The Hymasa Trail is a 3.2-mile singletrack trail in the Amasa
Back riding area. It's a two-way trail great for both climbing and
descent. The singletrack begins where the Amasa
Back trail leaves Kane Springs Canyon Road. It extends up to the
saddle on the mesa. It's upper-intermediate in technical requirement and
The trail climbs ridges of Kayenta
sandstone beneath towers of Navajo. Photos and trail review by Bruce
on March 16, 2014.
|There's one gap in the singletrack: Hymasa joins the main
Amasa Back trail just before crossing Kane Springs Creek then diverges
again uphill. Hymasa gives cyclists a fun and easier alternative to
climbing the brutal ledge-filled Amasa Back jeep route.
Having finished his fun on Amasa, a
rider approaches the end of Hymasa.
||Hymasa begins where the jeep route plunges off Kane Springs
Canyon Road, 0.5 miles uphill from the Amasa parking area. As you turn to
the right to drop downhill, the singletrack is immediately to your left.
There will be 1/3 mile of singletrack before it rejoins the main Amasa Back
route (keep left and downhill as you join the main path).
View east as the singletrack leaves
the main Amasa jeep route.
|One-quarter mile after plunging through the creek, you'll
see the downhill end of Captain Ahab on your left. Keep to the right and
continue climbing on the broad main trail. At mile 1.3 from the parking
lot (0.2 miles uphill from Captain Ahab), fork uphill to your right on the
Looking west as we climb around skirts
of Kayenta sandstone.
||The trail clings to the hillside just above the Amasa Back
trail for 1/4 mile, then crosses to the downhill side at mile 1.5 from
parking. At mile 1.8, you're back to the main Amasa Back jeep route for
View east toward the mouth of Kane
Springs Canyon. The towers are Navajo sandstone.
|Head uphill across Amasa to the singletrack on the north
side. The trail will take you up to the top of the next little ridge,
where Hymasa turns back west.
Climbing westbound. Most of the trail
is fairly straightforward intermediate riding.
||At mile 2.4, you'll approach the Amasa Back trail from the
uphill side. Continue across to the south side. You've now crossed Amasa
Back for the final time. The trail will meander generally south and west.
Occasional blue paint stripes mark the
path on sandstone. There will be occasional ledges, but nothing scary. An
experienced upper-intermediate can clean everything on the first try.
|3.1 miles from the parking lot, you'll temporarily join the Ahab midpoint trail. (This trail connects the midpoint of
Captain Ahab to
the Amasa Back main trail.) Captain Ahab is to your left if you're looking
for a shorter (but expert-level technical) ride. To keep climbing uphill,
fork to your right on the
combined midpoint-Hymasa trail.
As we climb higher, we're seeing the
La Sal Mountains above the domes of Navajo sandstone across Kane Springs
||After about 100 yards, the trail splits. Keep left on Hymasa.
(The right fork takes you to the main Amasa Back trail.) Hymasa will
now wander west-northwest toward the Amasa saddle.
100 feet down the trail, we're about to
cross the main Amasa Back trail for the last time.
|At mile 3.7, Hymasa ends on the Captain
Ahab singletrack. Intermediate riders (and those planning to join the
main Amasa Back route) should fork to the right and proceed to Amasa on
the saddle 0.1 miles to the east. From here, north takes you on Amasa
to the viewpoint, or to Pothole Arch, Rockstacker,
or Jackson Singletrack.
Near the trail's end on Captain Ahab,
a rider descends Hymasa.
||Enjoy the views from the saddle. To your north is Jackson
Not-Hole, a rincon left behind when the Colorado River cut through a
meander. The cliffs are Wingate sandstone. The cap-rock of the Not-Hole
(and the layer you're standing on) is Kayenta.
