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Pipe Dream Trail

The Pipe Dream Trail runs along the steep slope just below the cliffs on the southwest corner of the Moab Valley. It's 4.7 miles in length and can be done as an out-and-back of 9.4 miles, or as an 8.2-mile loop ride by including the Pipeline Trail. You can also make a road return via US 191 and Kane Creek Blvd.

Trail view on Pipe Dream, as the trail winds around, up and down. Looking north. Ride and photos by Bruce April 9, 2011.

Technical features are upper-intermediate, but I have to give this trail an "expert" rating because of tight turns and steep side-slopes. Bike control becomes an issue when you turn a tight blind corner with a drop-off to your side. Occasionally these tight corners have vertical rock on the inside, so you can't lean into the turn at all -- you must stay totally upright as you roll the edge of the trail.

Looking back east toward the Hidden Valley trailhead as we begin to climb the slope. Snow is approaching the La Sal Mountains.

Starting altitude is 4150 feet. You'll climb only to 4600, but up-and-down riding will bring total vertical to around 1000 feet. It's not a cushy ride. Tight turns, dips, and twisting climbs will make you earn your miles.

Looking up the Moenkopi slope to the Wingate spires. At the arrows, the trail has turned north and is beginning to gain altitude.

Some riders have confused this new trail with an older route near the bottom of the valley. This old trail follows a pipeline route. So if somebody tells you that Pipe Dream is an easy quick ride and hardly worth doing, they've probably been on the wrong trail. My map shows you both trails.

Typical spot of armored trail surface.

I rode the trail south-to-north from the Hidden Valley trailhead off US-191.  The trail is easiest to find, and simplest to navigate when started from the south end. And there's a nice parking area at the Hidden Valley trailhead.

You can reach the trail easily from city streets for a north-to-south trip. But there's no obvious trailhead or parking. There are multiple connectors from city streets to the Pipeline, and many connectors from Pipeline to Pipe Dream. To ride Pipe Dream, always fork uphill.

We're on a little shelf area, 300 feet above the valley floor, still heading north. A bit of green Moab Valley can be seen at upper right.

Some bikers want to use this trail as a dirt return to loop Moab Rim and Hidden Valley. That's a 16 mile ride with 3200 vertical. Keep in mind that the Hidden Valley trail requires a 1/3-mile rock-scramble that, guaranteed, will be one of the ugliest half-hours of your Moab visit.

The trail ducks under this boulder. Fun stuff. Rain is falling and the wind is howling.

At the Hidden Valley trailhead, you'll find three trails. At the southwest corner (by the kiosk), the southbound trail is Hidden Valley. Pipe Dream starts just a few feet away, and heads west toward the mountain. It will turn north after it climbs away from the valley.

At the northeast corner of the parking is the Pipeline trail. These aren't the droids you're looking for.

Now here's how you handle a dip through a little wash. A lot of work has gone into constructing this trail.

Much of the trail surface is armored with slab stone to prevent erosion on the steep side-slope. This makes the ride a little rougher. In a couple of wash-crossings, it was possible to drop a tire into off-angle cracks between two pavers. No biggie -- just watch where you're going.

Plenty of smooth cruiser areas between the dips and tech spots.

The trail generally gets more technical as you head north. Steeper climbs, sharper turns, steeper sideslope.

Note April 2011:  After mile 2.6 from the south end, some areas of the trail are still under construction. It's possible to ride through with a couple of 20-foot hikes through flagged zones. For now, though, I suggest you drop onto Pipeline at this point (see track file). Head back uphill to Pipe Dream a mile later. Reasons: (1) you could interrupt trailwork, (2) you could damage areas under construction, and (3) you could get hurt riding through an area that isn't ready for bikes.

This photo shows the alignment of the two trails. Pipeline is smooth and boring, running through the valley. Pipe Dream hugs the steep side-slope higher on the mountain.

Riding notes, south-to-north from Hidden Valley TH:
0.0   West on Pipe Dream N38 31.892 W109 31.039
2.6    Stay L uphill (R = to Pipeline) N38 33.028 W109 32.610
         Construction detour:
         R downhill, L at next fork
         R on Pipeline N38 33.098 W109 32.594
3.4    Stay L uphill (R = to Pipeline) N38 33.340 W109 32.888
4.2    Stay L uphill (R = Pipeline detour rejoins)
         N38 33.655 W109 33.327
         R downhill for loop return via Pipeline
4.5    R downhill (L=optional connection to Kane Crk Blvd)
         N38 33.805 W109 33.570
4.7    At street N38 33.889 W109 33.433
         Road return: R then L and ride to Kane Crk Blvd
         R on Kane Crk, R on US 191
8.9    Back at parking

Northern end of the trail.

Getting there, Hidden Valley TH:
On Main Street (US 191) in Moab, head south. At Kane Creek Blvd (McDonalds on corner), zero your odometer and drive 3.2 miles south on 191. Watch for a Hidden Valley Trailhead sign on your right. Follow this road 1/2 mile to the trailhead parking. The Pipe Dream trail is in the southwest corner of the parking area.

In the map at right, the Pipe Dream trail is shown in green.

Bathrooms:  Moab Rim TH (loop)
Camping: Multiple campgrounds, not at trailhead
Water: none at trailhead
Bike services: many, see link below

Riding Resources for Porcupine Rim:
  Single-page riding guide
  GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
      GPX all area trails    Pipe Dream only    w Construction Detour
      Loop ride with Moab Rim and Hidden Valley (fool!)
  Topo maps for printing:    Pipe Dream      Include Moab Rim
  Lodging, camping, shops:
      Links to Moab area resources