||Jimmy Keen Singletrack
The Jimmy Keen Trail is a meandering singletrack in the La Sal
Mountains east of Moab. It's 7.7 miles long and requires at least
upper-intermediate technical skills. Because of the altitude, this trail's
season is mid-June to mid-October. Most riders will use this trail as an
alternative route for the Whole Enchilada
La Sal Loop road closure information
Near the bottom of Jimmy Keen, we're
looking northeast at the snow-covered peaks of the La Sals. Photos and
review by Bruce on November 11, 2014.
|At the top, Jimmy Keen starts at the highest point of the
paved La Sal Loop road at 8300 feet elevation. The trail drops away from the parking turnout for
the Castle Valley viewpoint in the National Forest on
the western slope of the La Sals.
If you're coming downhill from the Hazard County
trail, you can either turn right at the pavement and go 1/10 mile to the
viewpoint, or go straight across and take Kokopelli 1/10 mile to where the
Approaching the parking pullout from
the south. It's a little faster to come up the loop road from the south.
But it's a long car trip either way.
|Jimmy vs. Kokopelli!
This trail is a nice stand-alone ride, but its major use will be as an
alternative descending route while riding the Whole
Enchilada. Your choice is 1.8 miles of dirt road on Kokopelli to reach
the Upper Porcupine Singletrack (UPS), or 7.7
miles of fun singletrack on Jimmy Keen. If your goal is to get back to
town as quickly as possible, take Kokopelli. If you came to Moab to ride
your bike, go with Jimmy.
This is NOT Jimmy Keen. We're looking
downhill on the soft rutted Kokopelli dirt road.
||Although you might expect fir and aspen at this altitude,
the trail will surprise you. The singletrack twists through groves of
scrub oak and broad meadows of low sage. Lower down, there are stands of
pinion and juniper.
Looking west from the viewpoint. The
trail-map is on the post, and the trail heads to the left from the sign.
|The trail lies 100% on Forest Service land. Both
professional trail crews and local volunteers worked on the route through
summer 2014, with the trail open and ready to ride by the end of October.
Approaching a bridge over a little
ravine. The morning sun hasn't yet softened the surface.
If you go in the off-season, ride ONLY when the trail is frozen!
||From the Loop Road, the trail meanders generally downhill
and south. The terrrain here is low sage (with wildflowers in summer) and
groves of gambel oak.
You'll encounter quite a few fences, all with ride-over
cattle-extruders. Eight, ten, twelve? I quit counting. This area is summer
range for beef.
Most ride-overs are surrounded by a
bit of cattle-churn. Pedaling south.
|One particular zone, about two miles in, had seen a wealth
of future cheeseburgers tromping along the trail since the last rainstorm.
Hopefully, degradation of the trail by cattle won't be an ongoing issue.
My ride was a frigid morning in mid-November, so the hoof-prints were
frozen solid. The bumpy zones were less than 1/4 mile in all.
Yeah, this is the trail. Keep
pedaling. It's not that bad, and soon you'll be on smooth dirt again.
||The trail is constantly turning as it skirts groves of oak.
There will be occasional rollover rocks. After descending gradually for a
couple of miles, the trail climbs back up a bit. In descending 550
vertical feet, you'll climb 350. But it's all gradual.
Heading southwest as the trail
|The open areas give you a wide view over the sandstone
cliffs and canyons to the west. The area at the southern end is Jimmy Keen
||To the east, from north to south, are the peaks of the La
Sal Mountains. After crossing Jimmy Keen Flat the trail turns west and
View southeast as we regain a little
|As the trail turns back west and north, the trail encounters
pinion pine and juniper.
||Although I rode this trail in November, you're not likely to
do the same. 2014 saw a very dry October, which limited the amount of
snow. After a hard-freeze night, I started early in the day and got off
the trail before the sun could soften the surface. If the drop-in to Jimmy
Keen is squishy, please take Kokopelli so you don't rut up the singletrack.
Following yesterday's tire tracks.
Today the snow is crispy-crunchy solid.
|I understand that the Forest Service plans to add a few more
bridges. In the meantime, enjoy plunging through a couple of ravines.
Parking the Superfly for perspective,
before going back and railing the dip.
||Many of the turns already have nice berms. But it's not
really a DH trail. The slope is mild, the terrain goes up and down, and
the twists are many.
One of several lovely high-speed
|The trail ends at the boundary between National Forest and
BLM land at 7750 feet elevation. The broad doubletrack is the Kokopelli Trail. Right is back to
the top; left takes you down to the Sand Flats Road.
Straight across from you is the UPS (Upper
Porcupine Singletrack) trail.
Looking northwest from the end of
Jimmy Keen, the UPS is right across the road.
||If you're doing the Whole Enchilada, cross Kokopelli to UPS.
If you'll be heading back to your car on the La Sal Loop road, at least
check out the UPS trail. You can go down-and-back, or circle back via the
Sand Flats Road and Kokopelli (see the big map).
About 100 yards up UPS from Jimmy
Keen, we're at the cliff edges. Hey, if you don't do UPS now that you're
here, it would be tragic.
|A loop down Jimmy Keen and up Kokopelli
is just under 10
miles (1000 vertical feet of climbing). A loop with UPS and back up Kokopelli is around 15. But I'm not a
fan of riding the Sand Flats Road, and the upper part of Kokopelli isn't a
lot of fun to climb. I'd suggest you backtrack on UPS and Jimmy. It's
worth the extra miles.
Heading back uphill on Jimmy Keen.
||Getting there, from the south (about 25 miles):
On Moab's Main Street, head south on
US-191. Zero your odometer at Center Street Center Street and drive 8.2
miles. Turn left toward Ken's Lake - La Sal Loop Road. At the T
intersection 1/2 mile later, turn right. Climb uphill on the paved La Sal
Loop Road. Around mile 25, just after passing a connection to Sand Flats
Road on your left, you'll see a small doubletrack on the left with a sign
"Kokopelli Trail." You're now at the top of the road. 1/10 mile
later, pull left into the parking loop. The trail is on the west side.
From the north (about 33 miles): At the Colorado River (2.4 miles
north of Center Street in Moab), turn east on highway 128. Drive along the
Colorado for 15 miles. Turn right on the paved Castle Valley - La Sal Loop
road. Zero your trip odometer. At mile 10.5, turn right (south) on the
La Sal Loop Road. Drive another 6 miles to the viewpoint on the right side
of the road.