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Jurassic Trail

The Jurassic Trail is a smooth singletrack on the west side of the Klondike Bluffs riding area. There's very little elevation change over the ride, as it skirts the edge of the mesa to the west of the Copper Ridge road. The trail is suitable for beginners. There's little elevation change on the trail. There are no stiff climbs and nothing tricky.

View northbound along the Jurassic Trail as the ribbon of singletrack twists among boulders that have fallen from the mesa above. Photos and review by Bruce on October 24, 2013.

The views aren't as boring as you might expect. The scenery changes quickly because you're zooming right along. The trail is 3.2 miles in length but is a very quick ride. To get to Jurassic, you'll need to connect via other trails, so your minimum out-and-back ride from the north would be 10.2 miles and from the south 7.6 miles.

Connection of Jurassic at the north end. The trail starts on the connecting trail that runs from southern Jasper to the Copper Ridge Road.

Combining Jurassic with Agate and Jasper creates a 5.2-mile route along the west side of the valley. If you add Dino Flow on the east side, it makes a nice easy 11-mile loop. More on this option later!

View southbound as we start Jurassic.

Jurassic begins on a connector from the south end of the Jasper Loop to Copper Ridge. This connector hits Copper Ridge just north of the bottom end of Little Salty. If your ride has taken you down Little Salty, take the connector to Jurassic for the next leg of your ride instead of riding Copper Ridge road.

Cruising along, we see the La Sal mountains in the distance. The Salt Wash sandstone slopes of Baby Steps are visible to the left.

In the middle of Jurassic, a connector heads east to Copper Ridge at the bottom of southern Baby Steps. This connector creates more singletrack loop ride opportunities -- you can skip the flat doubletrack of Copper Ridge road and use Jurassic instead. For example, you can ride north from the parking area on the southern half of Jurassic and connect to Baby Steps as a change-up from the classic Baby Steps loop ride.

The trail hugs the edge of the skirts of Brushy Basin clay and shale. The boulders are cap-rock of Buckhorn Conglomerate. We're looking north.

In October 2013, the trail base was butter-smooth and high-speed. Riding south-to-north, the 3.2 miles of Jurassic took only 18 minutes. The entire 4.8 miles from the junction with Klondike Bluffs, continuing on via West Jasper, Midline, then West Agate to the parking area was 29 minutes. And I wasn't trying to hurry. It's a real cruiser.

Heading southbound at 12 mph. Nothing tricky here, just smooth singletrack.

The trail hugs the edge of the mesa at the base of the Brushy Basin member of the Morrison Formation. This colorful clay was deposited in a tidal area about 150 million years ago at the very end of -- can you guess? -- the Jurassic Era. The Buckhorn Conglomerate at the top of the bluff is the start of Cretaceous deposits.

At the southern end, the trail detours into a canyon to hug the edge of the shale. We're looking north near the northern end of this bend in the trail. See the map.

In one afternoon, I test-rode two different loops using the west-side singletrack -- one ride in each direction. I started from the small parking nook at the top of the Agate Loop. To get there, you'd take the Northern Klondike Trails road (a few miles north of the airport).

Of course, you can do either loop by riding north from the southern trailhead. It's only 0.6 miles via Inside Passage and Klondike to the south end of Jurassic.

View west. At the near-horizon, we'll cross a wash and start coming back east.

 

My first ride was a quick zip south on West Agate then Midline then Jasper then Jurassic. Then I turned north on Klondike, crossed the wash and took Dino Flow to EKG. I enjoyed the length of EKG, then dropped down Mega Steps at the north end for an 11-mile loop with 1200 vertical feet of climbing.

Almost done with Jurassic southbound. We're looking at the Entrada sandstone on the skyline in the Klondike Bluffs.

The second loop I'll call "The Klondike Big Easy." I took the doubletrack back to the Dinosaur tracks road and zoomed to the Dino Tracks parking to catch Dino Flow southbound. At the end of Dino Flow, I continued south on Klondike 0.2 miles, then forked hard left northbound on Jurassic. I retraced the Jurassic - West Jasper - Midline - West Agate singletrack back to parking. This loop tallied 11.8 miles in 75 minutes with only about 400 feet of total climbing.

Threading the needle through boulders of conglomerate.

Bottom line:  Very much worth doing for riders of any ability level. For beginning riders it's much easier than Dino Flow, with nothing to make a newbie nervous. It's a great trail for youngsters, assuming they've got the leg to pedal for a while.

For experts, it's a high-speed "shake out the legs" recovery cruise at the end of the day, or a zip-line connector to your next challenge.

Riding the Big Easy Klondike loop, we're heading southbound on Dino Flow.

