Simply utter the word “Moab” to many a mountain biker and you can watch their eyes glaze over joyfully as they’re spirited away on their daydreams to slick rocks, red dirt and technical ledges.
One of those daydream-inducing rides is Captain Ahab. This featured ride, which is just one combination of trails in this location, is about 9.5 miles with 1,500 feet of climbing and descending. When you’re done, check out any of the myriad of trails surrounding this ride. The trailhead is just a short jaunt southwest of downtown Moab.
We can’t describe this ride any better than Mark Knowles did in his writeup of this ride for MTB Project, so we’ll let him take it from here:
“MTBing ecstasy is what it is. I can not do justice for Captain Ahab in words. Most intermediate riders will walk a spot or two on this trail. Fact is, there is even a sign that says you should walk a particularly risky spot on the trail. But don’t let that dissuade you from the experience. Ahab will etch in your memory. Visually stunning, technically thrilling, a true gem. You’ll not want it to end.”
The ride begins with a 3-mile ride up the HyMesa trail, which was built recently to replace a Jeep road ascent. The trail brings you along canyon rims and affords views at the top of Canyonlands National Park.
A big rock drop marks the start of the descent. The upper half of the trail is a playground for long-travel bikes and technical descenders. Most of the largest drops can be avoided with ride-around options. The trail contours so there will still be a bit of climbing, here. The lower half of the trail flows along tight singletrack with a few spots of serious exposure on cliff edges. You’ll know you’re nearing the end when you hit a “spicy” rock garden.
If you’re looking for a shorter route or want to avoid the most technical upper sections, there is a bypass via the Amasa to Captain Ahab Connector trail. Find that at 3.3 miles into the HyMasa Trail climb.
Photos courtesy of MTB Project.