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Klondike Bluffs Trail

The Klondike Bluffs Trail is a modest climb, but isn't too technically difficult. It's a good trail for someone who's in good shape, but is inexperienced in mountain biking. It makes an excellent first "slickrock adventure." Round trip, it's 9.6 miles on the bike and 1 mile on foot (bikes aren't allowed off-road in Arches National Park, so you hike the last half mile).

Chad Hunter hits the end of the hiking trail in Arches National Park. Photo April 18, 1999 by Bruce.

If you want to stay away from ATVs and jeeps, there are bicycle-only singletrack routes in this riding area. For example, you can bypass the first half-mile of Klondike's doubletrack by using the Inside Passage singletrack. Other nice rides that interconnect with Klondike Bluffs (such as Baby Steps) are described on the Klondike Bluffs trail system page.

Dinosaur footprints are found in newly exposed areas of Entrada sandstone. April 18, 1999 by Bruce.

Highlights of the Klondike Bluffs ride include dinosaur footprints, fun and not-too-tough rock to practice on, and a fabulous view of Klondike Bluffs at the end of the ride.

The trail climbs 800 feet in four miles. Give yourself about three hours, including sightseeing.

Chad heads up a slickrock ramp. The riding surface here is Entrada sandstone. The boulders of Salt Wash sandstone have dropped down from the top of the brown dirt layer (Curtis Formation). These rocks are from the Jurassic Period.

The trail begins with just over a mile on modestly smooth double-track with a short sand dig as you cross the wash. At mile 0.5 you'll pass the reconnection of Inside Passage, Jurassic at 0.7, and Dino Flow at 0.9.  After turning uphill it covers 2-1/2 miles on slickrock (mostly fairly smooth Entrada sandstone). You'll find a connector to Baby Steps and UFO here. Then there's a mile more on rocky road. At the end of the road is a short section of single-track that climbs to the border of Arches National Park.

Dominic Bria has great memories of this trail, including three tire changes and a derailer adjustment. Photo April 18, 1999 Bruce Argyle

If you want a longer ride, you can start at the highway. (Our trail description assumes you'll drive the first 2.8 miles of graded road, then unload your bikes at the gate to the double-track trail.) Or, ride uphill via the Baby Steps trail. This adds a few extra miles, and requires advanced skills.

Just before the end of the trail, the abandoned Brontosaur copper mine can be reached via a short spur. It's worth a look. (Watch for a spur on the right as you head east uphill and are approaching the badland hills.)

Climbing up the trail. The white stripes show the trail route. You'll share this route with jeeps.

At the end of the bike trail, a 1/2-mile foot trail takes you to a breath-taking view of the Klondike Bluffs of Arches National Park. The fractures in the rock that created these fins were created by thickening of the salt dome found deep underground. As the salt "flowed" under heat and pressure to thicken in this area, the overlying rock was pushed up into a curve, developing multiple fracture lines as it bent.

Dominic heads up the slickrock.

Klondike Bluffs is a starting point for riders headed for Jurassic, Baby Steps, EKG, Little Salty, Dino Flow, and Mega Steps, and more. These trails can be combined with Klondike Bluffs into many ride variations.

This is what you came here for. View from the top looking into Arches National Park. The arches of the park are formed of Entrada sandstone, formed from sand dunes like the Navajo, but with finer texture. Photo April 18, 1999.

Getting there: Starting at the Colorado River, drive 15 miles north from Moab. Look for a turnout on the right. There will usually be cars parked there. Go through the gate and drive 2.7 miles. Keep left at the fork. At 2.8 miles, park your car at the gate and begin your ride.

Riding resources:
One-page printable riding guide
GPS Track Files:
     Klondike Bluffs   Baby Steps Loop   Baby to Klondike
     GPX multi-track file of all Klondike area trails
Topo map of this trail:  View   
Area map, including Baby Steps:   View Klondike area
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to Moab area resources

Klondike Cliffs Trail Map

Copyright 1999 Mad Scientist Software Inc
Updated 2011.