The Jedi Slickrock is an open-riding area just across the wash from the
Bartlett Wash slickrock. Like Bartlett, you're
free to ride anywhere on the rock area. The surface is Entrada sandstone
from the Jurassic Period.
Looking southeast from the edge of the
mesa early in the ride. Photos by Bruce on March 21, 2014.
|If you select and follow the perfect route, the ride is
intermediate in technical requirement. But there are areas requiring
expert skills, and it's easy to blunder into them. There are no
paint-spots to guide you. You pick your own way.
This map shows the Bartlett riding
area and the Jedi riding area in blue. Note the roads that go south from the road to the
trailhead. These take
you uphill where you can reach the top of the mesa, which is part of the
open-riding zone. (The final approach is very rough and steep. Consider
riding your bike to the top.)
||To reach the Jedi Slickrock, take the Blue Hills road 2.2
miles west. Turn south on the smaller dirt road at the
"Bartlett" sign. Keep straight (left) as you pass two forks that
go west into the Hidden Canyon area. Turn left at the "Bartlett"
sign 1.3 miles after leaving Blue Hills road. Now keep to the right as you
pass the forks to the Tusher Tunnel and 3D, and after a mile, you'll find
a small parking area on both sides of the road.
View as we go into the road from the
parking lot. Go west, young man, go west. (Don't drive down here; there's
no place to park!)
|To begin the ride, go back to the road and head west (the
direction you were driving before you pulled into parking). The road
becomes a wash-bottom and gets wet. Go through the barbed-wire gate (close
it after you). Now take the left fork in the wash-bottom. After 200-300
feet, you'll see the entry to Jedi on your left. Go straight up and onto
Looking south from the wash-bottom as
we reach the entry to the open-riding zone.
||Remember there's no official trail. Look around and pick
your line. At first, it will seem like you can go anywhere.
In general, your ride will be southbound. Sorry, I can't give you a
specific GPS track. My Garmin Edge 800 was refusing to boot up.
Heading south. Plenty of room to
meander here. Note EMPTY GPS holder on stem of bike. The unit picked a
crappy time to die.
|As the slickrock becomes more tilted, spot your riding line
ahead. The slickrock tends to form soft-shouldered horizontal shelves with
steeper areas in between.
Ride horizontally along the line of the shelf, then find a ramp that takes
you up or down to another level.
Sample area showing three possible
lines: an easy flat curve and two up-and-overs to reach a higher shoulder.
||In time, the slope of the sandstone will overtake your
little riding shelf. As the side-slope gets steeper, you'll start banging
your uphill pedal. Time to find another level.
Not too steep yet, but it will get
tough soon. There's an alternate riding line below near the trees.
|In a couple of spots, riders have left cairns so they can
remember a specific transition. When it feels like it's time to abandon
your current shoulder and find a flatter area, look around. You may spot a
small rock-pile that designates somebody's favorite path.
Did you see these cairns in the photo
||Often, these cairns are placed on spots that aren't the
obvious easy route. The rock-piles usually mark spots where you might be
confused about how to reach an new ongoing riding level.
Same spot looking uphill from where we
came. When heading north, this tiny rock-pile is the only clue that
there's a riding line up there.
|Whatever you do, stay off the cryptobiotic soil! If your
riding line requires you to hike or fishtail through desert dirt, you've
gone the wrong way. Backtrack and find a better route.
Looking toward the mesa. Fun stuff.
How high up can you get? Work the shelves and zigzag your way uphill.
||In general, the easiest north-south lines are found on the
lowest levels of the slickrock. As you pick riding lines higher up the
slope, the shoulder is steeper and the lines are narrower. The higher
zones are harder than they look and are absolutely paranoid-spooky to
Still heading south. See some lines
you'd like to take?
|Do take some time to explore and try some transitions. If
you just motor south until you can't proceed, it's over too quickly. There
are broad areas of butter-smooth rock to build up your speed before
attacking the slope to reach a higher level.
Looking north. The Bartlett Wash
open-riding zone is on the mesa in the distance.
||As you get further south, the slopes are steeper, and a
cliff drops away to your right side. There's no longer any room to screw
up. This area definitely wants expert skills and steady nerves, both of
which I lack.
Drop a couple of bumpy ledges, then
turn before you slide all the way down to the desert. The cairn says
"yes, there's a riding line down here."
|Eventually, you'll reach a spot where an abyss opens in
front and to your right. The shoulder gets tiny and steep. If there's a
solution to ride further south past this area, I'm not rider enough to
Just around the corner from the arrow
was as far as I dared ride. (I took a photo looking down into the abyss at
the end, but I messed up the camera settings.)
||On your way back, explore some different levels. Play
Looks fun, but it's a dead end.
|The trail is a completely different experience in the other
direction. Some transitional drops that were easy on the way south become
hikes when done uphill heading north. Find the alternate line that lets
you get up to the next level without dismounting.
Fun little whoosh-around with cliffs
above and below. That's my Superfly.
||The slickrock on TOP of the mesa is part of the open-riding
zone. This Curtis Formation stone is like marshmallows floating in the
layer below. Transitions between chunks tend to be steep -- where they
exist. You'll reach a lot of dead ends. There are no trail markers to
guide you through (March 2014). Again, no help from me -- my GPS would not
turn on. (It simply needed a hard reboot by pushing a bunch of buttons
simultaneously, but I wasn't smart enough to figure that out.)
Looking south on top of the mesa.
|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 at around GPS N 38° 42.99' W 109° 47.22'. Head down the
wash. Go through the gate, then after about 150 feet take the left fork of
the wash. About 100 yards later, spot the break in the fence with the
small Jedi sign on your right. Clamber up through the sand onto the
slickrock and begin riding south.