Repairing or upgrading your bike! Look for items on UMB site Discussion board for bike fanatics! Visit the UMB store!
Css Menu Javascript by v4.3.0
EKG Trail

The EKG Trail is a 6.5 mile slickrock ride located north of Moab. It's part of a trail complex (Klondike Area) that includes Baby Steps, Little Salty, and Mega Steps in addition to the Klondike Bluffs trail. EKG runs from Klondike Bluffs at Copper Ridge road to the Alaska Trail at Mega Steps.

View north from the spot where EKG starts on Baby Steps South. Photos and ride description November 2, 2011 by Bruce.

The EKG Trail is an expert-level tech trail, but can be managed by strong intermediates. To get to the trail, you need to ride out from the trailhead and incorporate portions of other trails, so the minimum ride will be 11 miles. The trail can be done either direction. I think it flows a little smoother in the north-to-south direction -- but I suggest you do it both ways and decide for yourself.

The trail is dropping west. The skirts of the mesas are the Brushy Basin member of the Morrison Formation, while we're riding on the layer below it -- the Salt Wash sandstone. Dino tracks are extra credit. This is the era of the allosaurus  and long-necked sauropods.

Your riding time for this trail will depend on your appetite for tech challenges, and on the time you spend shooting photos, talking, and watching other riders. Allow about 90 minutes for your first time (just for the EKG portion of your ride). But if you're in a hurry, well, I rode north-to-south in 41 minutes and I wasn't pushing it.

The trail has turned through a wash and is now heading straight up the slope again. You will spend a little time riding "across" but most of the time you're going uphill or downhill.

You won't have to spend time scouting the trail and trying to find your way. The trail is well-marked with orange paint stripes on the rock. Many sections also have trailside logs and rocks to make the riding line obvious.

A rider drops toward a wash crossing. From the wash bottom, he'll climb to the camera viewpoint.

Every ledge I encountered had "helper" rocks strategically placed. There was only one spot that I thought an intermediate would be unable to ride. I found myself deliberately missing the helper rocks so I could make ledge attacks uphill and ledge drops downhill.

Riding two days after a snowstorm. The runoff is over but there's still water in the washes. If you look closely, you can see snow in the shadow of the rock on the right.

The general course of the trail traverses a tilted layer of sandstone. From north to south, it's only 50 feet of absolute elevation change (average 4800 feet). But the trail does NOT make a straight traverse. It's constantly going uphill, then downhill, as it navigates the many arroyos that gouge the rock.

Here the trail is crossing Little Salty. Little Salty is marked with yellow paint, while EKG is orange. The trail intersections are clearly marked, with signs showing where you are on the trail system. Well done!

So you'll head straight downhill to hit a wash crossing where it opens up. Then you'll turn and head straight uphill to go around the uphill head of the next wash.

The trail extends from the Mega Steps trail (at the downhill end of the Alaska Trail) on the northern end down to the intersection of the Copper Ridge Road with the Klondike Bluffs road. (The last 0.2 miles combines EKG and Dino Flow as a single trail.)

We've pedaled up and around the head of an arroyo. Now we're headed straight down the slope. We'll be going through the bottom of the next wash after it opens up. Then it will be back uphill again! But the climbs are short enough that I never tired.

The up-and-down pattern of the trail is why it's called the "EKG" trail. Yes, it does make your heart pitter-patter with excitement. But the name EKG is based on the shape of the trail. It looks like a particularly nasty case of ventricular fibrillation. (Not that there's any "good" v-fib.)

Following the orange brick road uphill.

The course of the trail swings regularly uphill and downhill, and the riding line goes up and down as you roll over ledges and humps of rock. According to my GPS, this "50 feet of elevation change" trail had a total of over 1000 vertical feet of climbing -- each way.

Not as hard as it looks. It's an easy roll downhill (riding south to north). There's a long run-in to build speed for the uphill (north to south) trip.

For riders who aren't up to a huge ride, but want to play on the rock, I suggest riding Copper Ridge Road north. When you reach Mega Steps, climb 1/3 mile to the EKG trail and head south. If you're struggling, there are bailouts at Baby Steps and Little Salty. This ride is 11 miles.

Behind this tree is an off-camber steep uphill spot. Get some speed by swinging wide, following the orange stripes. If you chicken out, hike up and around (mid-left in the photo) -- the side-slope has too much pitch to hold bike shoes very well. 

For those who want real fun, you can retrace the ride I made. (See the second ride guide below.) Head straight for EKG and take it northbound. Then turn and ride up Mega Steps. Descend either Baby Steps or Little Salty (I used Little Salty). Then take Copper Ridge Road north to the bottom of Mega Steps. Climb to EKG and take it southbound. This ride is 20.4 miles, and will have about 2800 vertical feet of climbing overall.

We're at the Baby Steps North crossing, looking back at the La Sal Mountains to the southwest. Baby Steps North is marked in baby blue paint.

