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Jedi Slickrock

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 the rock.

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 above?

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 ride.

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 find it.

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 around.

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.

Riding resources for this trail
One-page printable trail guide for this ride
Sorry! No GPS track or H-Res map until I go back again.
Here's a GPS track from Gene Poncelet from 2010. Gene used a different entry point (the current entry looks new), so you'll need to adapt.
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to Moab area resources
Bartlett Wash page

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