Brought to you by Transrockies Race Productions, who first brought mountain bike state racing to North America in 2002, Moab Rocks is an early spring classic multi-day event at one of the most revered and legendary mountain bike destinations in the world. Moab Rocks is part of the Transrockies Race Series and rated by Strambecco as one of the best MTB events in the Southwest and Utah.
This event is a perfect symphony of challenging trails, breathtaking scenery, and the sheer thrill of riding. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, Moab Rocks encapsulates the essence of mountain biking in the iconic red rock landscape of Moab, Utah. What sets Moab Rocks apart is its inclusive spirit—whether you’re a seasoned pro or a weekend warrior, the event promises an unforgettable three-day adventure. Spanning 76 miles (123km) with a total vertical ascent of 7,800 feet (2,400m), it’s a race that tests endurance, skill, and mettle on world-renowned trails such as Porcupine Rim, and newer classics like Klondike and Mag 7. Dubbed the “Unofficial Down-Country World Championships” by mountain bike legend Geoff Kabush, the event is as much about the competition as it is about the camaraderie and the celebration of the sport. This is a race, a festival, a family-friendly vacation, and an adventure all rolled into one. The field is capped at 350 racers, and the event commonly fills up early.
Event & Course Info
With a blend of classic and modern routes, this event is a testament to the decades of dedication from trail builders who crafted this renowned biking mecca. Moab Rocks takes you through a meticulously crafted route, balancing technical challenges with the raw beauty of Moab’s landscape. Each stage is a deep dive into the varied terrain, from slickrock to sand, ensuring a comprehensive Moab experience.
Stage 1 – Porcupine Rim
The event kicks off with a start from the Grand County High School, leading riders on a 22.5-mile course with a total vertical ascent of 3,400 feet. The stage features a steep climb through the town and onto Sand Flats Road, culminating in an adrenaline-pumping 9-mile descent down the legendary Porcupine Rim. Cyclists can look forward to a checkpoint and aid station at the 13.7-mile mark, providing a brief respite before the exhilarating descent.
Stage 2 – Klondike Bluffs
The second day brings a 25.5-mile journey with a vertical climb of 2,170 feet. Starting on the gravel of the South Klondike Bluffs Access Road, the trail soon hits the singletrack on Dino Flow. Riders face the significant Mega Steps ascent, with the first aid station at 13.4 miles, followed by a rewarding descent with stunning mountain views. The second aid station at 18.3 miles provides relief before the final stretch back to the parking lot finish line.
Stage 3 – Mag 7
The final stage (short for Magnificent) spans 28.5 miles and includes a vertical gain of 2,300 feet. Beginning near the Gemini Bridges Road, cyclists navigate a mix of gravel and singletrack, heading towards Arths Corner and the first aid station at 7.5 miles. After climbing up Getaway, the highest point of the stage awaits, along with the second aid station. A descent on Bull Run leads to the third aid station at 19.3 miles, followed by the rocky terrain of Great Escape and Goldbar, looping back to the starting point.
The early April weather in Moab is typically crisp in the mornings and pleasantly warm by day, perfect for a race. While 2019’s freak snowstorm was an anomaly, it’s wise to come prepared for any condition, from chilly mornings to the warm afternoons, ensuring comfort throughout the event.
The Moab Rocks stage race is tailored to cater to a broad spectrum of mountain bikers, primarily targeting the intermediate skill level. The routes are carefully selected to encompass a variety of terrain, from the less technical, to the more challenging and technical segments. While a majority of the course is designed to be pedal-friendly for riders with a moderate level of experience, certain segments might require some hike-a-bike. Check out MTBCoach or TrainingPeaks for a customized training plan to help you achieve all of your goals for Moab Rocks.
Moab Rocks not only challenges riders with its varying terrains and elevations but also dazzles them with the natural beauty of Moab’s red rock landscapes. The event is a perfect mix of competition and camaraderie, where cyclists can push their limits during the day and share their stories at the finish line. With professional marking and full support at each stage, including multiple aid stations, the riders are well-equipped to tackle each day’s unique challenges and enjoy the breathtaking scenery that makes Moab a bucket-list destination for mountain bikers around the globe.
