||Gravitron and VertiGo
Advanced-technical trails in the Klonzo system
These two advanced-level trails were completed in late fall 2014. They
make a nice addition to the Klonzo and South
Klonzo system, which previously offered only intermediate-skills
riding. They lie at the far northern edge of the riding area. There are 22
named trails in this system, with many of the newer trails being split
between very easy biking and upper-intermediate to advanced riding.
Twist and plunge about half-way down
Gravitron. Photos and review from a ride by Bruce
on November 12, 2014.
|Gravitron is just under two miles in length. It drops 300
feet of absolute altitude over that length, but the up-and-down nature of
the trail yields 600 feet of total descent. It's a one-way trail --
because of higher speeds and blind spots.
The first turn on the trail. Slabs of
rock armor the banked turn and the hit at the bottom of the wash. Then
it's up the other wide and a quick right turn to plunge through the wash
||Gravitron is fairly straight-forward to ride, requiring
advanced but not expert skills. It's not tricky. The plunges are only
moderately steep and always short. It's great practice for how you put
your weight on the bike and guide it through turns.
Looking southeast, as the trail hugs
the skirts of an arm of the mesa.
|All but a tiny bit of the trail is narrow dirt ribbon.
There's one patch of slickrock and occasional rock-slab armor of plunges
and wash-crossings. The rest is dirt.
The trail begins at the highest point of the Wahoo loop. If you're
riding counterclockwise (the recommended direction), you'll fork to the
right just after the trail turns back from eastbound to westbound.
On the few spots of open rock, purple
stripes show the way.
||There are a couple of spots where the line becomes critical.
If you fishtail in loose dirt or bobble as you steer, you'll bang
something at trailside.
Looking back. Hit the slot as you come
up from a dip, then find the right line to avoid banging the rocks below.
|This is a great trail for "doing laps." After you
test it once, head back east on VertiGo, turn left onto a tiny piece Cross
Canyon, then climb clockwise around Wahoo to do it again. You'll have more
confidence to hit the rare spot that made you nervous.
A little drop hides in the shadow of
the rock. No need to scout it; it's tiny.
||The trail is constantly in motion; up, down, side to side.
Temporarily on top of a small mesa,
we're looking south.
|But instead of curving around the slopes, Gravitron rolls
over countless little humps and through a gazillion little washes.
One of a series of plunges through
tributaries to the main wash. The white spot is glare from a chunk of
agate that's caught the sun.
||At two miles, Gravitron is the longest continuous stretch of
trail in the Klonzo system.
Getting close to the bottom, as we're
about to run beneath some interesting rocks.
|At its far end, Gravitron climbs up the side of a ravine to
the middle of the VertiGo Trail. From here, right takes you downhill while
left sends you over to the Wahoo loop so you can do it again.
Trail's end. We're looking back at the
ramp we cranked to get up to VertiGo.
||VertiGo is 1.1 miles in length. It has a very different
personality than Gravitron. Rather than a plunge and dip, it's more of a
bike-handling challenge. But it's not too tricky, either. I'd rate it as
an upper-intermediate to early-advanced trail.
Typical terrain on the northern half
|VertiGo arcs from the middle of Secret Passage on the south
to Cross Canyon on the north. The north end is just a tiny distance from
the Wahoo loop. Eastbound, it serves as a route to the top of Gravitron.
A duck-under rock. Marked
appropriately enough, with a rubber ducky on top of the warning sign.
||In either direction, VertiGo offers its own version of a
loop ride by using Secret Passage and Cross Canyon to complete the circle.
Heading southwest as we ride laps.
|There are many great ways to combine these trails into a
ride of Klonzo. But you'll definitely want to add Gravitron and VertiGo to
See the Zephyr trail page for a longish pedal-fest from the Brand
Trails to the top of Gravitron and back. It's 25 miles, 2300 vertical
feet, and takes a conditioned rider about 4 hours.
At the southern end of VertiGo, the
trail is hugging a steep hillside.
||Getting There: To safely navigate Willow
Springs Road, I strongly recommend an SUV. A low-clearance sedan may have
problems with ruts and sand.
Western (main Klonzo) Trailhead: Willow Springs Road forks east off Highway 191 18 miles
south of I-70 and about 10 miles north of Moab (1.8 miles north of the
junction with Highway 313 (to Canyonlands and Dead Horse Point). Turn onto
Willow Springs Road. Keep straight as spurs go to camping areas. At mile
1.4, turn left to cross Courthouse Wash (may not be passable in wet
weather). At mile 2.0 pass the Sovereign Trail parking area, a flat area
outlined in rocks on the left (north) side of the road N 38°
41.876' W 109° 39.868', with a natural gas pump building on the
right. At mile 2.7, turn left off Willow Springs Road onto a small
doubletrack. 100 feet later, park and begin your ride. The trail on the
left takes you clockwise and immediately to the slickrock.
Eastern (Borderline) TH: Keep going on Willow Springs Road past the west trailhead. At
mile 3.0 from US 191, turn left on doubletrack. Drive 0.2 miles to a small
area of slickrock. The trail to the left goes toward the western
trailhead. Right climbs up for a counterclockwise loop.
|Midway Trailhead: Keep on Willow Springs Road past
the first trailhead, then keep right at the fork about 1/10 mile later (at
mile 3.0 from US 191). A half-mile after passing the spur to the main
trailhead, there will be a few parking spots on your right at the entry to
the Midway trail.
Dinosaur Tracks: Not really a mountain bike trailhead, but if
you're not pedaling past, it's worth a visit. Head for the Midway
Trailhead as above. Drive past Midway as the road climbs. 1/4 mile past
the Midway Trailhead, the road curves around a cleared area on sandstone,
and you'll see a sign on your right explaining the tracks.
Redhot (Houdini) Trailhead: On Willow Springs Road, pass the
spur to the main trailhead and keep right at the fork in the road, passing
the spur to the second (Borderline) trailhead. Pass the Midway trailhead
and the Dino tracks. A mile past the main trailhead, there's a cable fence
on your right. The Zoltar trail is on your left and Houdini is on the
right. There's enough room here for a car or two, but be sure you aren't
blocking access to the 4x4 route to the left of the Houdini trail
Carousel Trailhead: This is a good starting point for young
children (including stroll-a-bikes) and very out-of-shape true beginners.
Go to the Redhot trailhead as above. Now turn 150 degrees hard right and
descend the broad path marked with white and red stripes. The red stripes
will head up onto singletrack, leaving only white stripes. A half-mile
after leaving Willow Springs Road, the path will enter a parking area
outlined by a post-and-cable fence. Park here. The trail passes directly
through this parking area on each side.
Brand Trailhead (pedal by bicycle): See the Zephyr