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North 40  (includes Maverick)

The North 40 mountain bike trail is located within the Bar M loop just north of Moab. It's part of the Brand Trails mountain bike trail complex. North 40 forms a loop (with an optional short connector that converts to loop to figure-8) that's 4.2 miles long. The ride is early-intermediate technical. Of the rides in the area, it's harder than Lazy-EZ but much easier than Deadmans or Bar B.

View south from early in the clockwise North 40 ride, looking at the line of Wingate sandstone cliffs along US 191. Ride description and photos by Bruce, based on a ride 3/24/12.

The trailhead is across from the Lazy-EZ loop trail just east of the main parking area. (Note: this refers to the new cyclist parking area, not the restaurant parking strip you pass on the way.) To reach the trail, pedal east 0.2 miles and turn left at the sign.

Trailhead of North 40, straight across from Lazy-EZ. We're looking straight north.

The biking trail is 90% dirt singletrack, with occasional slickrock and periodic rock humps. I found it to be a dab-free cruiser. There's nothing hairy, so experienced beginners could try this ride without fear. But I'd encourage beginners to do Lazy-EZ first, because North 40 is relatively narrow with many rock-lined spots.

One of the few continuous slickrock spots on the ride. The valley to the northwest is the route of Highway 313 to Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands.

The trail rapidly climbs up to a ridge. There's only about 50 feet of absolute elevation change. Your total climbing will be 200 feet. This is a ride you can do quickly as a late-afternoon arrival ride, morning warmup, or a legs-dead-quickie to finish your day.

View west toward the cliffs. The dark rough layer on the left just above the grass is Moenkopi mudstone. The skirts are Chinle formation, and the cliffs are Wingate sandstone.

From the ridge, there are nice views of the cliffs to the west of Highway 191. Moenkopi skirts give way to the banded Chinle formation, topped by vertical cliffs of the Wingate formation. Morning is the best time for seeing the views. (By afternoon, the cliffs are just dark shadows.)

Side-slope hugging singletrack. Here the trail is narrow and lined with threatening rocks. Bobbling beginners will bang pedals -- not a good trail for those who are just learning to ride clipless.

The trail just opened in late winter 2012. In late March, most of the trail was nicely packed. A couple of spots still need more bike tires or a little berming work to ride well. There were two spots requiring a quick turn in dirt where the surface simply gave way. These will probably be worked-in by the time you ride.

On top of the ridge, the trail becomes more technical with humps of broken sandstone to bump over.

While most of the trail is sit-and-crank, there are some out-of-the-saddle spots. Make sure any beginners riding with you have experience at standing on the pedals while the bike moves underneath them.

The most technical areas of the ride are on the small loop at the top of the figure-eight. Beginners can use the figure-eight connector to double back for an easier ride.

The trail can be done either direction. There's a short cross-over at the north end that can convert the loop to a figure-eight. If riding clockwise, the crossover is at mile 1.1. Counterclockwise, it's at 2.1.

View into Seven Mile Canyon from the east side of the loop.

The rocky areas are marked with baby-blue paint spots on the rock. I found the route very easy to follow, with never any doubt about where to steer the bike.

Spots where beginners need to know how to get off the saddle. Or know how to hike through the tougher spots.

Maverick option

The Maverick Trail is a 0.5-mile alternate route on the eastern side of North 40. It's one-way from north to south. When riding clockwise, you find the trail fork at mile 3.4 miles from the North 40 trailhead (mile 3.6 from the parking lot). Note: if you take Maverick, you'll bypass the section of North 40 containing the O-to-40 connector. See below.

Looking west as Maverick splits off North 40.

Maverick is new in late fall 2012. It's a twisting high-speed dirt ribbon. It rejoins North 40 about 1/10 mile from the loop split.

Typical trail surface on Maverick. We're looking west. The building at mid-right is the Bar M restaurant.

At the far east side just 0.1 miles south of the Maverick fork, there's a fork that connects to the east side of the Bar M loop. It joins right at the beginning of the Circle O. It's at 3.5 miles when riding clockwise (0.7 miles counterclockwise). This fork will be popular among riders looking for a long ride. Rather than returning to the North 40 trailhead, you'll zip directly to the Circle O.

Southbound when riding clockwise, we see the La Sal mountains in the morning haze.

Longer early-intermediate or beginner rides could include:
North 40 plus Circle O. From North 40 proceed to Circle O with a return via Bar M. (Rockin A is too tough for most intermediates in the north-to-south direction.)
Bow-tie shaped ride with Lazy-EZ and North 40.

Fun with rocks. I'm in the shadow of one overhand, looking to where the trail ducks under the next.

Tougher rides:
A satisfying ride for strong intermediates or advanced riders would be to finish North 40, then complete a loop via Circle O, Rockin A, Bar B, Deadmans Ridge, then EZ. The ride below is 12 miles, but it can be a lot longer if you (1) complete North 40 and (2) Do the entire Bar B loop before connecting to Deadmans.

