Moore Fun (Fruita, CO)

Photo: DurangoMtBikeTours

Photo: DurangoMtBikeTours

Depending on how you view technical MTB trails, “Moore Fun” could be an oxymoronic trail name. Like the technical trail picks in Moab, Moore Fun features plenty of ledgy exposure and rocks galore to keep riders on top of their tech game.

If you thought Fruita was more flow than whoa, don’t worry–there’s plenty of flow to be found in the area too. The trails in the 18 Road system are generally far less technical than those found in the Kokopelli Area, where Moore Fun is located.

Porcupine Rim (Moab, UT)

Photo: Bob Ward

Photo: Bob Ward

Porcupine Rim is perhaps the most famous of the technical mountain bike trail rides. For one thing, mountain bikers have been riding the trail forever, and for another, a lot of people ride it. Unlike some of the other picks on this list with just a few reviews from Singletracks community members, Porcupine Rim has been reviewed 86 times over the years. The trail itself isn’t particularly narrow, but it does offer Moab-style exposure and steep, rocky descents.

True story #2: I once wimped out on a chance to ride the Porcupine Rim trail due to its technically-demanding reputation. I was at the end of a bikepacking hut-to-hut trip and part of our group decided to finish the 7-day trip by riding down Porcupine Rim, fully loaded. I, on the other hand, rode down Sand Flats road instead. Maybe next time…

Captain Ahab (Moab, UT)

Photo: bonkedagain

Photo: bonkedagain

Captain Ahab is located in the Amasa Back Area and offers up four miles of steep slickrock descents and chunky rock sections. Captain Ahab doesn’t seem to have quite as much cliffside exposure as the other Moab trails included higher on this list. And honestly, experienced riders should be able to clean the whole descent. But make no mistake, this is still a double-black diamond-rated trail!

Hangover (Sedona, AZ) 

Photo: Greg Heil

Photo: Greg Heil

Is it possible for a mountain bike trail to become a YouTube star? If so, Hangover is probably one of the first thanks to POV footage from Nate Hills showing just how “sketchy” this trail really is. Hangover, I’m guessing, gets its name from all the overhanging rocks on the trail that force riders to steer toward the edge of the cliff leading to the canyon below. Not only does this trail feature white-knuckle-inducing exposure, there are significant rocks and boulders to navigate along the way.

The White Line trail is another technically-challenging trail in Sedona, though as far as we know, it’s not exactly legal to ride. Unlike other trails on this list, the pucker-factor on the White Line trail is due purely to exposure and little else in the way of technical factors.

Beyond the Top 8

Within our survey data we had a massive tie for 9th place, and every one these trails certainly deserves an honorable mention:

To be honest, some of the trails on the honorable mention list might be even more difficult than the ones listed in the official top 8! But as we’ve discovered, many of the most technical trails just aren’t very well known, since few riders actually seek them out.

Your turn: Where do you go to find the most technical mountain bike trails? We’d love to hear about your favorites!

# Comments

  • Greg Heil

    Pretty stoked on these survey results! I’ve ridden 5 of the top 8 and yes, they’re gnarly! I personally wouldn’t have included Captain Ahab on a “most technical” list, but it definitely IS technical, and as you noted in your conclusion, lots of people ride (or have heard of) the trails mentioned above. The more obscure ones that might be certifiably insane? People tend to avoid those 🙂

    • John Fisch

      I agree. I have ridden six of the eight and also wouldn’t put Ahab in league with the others. When I rode Ahab for the first time this spring, I somehow blew right by that “Caution, Walk Your Bike” sign without even seeing it. I knew it was out there, but once in the flow, I somehow whizzed by without noticing it. It wasn’t until I merged back onto the bottom of the original Amasa Back route that I realized I had missed it.

      To be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t put Porc on this list either. It has spooky moments on account of the occasional exposure, but as for what’s actually under the knobbies, it’s hard to find that as challenging as most others on the list. As much or more fun, definitely, but not quite as challenging.

      Other great high-tech routes I’ve encountered include:
      Arizona — Phoenix — South Mountain (Mormon, National, Geronimo)
      Arizona — Tucson — La Milagrosa
      Colorado — Colorado Springs — Palmer Park (Templeton)
      Colorado — Salida — Arkansas Hills (Uncle Nazty)
      Maryland — Frederick — Frederick Watershed
      Missouri — Blue Spring — Landahl Preserve
      Nevada — Boulder City — Bootleg Canyon (the downhill routes)
      Utah — Moab — Flat Pass
      Utah — St George — Zen Trail
      Virginia — Strasburg — Elizabeth Furnace

    • Greg Heil

      This is a great list!!

