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Riding the entire Ribbon route requires expert-level bike handling skills and cojones of steel, thanks to mandatory drops, steep rock rolls, boulder-filled rock gardens, and high-speed slickrock slab surfing.
However, if you're an advanced-level rider and are willing to walk a few sections, you'll still be able to enjoy 95% of the Ribbon's sweet charms! The top of the route begins with a bang, with high-speed two-wheeled surfing down a wide-open slickrock slab set on an angle, with speeds easily topping 30 or 40 miles per hour! Watch closely for the end of the slab, as most of the slab ends in a vertical rock cliff.
Flying off of it could mean death.
However, there is one rideable descent off the slab through the Toilet Bowl rock roll, but even that descent is very tricky.
Walking is always an option if you're uncomfortable. Once off the Ribbon's classic slab, the slickrock surfing continues down the bottom of a gully.
It feels like you're riding a ribbon of rock (hence the name) as the scenery blurs by at around 40mph! Watch for the singletrack splitting off of the Ribbon, as passing that departure point will lead to another sheer cliff and, again, possible death. One of the most technical sections of the entire route takes place after the Ribbon concludes—a gnarly, rocky, fall-line descent with big drops and huge chunk.
Again, walking is advisable for riders who aren't expert-level. Eventually, the Ribbon shuttle route enters the main Lunch Loops trail system, with numerous route options.
The route shown here is the most direct exit, which follows Andy's to Eagle's Tail to get to the trailhead as quickly as possible. Andy's and Eagle's Tail hold several more fun downhills.
One of the top highlights is a section of delightful swoopy singletrack that twists down a fun little gully.
However, this final section of the ride also hides several surprising climbs, including one brutal grunt up out of the canyon bottom on an exposed rock shelf.
There's a lot of climbing on this route for a so-called "shuttle" ride! Even so, the route shown here requires the least amount of climbing of any of the exits from the Ribbon.
The Ribbon has grown into a legend through Youtube videos of pros blasting down the rock at high speeds and launching off of cliffs.
For the intrepid mountain biker who isn't afraid to walk every once and a while, this is the ride of a lifetime! But be honest with yourself about your abilities, as the Ribbon spares no one.