Riding notes, Big Easy Klondike Loop w Dino Flow:
0.0   From Agate's northern end, northwest on doubletrack
        N38 49.095 W109 45.631
0.5   Hard left on Dino Tracks dirt road
        N38 49.115 W109 46.048
1.4   R into parking N38 49.804 W109 45.874
1.5   Find ST on southeast corner of parking
        South on Dino Flow N38 49.799 W109 45.786
1.6   Keep R N38 49.766 W109 45.714
        (L = Homer)
2.1   Keep R N38 49.471 W109 45.432
        (L = Nome)
2.4   Veer L uphill, then R to stay on Dino Flow
        N38 49.351 W109 45.181
        (Cross Mega Steps)
3.4   Cross Baby Steps North
        N38 48.899 W109 44.717
4.6   Cross Little Salty N38 48.248 W109 44.148
5.7   Cross Baby Steps South
        N38 47.591 W109 43.552
6.2   Keep R as EKG joins and splits uphill
        N38 47.375 W109 43.262
6.7   EKG joins, keep R
        N38 47.119 W109 42.984
6.9   Straight onto southbound Klondike Bluffs DT
        N38 46.997 W109 43.072
7.0   Hard L onto northbound Jurassic
        N38 46.870 W109 43.064
8.6   Keep L (R = connect to Baby Steps)
        N38 47.440 W109 43.718
9.9   Fork L (R = to Copper Ridge near Little Salty)
        N38 48.201 W109 44.503
10.0 L on Jasper West N38 48.200 W109 44.551
10.8 L on Midline N38 48.589 W109 44.902
        (straight = Baby Steps N, R = Jasper East)
11.1 L on Agate West N38 48.763 W109 45.089
        (straight = Midline, R = Agate East)
11.8 Back at parking
Overview of Big Easy Klondike loop. From the north end, the ride is a quick 11.8 miles.

From the southern (Klondike Bluffs Road) parking, the loop will be 13 miles. Just take Inside Passage to the Klondike doubletrack, then continue another 0.2 miles before forking left onto Jurassic. Keep left at all intersections, including at the exit out the gate at the Agate trailhead. Take the doubletrack out to the Dino Tracks road and turn right. At the Dino Tracks parking, find Dino Flow southbound and stay on Dino Flow until you rejoin the Klondike Bluffs road.

Riding notes, counterclockwise with EKG:
0.0   From Agate's northern end, south on West Agate
        N38 49.095 W109 45.631
0.8   R on Midline  N38 48.763 W109 45.089
        (L = Midline, straight = Agate East)
1.1   R on Jasper West (L = Jasper East)
        N38 48.589 W109 44.902
1.9   R on connector (straight = Jasper East)
        N38 48.200 W109 44.551
2.0   R on Jurassic  N38 48.201 W109 44.503

3.3   R to stay on Jurassic N38 47.440 W109 43.718
4.9   L on Klondike Bluffs DT
N38 46.870 W109 43.064
5.0   Straight onto Dino Flow
N38 46.997 W109 43.072
        (L = Copper Ridge DT, R = Klondike DT)
5.2   R on EKG (L = continue Dino Flow)
       
N38 47.119 W109 42.984
6.0   Join Dino, cross wash, fork R for EKG
        N38 47.369 W109 43.253
6.6   Keep straight, cross Baby Steps South
        N38 47.743 W109 43.286
8.4   Cross Little Salty N38 48.598 W109 43.910
9.7   R to join Baby Steps N, then L on EKG
        N38 48.954 W109 44.620
10.7 L downhill on Mega Steps
        N38 49.420 W109 45.038
        (Straight = Alaska, R = Mega Steps up)
10.9 Keep on Mega Steps straight westbound
        N38 49.353 W109 45.171
        (Join and split off from Dino Flow)
11.2 Mega Steps parking, R on DT
       N38 49.179 W109 45.412
11.4 Back at Agate parking

Getting there, Agate Northern Klondike TH:  On Highway 191 8.5 miles south of I-70 and 6.5 miles north of the southern Klondike Bluffs road (and about 5 miles north of the airport), watch for a "Northern Klondike" sign at N38 49.504 W109 46.893. Turn east (toward the sandstone bluff). Keep to the right as the road winds south around a small hill. 1.2 miles from the highway as the road is heading east toward the bluff, fork right on a fainter jeep road N38 49.103 W109 46.061, as the main road continues to the dinosaur tracks. (Park here if the road is in bad shape.) At mile 1.6, you'll come to the TH for the Jasper and Agate loops (N38 49.087 W109 45.625) on your right. (If you continuye on, you'll arrive at a larger parking area N38 49.179 W109 45.417 at the bottom of Mega Steps.)

Getting there, Klondike TH: Starting at the Colorado River, drive 15 miles north from Moab. Look for a turnout with parking on the right and a sign for Klondike Bluffs Road. There will usually be cars parked there (GPS N 38 44.452' W 109 44.037'). For a longer ride, park here and ride up the road.  Most cyclists will choose to go through the gate and drive 2.7 miles. Keep left at the fork. At 2.8 miles, park your car in the broad parking area by the fence. Go eastbound across the cattleguard for the Klondike trail, or find the singletrack Inside Passage at the north corner of the fence.

Toilets:  Chilkoot Pass parking, Dino Tracks parking.
No water. No camping in this area.

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide Big Easy Loop w Dino Flow
Guide for loop with EKG

GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
   GPX Klondike area trails 
   Jurassic only   West Agate/Jasper plus Jurassic
   Big Easy Klondike Loop with Dino Flow
   Tougher Jurassic loop with EKG

High-res topo for printing:  View Klondike area 
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Moab area resources

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