||Jackson Singletrack on Amasa Back
What to say about this 2.2 mile trail that drops off the north side of
Amasa Back? Very scary. Very technical. Makes the deadly
Portal Trail seem like pedaling around the park. Only for true expert
riders. See the Amasa Area page for other
The Superfly 100 cowers on the cliff
edge above the Colorado during the descent down Jackson. 18 inches from my
bike's front tire is a 200-foot cliff. Photos by Bruce
on March 24, 2011.
|I'm glad I did this ride. But I won't hurry back. There's
extremely technical stuff with significant injury potential. And
cliff-side spots where any mistake will be deadly.
The trail starts just over the ridge from the middle of the Amasa
Back trail. You can also use Hymasa to climb
to the Amasa saddle to connect to Jackson. (Where the power lines cross the trail, a left fork takes
you 0.1 miles to the singletrack.) You can get to it from there, or you
can connect to it by riding Rockstacker from
the Pothole Arch Trail.
Near the Jackson Singletrack fork on
Amasa, looking toward the viewpoint at the end. Yes, I got rained on. Plus
snow. It blew over quickly.
||This is called a "Bike and Hike" trail. That's
because there are sections you're not expected to ride. This applies to
some extreme technical sections (see photos below) and some spots where
you tiptoe along the edge of the cliff (more photos below).
Beginning of the trail, as seen from Rockstacker.
|The trail drops 600 vertical feet, most of it in sudden
technical plunges, from an altitude of 4600. There will be some highly
Series of tall ledges. Just a tad
taller than the typical chainring.
||You'll think you're doing fine, until about a mile into the
trail. Here the trail slithers right on the edge of a deadly drop-off. Get
off and walk.
Evidence of bikers offering up their
chainring teeth as a sacrifice to the mountain. It's not the teeth -- it's
getting knocked off your line and winding up on an unscheduled
I probably walked less than 1/4 mile total, dismounting
perhaps 6-8 times. Because I was alone, on a stormy day in early spring,
with no other cars in the Amasa parking, I may have been a little more
timid than you'd be. But once I start getting off the bike, the flow is
interrupted and it gets easier to dismount for the next trivial tech spot.
More downhill fun. This spot actually
flows well, once you get over the initial ledge.
The route that's described below is a ride that tours the
major trails of Amasa Back. It starts from the Amasa parking area. Climb
Amasa to the viewpoint, then backtrack to the Pothole Arch trail and head
out to the arch.
Another deadly spot. 24 inches
of trail sneaks around the out-leaning rock, with sheer vertical cliff on
Backtrack on Pothole Arch to the Rockstacker fork and ride
the Rockstacker trail to the Jackson Singletrack.
Tricky switchback. The apex of this
hairpin turn lies on top of a little cliff.
||After a mile of deadly cliff exposures, steep plunges, and
crazy technical stuff, the trail drops onto a brushy shoulder above the
river and becomes, well, boring. OK, there are views. But by now,
cumulative heebie-jeebies made me want to get the hell back to my car.
Gonna be wanting a paved bike path for the next ride.
|Riding notes, Amasa to Pothole Arch to
Rockstacker to Jackson:
0.0 Exit parking, uphill on road N38 31.710 W109 35.705
0.6 Drop R off road N38 31.435 W109 36.096
0.8 Cross creek N38 31.589 W109 36.080
2.8 Top of climb, for now N38 31.079 W109 37.115
3.5 Pass Portage connector, keep straight
N38 31.721 W109 37.678
3.7 Keep L at fork to Jackson ST
N38 31.761 W109 37.756
4.4 Keep L on Amasa at Pothole fork
N38 31.876 W109 38.369
5.1 View - End of Amasa - backtrack
N38 31.678 W109 38.871
5.8 Back at Pothole Arch
6.2 Alternate joins on L, unmarked
N38 32.047 W109 38.661
7.0 Keep L and straight (R=Rockstacker)
N38 32.533 W109 38.449
7.8 R 100 ft to Pothole Arch N38 33.115 W109 38.447
then back and go north
8.0 Viewpoint, turn around N38 33.228 W109 38.545
9.0 Back at fork. Go R on Rockstacker!
N38 32.533 W109 38.449
9.1 First scary plunge. Yikes!
10.9 Junction with Jackson ST,
N38 31.748 W109 37.594
(R = 0.1 mile climb
to Amasa, bailout!)
11.8 Cliff exposures. Walk, you fool!
12.8 At Kane Creek, turn R along creekside
N38 31.935 W109 36.152
13.0 Cross creek, go left N38 31.904 W109 35.947
13.1 At Kane Springs parking area
N38 31.945 W109 35.948
R uphill on road
13.6 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'. Head
further up the gravel road 1/2 mile, and turn right onto the trail at the