Adventure 5 Mountain Biking the Slickrock Trail

We got going early and arrived at the slickrock railhead at 8 AM. It was windy and there was only one other party in the parking lot, a guide and a woman. We all started out together. As we biked we played leapfrog. The client was better at technical riding than I was, but Paul and I were in better shape. Some of the downhills were so steep that I couldn't stop the bike. The tires would just skid along down the slope

Paul Doherty on the Slickrock Trail
Paul Doherty rides the Slickrock Trail.

Paul was a bolder rider than I was and paid for his boldness with a few falls.

Paul Morgan rides the Slickrock Trail

The scenery was spectacular. The rock was superb. It had high friction and wonderful layering. The crossbedding of the layers showed that the rock had once been sand dunes.

We took the side trails to optional viewpoints. The side trails were more difficult than the main trail. We came across a yellow word "Danger" spelled out on the rock just before coming to a cliff edge or a deep pothole.

Paul Morgan optional extension of Slickrock Trail
Paul Morgan on the optional extension to the Slickrock Trail.

Paul Doherty Optional Extension Slickrock Trail
Paul Doherty on the optional extension to the Slickrock Trail.

The long gentle rolling terrain was great fun. And as the day went on I got better and bolder. But boldness has its price and as I rode along a steep side slope my knobby California mud-tires slipped off the slickrock and dumped me onto the rock. So I have some rock rash to prove that I rode the slickrock trail.

Paul Doherty falls on the slickrock trail
My knobby tires slide down the steep slickrock side slope.

Paul Doherty rides the slickrock trail
I'm back up and riding with some slickrock road rash.

The wind was fierce if you were walking along holding your bike the wind gusts would lift your bike off the ground! The gusts were over 40 mph. They kept us cool in the hot Utah sun, but they added a challenge to riding next to steep cliffs.

Paul Morgan on a motorcycle on the slickrock trail
Paul Morgan rides a motorcycle on the slickrock trail.

 We were back a the car at 1 PM. There were some off road motorcyclists at the parking lot who offered Paul a chance to ride the slickrock. He took them up on their offer and went out for a motorized ride. When he returned he noted that riding a motorbike on the slickrock trail was a definite physical challenge, Oh, he also had a smile on his face.

We went on to other adventures hiking in the Fisher Towers and riding near Sedona but riding the slickrock trail was definitely the highlight of this road trip.


Scientific Explorations with Paul Doherty


11 October 2005