||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
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
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
|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
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
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
R downhill, L at next
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
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