Bottom Line:
EKG is destined to become a popular Moab trail. Because it connects to Baby Steps South, Little Salty, Baby Steps North, Alaska, and Mega Steps, it can be part of many different ride combinations. Ride a little of it, or a lot of it. Or ride it twice. It's worth it.

We've reached Mega Steps and the end of EKG. Mega Steps is marked light green.

Update 2012:
EKG has been extended from its southern end on Baby Steps. The new route goes from Baby Steps to the Dino Flow trail near its origin on the Klondike Bluffs/Copper Ridge Rd intersection. To reach this new section of EKG from the main trailhead, pedal on the doubletrack to the fork at mile 0.8. Head straight onto the Dino Flow singletrack between the two doubletrack routes. 0.2 miles later, fork right as EKG leaves Dino Flow. After another 0.8 miles, EKG meets Dino Flow again. Keep right to stay on EKG. At mile 1.6 from the Copper Ridge Road, keep straight as EKG crosses Baby Steps. See the GPX track file to view the route.
Update 2014: 
0.2 miles from where EKG ends on Dino Flow, there's a new 1.9-mile loop called Miner's Loop that forks off to the east. 
Riding guide, Copper Ridge to EKG loop:
0.0   East across cattle guard
        N38 46.417 W109 42.735
0.8   Veer L on Copper Ridge Rd
        N38 46.997 W109 43.072
1.7   Straight (R = Baby Steps)
        N38 47.545 W109 43.603
2.6   Straight (R = Little Salty)
        N38 48.184 W109 44.194
3.6   Straight (R = Baby Steps North)
        N38 48.810 W109 44.847
4.4   R on Mega Steps
        N38 49.196 W109 45.404
4.8   R on EKG Trail
        N38 49.420 W109 45.029
5.8   Baby Steps joins from the left
        Veer L (southeast) to stay on EKG
        N38 48.964 W109 44.611
7.2   Straight (cross Little Salty)
        N38 48.591 W109 43.916
8.9   R downhill on Baby Steps
        (Option 2012: straight on new EKG section)
        N38 47.750 W109 43.292
9.3   L on Copper Ridge Rd
        N38 47.546 W109 43.604
10.2 R (L=Klondike Bluffs)
        N38 46.982 W109 43.070
11.0 Back at parking
EKG both ways!
w Mega Steps up and Little Salty down:

0.0   East across cattle guard
        N38 46.417 W109 42.735
0.8   Veer L on Copper Ridge Rd
        N38 46.997 W109 43.072
1.7   R to Baby Steps South
        N38 47.545 W109 43.603
2.1   L onto EKG
        N38 47.742 W109 43.284
3.8   Cross Little Salty, keep straight
        N38 48.598 W109 43.912
5.2   R uphill joining Baby Steps North
        100 ft then veer L to stay on EKG
        N38 48.960 W109 44.614
6.2   R uphill on Mega Steps
        N38 49.420 W109 45.034
7.8   Top of ridge, veer south
8.9   Reach DT N38 49.480 W109 43.799
        Keep straight on Baby Steps southbound
10.3 Fork R on Little Salty
        N38 49.129 W109 43.379
11.3 Cross EKG, keep straight
        N38 48.598 W109 43.912
12.0 R on Copper Ridge DT
        N38 48.179 W109 44.193
13.0 Keep straight (R = Baby Steps N)
        N38 48.802 W109 44.840
13.8 R uphill on Mega Steps
        N38 49.196 W109 45.404
14.2 R on EKG
        N38 49.420 W109 45.034
15.2 Cross Baby Steps, stay on EKG
        N38 48.960 W109 44.614
16.6 Cross Little Salty, stay on EKG
        N38 48.598 W109 43.912
18.3 R downhill on Baby Steps South
        N38 47.742 W109 43.284
18.7 L on Copper Ridge Rd
        N38 47.545 W109 43.603
19.7 Fork R (L = Klondike)
        N38 46.997 W109 43.072
20.4 Back at parking 
Getting there, southern Klondike Trailhead: Starting at the Colorado River, drive 15 miles north from Moab. Look for a turnout with parking on the right and a sign for Klondike Bluffs Road. There will usually be cars parked there (GPS N 38 44.452' W 109 44.037'). For a longer ride, park here and ride up the road.  Most cyclists will choose to go through the gate and drive 2.7 miles. Keep left at the fork. At 2.8 miles, park your car in the broad parking area by the fence. Go eastbound across the cattleguard through the fence and begin your ride. When you reach the fork in the Klondike road, take Dino Flow to EKG.

Note: Map color-coded to show named trails individually. Does not correspond to described loops above.


Northern Klondike Trailheads:  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. 
Chilkoot TH:
  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. Take Mega Steps uphill to reach EKG's northern end.
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
Riding guide, EKG both ways - Mega Salty
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
   GPX Klondike area trails 
   EKG only    EKG via Copper Ridge Loop
   Dino Flow plus EKG loop
   EKG both ways w Mega Little Salty
High-res topo for printing:   View Klondike area
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to Moab area resources


Copyright 2011