Amasa Back: Epic Double Loop

Moab

An incredible double loop covering several of the best mountain bike trails in the world!

Mountain Biking Extreme

Distance
30 km
Ascent
858 m
Descent
858 m
Duration
2-3 hrs
Low Point
1.2 km
High Point
1.5 km
Gradient
Amasa Back: Epic Double Loop Map

The Amasa Back trail system is home to several fantastic stretches of mountain bike trails, plus the iconic Cliffhanger/Amasa Back 4x4 road that once served as one of Moab's classic mountain bike rides. Today, when most people head to this zone to ride, their sights are set on Captain Ahab—now widely acclaimed as one of the top mountain bike rides in the world.

Description

While Captain Ahab is an absolutely magical loop, at just 8.5 miles, including the pedal to access it, it's a fairly short ride. If you're heading to this zone and you're seeking a bit more mileage, try this double loop on for size instead.

This double loop ride begins with Captain Ahab, but then it heads back up the mountain and runs all the way out to Pothole Arch before descending the uber-technical and ultra-exposed Rockstacker and Jackson's trails. This is a high-value ride that links a whole slew of Moab's most fantastic mountain bike trails into a truly epic day out!

Captain Ahab

First up is Captain Ahab, the crown jewel of the Amasa Back Trail System. But Captain Ahab wouldn't be nearly as excellent without the sweet climb to get to the top, which now takes place almost entirely on the non-motorized Hymasa trail. For a climbing route, this trail is an absolute gem. While it gains some serious vertical and features big up-and-over moves and slickrock slab traverses, this route is 100% rideable uphill, making it one of the most entertaining climbs ever. As you pedal up the slickrock, be sure to look up from your front tire and soak in the epic views of this incredible zone!

Once at the top, Captain Ahab begins to drop immediately through challenging rock rolls and never-ending features. The top portion of Ahab is mostly a descent, but it's quite pedally, with short climbs mixed in. Take advantage of the slow pace and enjoy the views from the top of this ridge, because soon you'll be dropping much faster.

Once Ahab drops into its primary descent, the ride is fast and furious! Hugging the rim of a cliff, this trail passes through some extremely exposed zones, where a fall will most definitely be fatal.

Above and beyond the sheer exposure, the trail itself is both well-built and highly-technical. However, riders can choose to make the ride more or less technical depending on their abilities and the ride quality they desire. Every rock feature can be rolled without getting air, but expert-level riders can opt for B-lines that open up 5 to 10-foot rock drops, gaps, and all other forms of gnar. The variety of options built into this trail shows off the next-level trail building skills. Whereas most builders might just envision one line or one type of rider, the builders of Ahab have designed it to serve a vast array of abilities. That said, even the easiest of lines are worthy of a black diamond rating.

Rockstacker to Jackson's

At the bottom of Captain Ahab, head back up Hymasa and then connect to Amasa Back to head out to Pothole Arch. Once done pedaling through the beautiful slickrock to reach Pothole Arch, turn around, and then head back to the top of Rockstacker.

It's about to get real!

Rockstacker and Jackson's are two of the most technical, high consequence mountain bike trails in Moab--and by extension, the world. While an advanced-level rider can brave these trails if they're willing to walk some sections, riding this entire loop requires expert-level skills.

Rockstacker is home to some massive ledge drops that require absolute control to prevent rocketing off the side of a massive cliff. Huge rock gardens and features are the name of the game here. This is expert-only terrain!

Once on Jackson's the obstacles are still sizeable black-diamond features, but gone are the huge ledge drops. However, if anything Jackson's is even more exposed than Rockstacker, with the narrow singletrack hugging the top of a humungous cliff that drops straight down to the Colorado River below. If you're up to the technical challenge, the views from this trail are second to none!

Jackson's works its way down the ridge side, and one final uber-technical fall line plunge (reminiscent of Rockstacker) drops riders down to flatter ground.

The final section of Jackson's circles around a small inlet of the Colorado River. In the spring or early summer when the water level is high, this section can be impassable. If you do choose to ride Jackson's in the spring, your choices include bushwacking through dense undergrowth or fording through murky water with a muddy bottom that could be chest deep (or worse). For that reason, Jackson's is recommended in the fall.

Difficulty

Extreme

Very steep, difficult, narrow singletrack with widely variable and unpredictable trail conditions. Unavoidable obstacles could be 15in/38cm tall or greater, and unavoidable obstacles with serious consequences are likely to be present. Obstacles could include big rocks, difficult root sections, drops, jumps, sharp switchbacks, and more. Ideal for expert-level riders.

Extreme Exposure

4 out of 4

Some trail sections are extremely exposed where falling will almost certainly result in serious injury or death.

Remoteness

4 out of 4

In the high mountains or remote conditions, all individuals must be completely autonomous in every situation.

Best time to visit

March, April, September, October, November

Features

  • Technical
  • Picturesque
  • Singletrack
  • Drops
  • Jumps
  • Rock Rolls
  • Rock Slabs
  • Rock Gardens

Similar routes nearby

Guidebooks in this area