Just 19 miles northwest of Moab a large plateau rises high above the valley floor known as Dead Horse Point. There are excellent views from trails all over the park, but one of the funnest is the Big Chief Loop trail. The loop provides great views along its 8 mile course and is great for riders of all abilities. While many rides in Moab are for intermediate or expert riders, this ride is one you can do with the whole family. You can tackle it with a single gear bike (They’ll be just a couple of inclines you’ll have to walk up), but it is definitely a lot more fun with a 10-18 speed. There are also shorter loops that are a little bit easier if your looking for something a little more manageable for a young family.
- Length: 8 miles (roundtrip)
- Elevation Change: Minimal
- Difficulty: Easy
The trail starts from the North end of the visitor center parking and is well marked. Thetrail goes over red rock, packed dirt and the occasional stretch of loose sand. There are a few designated areas where you can pull your bike off the trail and take in the view. One that you don’t want to pass up is the Pyramid lookout. This gives you the best view of the valley looking south and gives you a glimpse of the Colorado river down below. Of
course for the best view of the river, you should take the mile ride south from the visitor center to the very edge of the plateau.
If steep edges make you nervous, you have no worries about this trail. While it does follow along the plateau, there are no exposed areas where you have to worry about falling. The trail is 60 feet or more from the edge of the plateau so at no point along the trail do you have to worry about going over.
Dead Horse point is a state park near Moab, Utah. If you are coming from the north you will exit I-70 at exit 182 onto Highway 191. Follow 191 for about 2o miles until you reach Highway 313. This is an intersection before you get to Arches National park and has a sign directing you to take a right onto 313 to reach Dead Horse point. Follow 313 for about 20 miles and you will find yourself at entrance gate for Dead Horse point. There is a fee to enter the park. More details about the park can be found at the state park’s website. If you are coming from the South look for this intersection about 3 miles after you pass the entrance to Arches National Park it will be on your left.
As always if you have any questions or comments about the ride, please feel free to comment in the space below. Have fun riding the Big Chief Loop trail!