Bartlett Wash is an Entrada sandstone slickrock ride featuring incredible
views and fun undulating waves of great rock. This intermediate-difficulty ride is
located 18 miles north of Moab. The "official" ride is 4 miles, but you
can spend all day goofing off on large playgrounds of slickrock, as this
mesa is an "open-riding" area where you can go anywhere you
Matt rolls over the sandstone near the west end of the mesa at the top of Bartlett Wash.
February 26, 2000. Photo by Bruce.
|There's no marked trail
-- you pick your way up sandstone ledges to reach one of the largest open slickrock areas
you'll ever see. Once you reach the parking area, find the trail on your
right heading toward a steep sandstone ledge. Pick your way up and start
riding. Head generally west and gradually uphill, stopping to play as you
Bruce rolls the sandstone near the
|The terrain at Bartlett wash varies from easy, smooth rolling sandstone to
"Pucker Factor 10" rock for the truly insane. But it's your choice. Because
there's no set trail, you can play on the easy stuff, or seek out the gnarly stuff.
While you're there, you can cross also hit the Jedi
Slickrock, on the mesa south of Bartlett (from the same trailhead).
"Dolly Parton" (named for the cleavage), also known as "The Toilet
Bowl" (for the pipe that flushes you out at the end of the descent).
Steep. Keep rolling.
||The Entrada sandstone found at Bartlett Wash is a finer-grain stone than the
Navajo Sandstone that lies beneath it. Because (in this area of Utah) it
contains more silt than the Navajo, it weathers more smoothly, forming bowls
rather than the sharp fins and domes seen at Slickrock.
The Entrada was formed in the middle of the Jurassic Period (middle age of the
dinosaurs, 140-200 million years ago), after the sea moved eastward over the
sand-dune deposits of the Navajo Sandstone, then retreated back to the west.
Gary, Dominic, and Chad
take a break. April 1998.
|The ride starts in a wash at the end of a dirt road. After about 100 feet
in the wash, look for a rock "cliff" on your right with a trail leading over to
it. That's the end of the ride. Pick your way around a small trail to the right of the
steep spot, onto level rock on top. Now head west (left), with an occasional zig or zag as
you gain altitude.
Chad runs a side-wall while the other guys work on their busted bikes. February 26, 2000.
||Rising from the red dirt of the desert, this trail climbs onto beautiful
rolling bowls of orange Entrada sandstone. Riders hug the shoulders of the ridges,
gradually working up above the cliffs.
Stop and play around. There are countless
rideable areas. Practice your stunts. Jump a six-inch ledge. Then a twelve-inch. Then an
18-incher. Find some half-pipes to roll around in. This is primo rock.
Posing with Banana Thunder after ripping off
a tire. Feb, 2000.
|The official "end point" of the ride is the west end of the
mesa. You can reach it along the south edge (easiest), over the top, or on the north edge.
Matt Flygare launches into the 60-degree February air.
a repair kit, pump, and extra tube. The rock is so tempting, you'll soon be doing stupid
stuff. (We tend to get a high testosterone-to-IQ ratio here.) During one trip, we had
major work on four out of five bikes.
Rodriquez (8 years old) and Earl Underwood roll over the stone of Bartlett Wash. Photo by
Randy Klein, April 17, 2006.
|Be sure to head up the bluff to the east, into the white monoliths we call
"New York City." Zip along the sandy trail between the rocks. It's an
interesting cruise. Expect the sand to give you a real workout.
Riding time for Bartlett
Wash can be anything between an hour and all day. We often combine Bartlett with another
short ride, or hit it on our way in to Moab as a first-day late afternoon
warmup. Other nearby quick rides include Hidden
Canyon and Klondike Bluffs.
Dominic Bria descends off
the mesa back into the wash. (This is the "cliff" you encounter as you climb up
to begin the ride. By the time you finish, you'll be itching to drop off it.) Feb 26,
Getting there: From US 191, turn west onto Blue Hills
Road 0.9 miles south of the airport. (It's about 14 miles north of the
Colorado as you head north from Moab.) Go 2.4 miles to GPS N 38° 44.673' W 109° 46.745',
then turn left. Keep left at GPS N 38° 44.053' W 109° 47.060'. Go 1.3 miles (keep
straight at the fork at 0.8), then turn right at GPS N 38° 43.665' W 109° 46.465'. Find
a parking area a mile later in a wash near a fence at GPS N 38° 42.989' W 109° 47.220'.
Go through the gate and 200 feet up the wash. The ride starts up the rocks to your right.
Here's part of that incredible view. At the west
end of the mesa,
Gary, Dominic, and Chad . April