Looking north at the cliff-line of
Amasa Back, with Jackson Hole in the center. At the left edge is the
rincon, called Jackson Not-Hole. The viewpoint at the end of Amasa is on
the skyline at the left.
|To the west, dark Moenkopi mudstone rises in layers from the
Colorado. Between the Wingate Cliffs and the Moenkopi are the lighter
bands of the Chinle Formation. These formations are from the Triassic
View west at the banded layers of
mudstone above the Colorado River.
||To the east are the La Sal Mountains. The domes of light
rock between you and the mountains are Navajo sandstone from the early
Jurassic Period, about 200 million years ago.
We're actually on Captain Ahab for
this view to the east. The La Sal Mountains form the skyline.
|OK, break time is over.
Now, where are you going to ride?
North on Amasa can take you to the viewpoint. This is an
upper-intermediate option. From there, you can head to Pothole Arch, or
Tired bikers can coast back downhill on Hymasa, or tackle the ledges of
the main Amasa Trail downhill.
A rider cranks up one of the smoother
spots on Captain Ahab.
||My featured ride below makes a lariat loop by riding Captain
Ahab. This is for expert-level riders only! Do not underestimate
Captain Ahab. The challenges are unrelenting, requiring excellent handling
skills, strong legs, and an aggressive attitude. This "short
loop" will be 9.2 miles with 1600 vertical feet of climbing.
Many of the steep descents on Ahab are
paved with stonework ramps.
|You'll do twice as much work "descending" Ahab as
you did climbing to the saddle on Hymasa. There will be about 800
additional feet of climbing, much of it out-of-the-saddle as you attack
the endless small mounds of sandstone.
Riders attack the rolling sandstone on
the upper half of Captain Ahab.
||Shortly before you reach the Ahab midpoint, the riding gets
easier and you can finally open it up and cruise. But technical challenges
A young lady descends the ledges with
finesse on lower Ahab.
|When you see the sign that says Get Off Your Bike, do it.
You're approaching a couple of at-an-angle ledge drops just before a turn
at the top of a certain-death cliff.
Ahab rejoins Amasa about a mile from parking. As you climb away from
the creek-crossing, be sure to catch Hymasa on your right.
Almost done as we cruise east on Ahab.
The Amasa trail is on the ridge above us.
|Ride notes, Hymasa to Ahab loop, 9.2 miles
0.0 Right uphill from parking
N38 31.695 W109 35.805
0.5 Drop R 15 feet, then left to ST Hymasa
N38 31.445 W109 36.101
0.8 Keep L to merge with main Amasa
N38 31.525 W109 36.063
0.9 Cross creek N38 31.588 W109 36.075
1.1 Keep R on Amasa (L = Ahab end)
N38 31.523 W109 36.261
1.3 R on singletrack Hymasa
N38 31.560 W109 36.336
1.5 Cross Amasa from uphill
N38 31.456 W109 36.338
1.8 Cross Amasa from downhill
N38 31.329 W109 36.490
|2.4 Cross Amasa from uphill
N38 31.330 W109 36.490
3.1 R to join midpoint trail
N38 30.869 W109 36.622
3.2 L off midpoint on Hymasa
N38 30.875 W109 36.671
3.7 L on Captain Ahab
N38 31.084 W109 37.156
(option: R 0.1 mile to Amasa saddle)
6.1 Keep straight (cross midpoint trail)
N38 30.809 W109 36.594
8.1 R downhill on main Amasa
8.3 Cross creek
8.4 R uphill to Hymasa N38 31.525 W109 36.063
8.7 Exit ST, R uphill to road, L downhill
9.2 Back at parking
||Getting there: Head south on Moab's Main
Street. When you reach the McDonald's on your right, turn right onto Kane
Creek Blvd. After 0.6 miles, go straight where the road seems to turn
right (500 West). Drive along the Colorado River about 5 miles until the
road turns to gravel, and head uphill about 2/3 mile. Watch for the "Amasa
Back Parking" area at GPS N 38° 31.329' W 109° 35.501'. Park here.
Pedal further up the gravel road 1/2 mile, and turn right onto the trail
at the sign.
Hymasa singletrack trail segments are shown in black.