    • wilsonm73

      Great list John. Having just ridden Mormon in AZ, that’s a great trail. One that I rode a few years ago is Raider Ridge in Durango. I ride Dakota Ridge regularly and this was harder. I think Free Lunch in Grand Junction and Pucker Up fit on here too. Greg showed us Vitamin B, that thing is killer too.

    • Greg Heil

      Surprised you found Raider’s Ridge harder than Dakota Ridge. Guess I need to go ride Dakota again (it’s been like 8 years since I rode it), but I rode Raider’s Ridge at enduro race pace, sight unseen, a couple years back in the BME with no issues. Maybe now I’ll be able to clean Dakota?!

    • wilsonm73

      Maybe I am just used to Dakota. After riding Vitamin B with you I don’t see any reason why you wouldn’t able to clear it. You’re a better rider than I am. I rode Raider Ridge by myself from the newer singletrack switchbacks. There were times I wondered if I had wondered off the trail. Maybe I did and raised the level of difficulty? We’re going back again in September so I’ll ride it again. Could be my impression was off.

    • Greg Heil

      Nah could be totally valid. And again, it’s been a long time since I’ve ridden Dakota, so (hopefully) I’ve gotten much better since then!! I really need to get back there and ride it again 🙂

    • John Fisch

      I thought about Free Lunch but ultimately decided against it since it really is a dedicated freeride trail. If I was to consider all such routes, then nothing that didn’t have huge air or deadly gaps would make my list. When I think of techy trails, I think of actual trials rather than collections of man-made stunts. Although Free Lunch is kind of unique in that regard since it isn’t prepared jumps so much as it is incorporation of natural features, so maybe it belongs after all, even by my preferred criteria.

    • wilsonm73

      Sure John that makes sense and is a good division between man made and natural. I think its similar to Black Jack in some ways where they mostly used the natural features. Pucker Up below Free Lunch has a few more man made things but again its mix like you said. Good list and alternates.

    • Smoke4ndmears

      The ‘shed. Oh yes 🙂 Home!

    • Rusty Garduno

      Yeah those (certifiably insane) are what I’m looking for.

  • Alpine rider

    done most of them by view! and you call them techy rides?? come on guys come in the Alps and you ‘ll see what techy terrain is really like!!

    • wilsonm73

      By view? Google translator fail? You know what they say, video or it didn’t happen.

  • Michael Paul

    With the exception of Farlow Gap I’ve done all of these multiple times and they are truly a gut-check. I’ve done a few on the #9 list too, and would add that a Holy Cross to Pucker Up to Free Lunch would be one of the most technical trails you can encounter with natural features. Hoping to get the guts to do Psycho Rocks this weekend while in CB with a legit DH bike..but we’ll see 🙂 The lower half of Hall Ranch in Lyons is also a respectable trail, and there are so many to mention in Moab the list would have to be a lot longer (Dave’s trail comes to mind). You could make the argument for several trails in NM to be on this list. It’s fun to explore areas like this and continually try to ride them…after riding Blackjack a few times I can clean everything except for the 8 ft drop (and yes, the first couple times I backed away from the Slot Machine too, Jeff, only to realize later that it is actually one of the easier features out there–ha!)

  • k2rider

    I’ve done 4 of the 8…Moore Fun, Porcupine Rim, Captain Ahab & Hangover. Of those, Hangover was by far the toughest. I’ve seen videos of the The Portal Trail and I will NOT be attempting that one anytime soon. Just based on the photos, that Dakota Ridge trail look just like the type of trail that eats me alive.

  • Joshua Ziemski

    How is French creek, PA not here? I have ridden some of these in Arizona and Colorado and found French creek to be more technically difficult!

  • williedillon

    I’ve done Black Mountain, but I don’t recall if I’ve done Farlow Gap. Reading this makes me want to ride it, though!

  • trollanski

    Sounds like ya’ll can do some travel. Might want to include Juneau Ak. on your list. If you can ride East Glacier trail clockwise with 0 dabs, you have ascended to the GODS. Throw in an out and back on Nugget Creek in the middle of it for truly epic tech-grar. Makes Moab (scenic-boring) look like child’s play. You can forget cleaning this trail if its wet (whole seasons this way some years…) as the stairs wont dry out enough to slow down btwn the sections. This trail has been ridden clean. Lenoski, if you read this bring your lighter setup as the climb is consistently steep. Thanks for word on the trails to hit now that im in the lower 48!

  • Jim Cummings

    I think people confuse technicality with difficulty. I would rate Captain Ahab as superbly technical and Moore Fun as technically inept.

    • Jim Cummings

      The most difficult trail I attempted in the US was the Canyons Downhill in Park City. Technically it was garbage – just an unimaginative series of very steep rock falls.

    • dieter_be

      Doesn’t technical mean difficult? Can you elaborate? Thanks

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