate and Jasper.

Getting there, Northern Klondike Chilkoot TH:  On Highway 191 8.5 miles south of I-70 and 6.5 miles north of the southern Klondike Bluffs road (about 5 miles north of the airport), watch for a "Northern Klondike" sign at N38 49.504 W109 46.893. Turn east (toward the sandstone bluff). Keep to the right as the road winds south around a small hill. 1.2 miles from the highway as the road is heading east toward the bluff, the Chilkoot trailhead is on your right.
Agate TH:  Go a bit past the fenced parking area then fork right on a fainter jeep road at N38 49.103 W109 46.061. (The main road continues to the dinosaur tracks, with an alternate trailhead here for the Dino Flow trail.) At mile 1.6 from the highway, you'll come to the TH for the Jasper and Agate loops (N38 49.087 W109 45.625) on your right.
Mega Steps TH:  Continuing past the Agate TH, at 2.0 miles you're at the bottom of Mega Steps at a larger parking area N38 49.179 W109 45.417.
Dinosaur Tracks TH:  At the trail fork at mile 1.2, keep left on the main road toward the dinosaur tracks. About 1/2 mile further, turn to the right into the parking area. The Dino Flow trail is up against the mountain, to the left of the pit toilet.
Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide, figure-8 as above
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
   GPX Klondike area trails (multitrack) 
   Agate only   Jasper only   West Agate/Jasper plus Jurassic
   Figure-8 from south  Figure-8 from northern TH
   Agate/Jasper/Jurassic/Dino Flow loop
High-res topo for printing:   View Klondike area 
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Moab area resources

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