Over the past few years, the Amasa Back mountain bike area has come into its own as one of the premier mountain bike trails in the Moab area. The main trail in this area is the Captain Ahab mountain bike trail. Riding the Captain Ahab trail in Moab, Utah is an exhilarating experience for mountain biking enthusiasts. This challenging and scenic trail is known for its stunning views and technical features.
Captain Ahab is a purpose-built directional trail just for mountain bikes. The trail features a relatively easy climb and then combines a screaming downhill with perfect jumps and ledges.
Over the last few years, the trail has slowly grown from the Hymasa trail, a trail without even a parking area to the beautifully designed trail we have today. Before you were required to ride up Kane Creek Road to the Cliffhanger Jeep road. Now there is a purpose-built single track along Cane Creek known as Connector Trail that connects directly to the HyMasa parking lot. From the connector trail, you will climb on the original Hymasa trail before beginning the awesome Captain Ahab descent.
After renting bikes in town we decided to forgo fooling with a bike rack on a rental car and decided to ride to the trail from the bike shop. If you are in relatively good shape, the ride from town to the trail is easy and flat as the route follows along the Colorado River on Kane Creek Road.
Like all great adventures our trip to the Captain Ahab trail started with my buddy watching a YouTube video about the trail. Sure he lives in the flat lands of the East Coast and had zero experience with the rock drops that are so common along Moab's mountain bike trails, but the YouTube video made it look so easy. The video made it look like anyone could do it.
The guys in the video were a little more experienced than we were. After the first few drop-offs, I thought this could take all day and my friend was not as enthused anymore. It turns out that playing Youtube armchair quarterback is much easier than reality. I didn't want to micro-manage his riding so I gave him a few tips and then just let him try and figure it out for himself. As East Coast riders, we never really encounter rock or dropoffs. The trails we typically ride are easy flowy cross-country trails. Moab can be a shock to the system for outsiders.
Luckily he is a natural athlete and it didn't take him too long to get the hang of the trail. He also learned that the builders of the trail didn't want to kill anyone so even though the ledges looked deadly they were all easy to roll over and relatively safe. By the time we got to the bottom, he was leading the way. He actually got so good at riding Moab's terrain that when we hit the Whole Enchilada a few days later I could hardly keep up with him.
Typically, when I bring new riders to the trails of Moab, I like to start with a descent of 7-UP. The next day I will typically follow up with a Captain Ahab trip before heading to the main attraction The Whole Enchilada.
Like most areas of Moab, there is more to the trail than just the trail. The area around the Captain Ahab trail system is loaded with hidden secrets. If you have time or just a sharp eye, the trail passes right by the Owl Panel. This is the best and most well-preserved petroglyph site close to town. To locate the panel from the bike trail look for a large alcove just as the Cliffhanger Jeep trail intersects the Connector Trail. The panel is to the left of the alcove. You can hike up to it but you might not want to if you are wearing clip-in bike shoes. Another nearby rock art site is Magic Theater Arch, directly across the street from the parking lot.
If you are considering a Moab bike adventure we would recommend checking out the townhomes at Moab Adventure Condo. We stayed in their vacation rental home and it was so nice to have room to relax and not be stuck in a cramped hotel room. They also had large double garages so we could securely store our bikes at night. Most of their condos have bike repair stands and tools to keep your bike in working order while on your trip. Sign up for their email list and get 10% off your rental!