||Sidestep North, Instep,
and Sidestep South Trails
Klondike Bluffs mountain bike riding area
The Sidestep and Instep trails are alternate paths along Baby
Steps in the Klondike riding area.
Sidestep North and South are fairly technical, comparable to EKG
in difficulty. Instep is more of a dirt ribbon. The trails are useful
either as fun alternates to the most boring section of Baby
Steps South, or as a standalone technical lariat loop.
Looking southwest as Sidestep South
rounds the mountain top. Photos and ride review by Bruce
on April 11, 2016.
|For most riders, the jump-off for these trails will be the
intersection of EKG with Baby
Steps South. At this intersection, Sidestep North angles northeast and
will be the climbing route for the 7-1/2 mile lariat loop ride described
Ah, spring time in the desert.
||Sidestep North Trail
The Sidestep North trail's downhill end is at the intersection of Baby
Steps South with the EKG trail. The route is
marked on slickrock with purple paint stripes. It meanders uphill through
some fairly technical terrain, and would rank upper-intermediate in skill
Just getting started uphill on
Sidestep North. The purple paint marks the way over the sandstone.
|The trail is 0.8 miles long but has almost 200 vertical feet
of climbing over its length. The uphill end ties in to Baby Steps South on
the second singletrack meander (2.4 miles uphill from the EKG/Baby Steps
intersection). Taking this route directly to Baby Steps as an uphill route
would cut 1.6 miles (for example, when heading for UFO).
A reinforced singletrack ramp.
||Sidestep North can also add distance and fun to Baby
Steps when combined with Instep. Instep forks away from Sidestep
North about 100 feet from upper Baby Steps and descends to Baby Steps in
the valley. It rejoins right where the boring desert doubletrack turns
Grinding uphill, looking east.
|So by combining Sidestep North and Instep (instead of the
classic Baby Steps route) you skip 0.5 miles
of Baby Steps' washbottom and flat doubletrack. Instead, you substitute
1.6 miles of fun singletrack.
This is the section of Baby Steps
that you will skip via either of the Sidestep trails. One look at this
photo should make you decide you'll ride the Sidestep alternates.
||Sidestep North climbs to a ridgeline. To the west are
uninterrupted views down the Salt Wash sandstone surface towards Blue
Hills. You'll see the La Sal Mountains to the south. It's a pretty ride,
and I highly recommend it as a side-option to Baby
Looking downhill to the west.
|If your goal was to get up the mountain quickly, Sidestep
North will put you on the Baby Steps Loop at
loop mile 2.8 from Copper Ridge Road (but you put in only 1.3 miles to get
there). From this spot, UFO is only 0.9 miles
further uphill on Baby Steps.
View west from the intersection with
Baby Steps at the top of Sidestep North. The post on the ridge is the
Instep forks away from Sidestep North about 100 feet from the trail's
end on Baby Steps. While I feature it as a
descending connector in the loop ride below, Instep can also be used as a
shortcut for Baby Steps, climbing from the doubletrack in the valley up to
the second meander.
Heading out on Instep from Sidestep
North (looking west).
|Instep is 0.8 miles in length. When used to shortcut Baby
Steps -- climbing from the bottom of Instep on the Baby Steps doubletrack
to the top of Sidestep North -- it replaces 1.8 miles of Baby Steps. So it
can be another way of getting up the mountain more quickly.
The trail hugs the sideslope as it
turns to descend into the valley. We're looking southeast.
||For the loop ride below, you'll descend a meandering dirt
singletrack. The track is solid intermediate in technical requirement.
You'll drop about 100 vertical feet; vertical you earned while climbing up
the technical rock of Sidestep North.
Trail view as it meanders down from
|Instep hits Baby Steps right where the old eastbound
doubletrack diverts onto southbound singletrack. Keep straight to join
Baby Steps. After just over 1/10 mile, the singletrack will climb to a
ridgeline. Here Baby Steps turns east, while Sidestep South forks to the
Once in the valley, the trail curves
around the edge of the slope as it heads over towards Baby Steps to the
||If your plan was to extend your Baby
Steps Loop ride, head left on the Baby Steps singletrack.
To make the Sidestep lariat loop ride, fork to the right and climb
uphill on Sidestep South.
We're southbound on Baby Steps now.