This is the beginning of the Circle O slickrock, for those who want to do the clockwise 12-mile loop.

Circle O is a relatively easy 100% slickrock ride. Pretend you're playing Mario Cart and the stain strip is how you get fuel, win fruit or points, whatever. After three miles on the Circle O, you'll come to the junction with Rockin A.

Follow the brown dribble through Circle O and Rockin A. This is Circle O -- significantly easier than Rockin A in the photo below.

Rockin A is challenging in the north-to-south direction. In addition to the up-and-down technical features which are much tougher in that direction, you'll gain 150 vertical feet over the 1.7 miles.

Rockin A will give you a lot of steep ledges and technical challenges to bump over when riding clockwise.

Rockin A now has three types of marking: the traditional red A on a rocker (based on a cattle brand), a suggested riding stripe of stain, and yellow paint stripes. Sometimes these will diverge slightly, but you can't get lost.

View of the La Sals from near the southern end of Rockin A.

Rockin A ends at the Bar B, just past the southern end of the Bar M loop. If you intend to add the Bar B, turn left. For the 12-mile version, go straight and uphill on the Bar B singletrack. Keep right at the first fork 0.1 mile later (left is the return from the Bar B loop). After another 0.1 mile, you'll reach junction with Deadmans Ridge. Again, keep right. (Left is the southbound half of Deadmans, and descends to the Old 191 paved trail.)

Junction of Rockin A with Bar B. To include Bar B, don't go uphill here; go on the broad trail to the right instead. This trail in the photo is for the shorter 12-mile option.

Deadman's Ridge is a fun upper-intermediate to advanced-tech ride. As you reach the end, select either Lazy (to your right) or EZ (to your left) to head back to the trailhead.

Smoother section on Deadman's Ridge. Catch your breath. More good stuff coming up.

Clockwise North 40 loop ride:
0.0   From valley parking, east on DT
        N38 39.106 W109 40.111
0.2   L on North 40 ST
        N38 39.200 W109 39.995
0.3   Keep L  for clockwise ride
        N38 39.263 W109 40.013
1.3   Keep L (R = crossover)
        N38 39.768 W109 40.608
2.3   Keep L (R = crossover)
        N38 39.774 W109 40.584
3.6   Keep L (R = Maverick)
        N38 39.630 W109 40.017
3.7   Keep R (L = to Bar M, Circle O)
        N38 39.568 W109 39.975
        Keep R again at 3.8
4.3   Keep L (R = Maverick return)
        N38 39.403 W109 40.028
4.4   L (loop finished)
        N38 39.263 W109 40.013
4.5   L on DT
        N38 39.106 W109 40.111
4.6   Back at parking
Clockwise loop North 40, Circle O, Rockin A, Deadmans (12 miles):
0.0   From valley parking, east on DT
        N38 39.106 W109 40.111
0.2   L on North 40 ST
        N38 39.200 W109 39.995
0.3   Keep L  for clockwise ride
        N38 39.263 W109 40.013
1.3   Keep L (R = crossover)
        N38 39.768 W109 40.608
2.3   Keep L (R = crossover)
        N38 39.774 W109 40.584
3.6   Keep L (R = Maverick)
        N38 39.630 W109 40.017
3.7   L and L on O-to-40 connector
        N38 39.568 W109 39.975
3.9   Cross Bar M N38 39.641 W109 39.861
4.1   L onto slickrock Circle O
        N38 39.713 W109 39.689
6.7   Continue to Rockin A (keep L)
        N38 39.166 W109 38.907
8.5   Cross over to climb Bar B ST
        N38 38.272 W109 38.489
8.6   Keep R on Connector
        N38 38.261 W109 38.592
8.7   Keep R on Deadman's
        N38 38.253 W109 38.683
10.4 L onto EZ
        N38 38.573 W109 39.279
10.6 Keep R (north)
        N38 38.516 W109 39.403
11.8 L for TH (R = Lazy)
        N38 39.166 W109 39.856
11.9 L on DT downhill
        N38 39.187 W109 39.989
12.0 Back at parking

Getting there:
From I-70, drive south on US-191 for 22 miles. From Moab, drive 7 miles north from the Colorado River on 191. When you see the Gemini Bridges parking area on the west side of 191 (on the side with the cliffs), look for the Bar M gravel entry road on the opposite side (east, away from the cliffs). Turn onto the gravel road and immediately go right. Drive past the first restaurant parking area. Continue south to the spot where the fence separates the road from the paved bike trail and turn 90 degrees left. Descend to the new parking spot in the valley. Begin the ride by pedaling 0.2 miles east and find the North 40 trailhead on the left.

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
      North 40 only   Maverick only
      North 40 - Circle O - Rockin A - Deadmans Loop (12 mi)
      Complete North 40 then loop 14 mi
      GPX file all Moab Brand area trails
Topo including all Brand Trails:  View
Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Moab area resources

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