The post on the ridgeline is the trail fork for Sidestep South.
||Sidestep South Trail
Sidestep South is the most technical trail of the ride. It's a bit
steeper and the rock is a little meaner, as the trail heads over a little
mountain. This section is 0.7 miles in length. It can be done either
direction -- with dirt on a short uphill when done east-to-west, and a
longer climb on undulating rock on the uphill when ridden from the west
Heading southwest up the hill on the
clockwise loop ride.
|Sidestep South can be used as a climbing route to bypass the
boring half-mile of Baby Steps doubletrack. It
can be found by pedaling up Baby Steps 1/10th mile from the EKG
intersection. But it's not a shortcut. The distance will be a hair longer
and the riding will be much more fun and technical. The eastern end is 75
feet higher, but the trail rolls up and over a rough hill, so the vertical
climbing totals 150 when done west-to-east.
Typical trail climbing eastbound on
Sidestep South from Baby Steps in the wash.
||My route uses Sidestep South as a return path to close the
loop. In this direction, Sidestep South meanders on dirt singletrack up
and around the mountain, then drops over somewhat technical rock to Baby
Steps in the wash. From there, it's a short jaunt back to the EKG/Baby
View south at the La Sal Mountains as
the trail curves on a ledge.
|The recommended lariat ride is 7.6 miles in length with
around 500 vertical feet of climbing overall. Starting at the Klondike
South trailhead, take Inside Passage, then the Klondike
doubletrack to Dino Flow at the fork. Hop on EKG
and ride some technical trail up to the Baby Steps
intersection, where you'll follow the purple paint onto Sidestep North.
There are trail maps at every intersection, and the paint trail
markings are color-coded to correspond to the map. The riding area has
multiple options, but it's hard to get lost.
Cruising across the top of the hill.
Very nice trails that yield some great new riding options, either as
shortcuts, ride extensions, or by themselves as a loop. Highly recommended
for those who like the terrain in the Klondike area.
|Riding notes, lariat loop from south
0.0 L to Inside Passage ST
N38 46.429 W109 42.764
0.4 Join DT (Klondike)
N38 46.686 W109 42.900
0.7 Stay R on DT (L = Jurassic)
N38 46.869 W109 43.064
0.9 Straight to ST (Dino Flow) as road forks
N38 46.997 W109 43.072
1.0 R on EKG N38 47.116 W109 42.981
1.2 L (R = Miner's Loop)
N38 47.169 W109 42.943
1.8 Rejoin Dino Flow, dip, R on EKG
N38 47.372 W109 43.260
2.5 Baby Steps, NE on Sidestep N
N38 47.751 W109 43.293
|2.6 Keep L (R = to Baby Steps)
N38 47.823 W109 43.254
3.3 R on Instep N38 48.130 W109 43.035
4.1 Straight on Baby Steps ST
N38 48.021 W109 42.880
4.2 R on Sidestep S
N38 47.905 W109 42.858
4.9 L down wash
N38 47.832 W109 43.171
5.1 Fork L on EKG N38 47.751 W109 43.293
5.8 Dino Flow dip, L on EKG
N38 47.372 W109 43.260
6.4 Stay R (L = Miner's Loop)
6.6 L on Dino Flow
7.6 Back at parking
||Getting there, main (southern) Klondike Bluffs
trailhead: 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 drive the road. Go 2.7 miles. Keep left at
the fork. At 2.8 miles, park your car in the broad parking area by the
fence. Begin your ride eastbound across the cattleguard, or hit the
singletrack Inside Passage in the northern corner of the parking area.
Toilet: Dinosaur Tracks parking
Camping: Not here
Information: Moab visitor's center
|Northern Klondike Trailheads: On Highway 191 8.5 miles
south of I-70 and 6.5 miles north of the southern Klondike Bluffs road
(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
Chilkoot Pass parking: 1.2 miles from the highway as the road is heading east toward the
bluff, the first parking zone is on your right. This is the Chilkoot Pass
Agate trail parking: Continue a few feet past the Chilkoot
parking. Fork right on a fainter jeep road N38 49.103 W109 46.061, as the
main road continues to the dinosaur tracks. 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.
Mega Steps parking: Keep going past Agate. At 2.0 miles, you're at the
bottom of Mega Steps at a larger parking area N38 49.179 W109 45.417.
Dinosaur Tracks parking: From 191, stay on the main Dinosaur
Tracks road. At the road fork at mile 1.2 above, keep left
on the main road toward the dinosaur tracks. About 1/2 mile further, turn
to the right into the parking area. The Dino Flow trail is up against the
mountain, to the left of the pit toilet.