Area Accommodations & Things to Do
If you have not visited Moab, you are in for a treat. It’s an absolute outdoor paradise offering iconic Southwest scenery and a wide array of sports options in addition to trail running. From hiking to kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, off road adventuring, and exploring national parks, there is something for everyone.
When it comes to lodging for Moab Rocks, its official hotel partners include the Fairfield Inn & Suites and Springhill Suites Moab. Other highly recommended options are the Big Horn Lodge, Gonzo Inn, and Field Station Moab (also offers spots for van lifers), all known for their friendly accommodations and convenient locations. However, if you don’t mind a bit of a drive and are looking for something more secluded, the Red Cliff Lodge and Sorrell River Ranch are two beautiful lodges located about a 40-minute drive from town.
For those planning a longer stay in Moab or traveling with a group, a vacation rental might be the way to go. There are several options available, many of which are located in Spanish Valley, just south of Moab. Though they are outside of town, these accommodations only add about 10 minutes of extra driving time, providing a nice balance between tranquility and convenience.
Camping in Moab during March is an option for the more hardy visitors, as the nights can get quite cold. There are other BLM camping options nearby along Kane Creek Road, such as Kings Bottom, which is very close to the race start/finish. Another option is Hunter Canyon, located about 2.5 miles beyond the race start/finish area. Additionally, there are several other BLM campgrounds near Moab along the River Road (128), Potash Road, and Sandflats (near the slickrock trail). These sites are affordable and typically available in March. For those seeking a more rugged experience, there are also a few free/dispersed camping locations along Willow Springs road, north of town as well as one of a kind locations for camping. Regardless of where you choose to stay, don’t forget it is the start of desert high season, so it’s recommended to book early.
The culinary scene in Moab, Utah, is surprisingly diverse, offering a range of dining options from casual cafes and food trucks to upscale eateries, with menus featuring everything from traditional American and Southwestern dishes to international cuisine. Many establishments also focus on locally sourced ingredients, ensuring a fresh and unique dining experience in this scenic desert town. Some favorites include Milt’s Stop N Eat, Moab’s oldest restaurant (try their burgers and shakes!), Jailhouse Cafe, and the Moab Food Truck Park.
Moab, Utah is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, offering a plethora of activities for adventurers looking to explore the stunning natural landscapes surrounding the town. Just 5 miles from Moab, you can find Arches National Park, a must-visit destination known for its breathtaking arch formations, with popular trails like Delicate Arch and Devils Garden Primitive Loop providing challenging runs or hikes amidst the park’s unique scenery.
Canyonlands National Park and Dead Horse State Park are both about a 40-minute drive from town, offering vast, panoramic views and a variety of trails. The Syncline Loop in Canyonlands is a great 8-mile run or hike option, while the Intrepid Trail in Dead Horse Park provides a 9+ mile loop suitable for mountain bikers, hikers, and runners alike.
Beyond these parks, Moab boasts a variety of trails for running, hiking, and mountain biking. The Slickrock Trail, Bar M area trails, Magnificent 7 area trails, Grandstaff Canyon, Corona Arch trail, and Porcupine Rim trail all offer unique and challenging terrains with stunning views. For those interested in history and culture, there are several sites featuring fascinating petroglyphs to explore.
If you’re looking to give your feet a break, the Colorado River offers kayaking, paddleboarding, and rafting opportunities, with several rental outlets available in town. Jeep and ATV rentals are also popular, providing a different way to explore the rugged terrain. For a bit of exercise and relaxation, the Moab Aquatic Center on 400 West features a swimming pool and workout equipment.
For the more daring adventurers, Moab has unique canyoneering tours, rock climbing locations, and even skydiving opportunities. The recently opened zip line course, which includes a thrilling via ferrata option, adds to the adrenaline-pumping activities available. Beginners interested in climbing can get their start at the Moab Adventure Park on Kane Creek Road.
After all the excitement and adventure, you might find yourself in need of some rest. Consider a nap on a smooth, sunny red rock or in Moonflower Canyon. Alternatively, a cool soak in Grandstaff Canyon Creek or Mill Creek offers a refreshing way to unwind and rejuvenate before your next Moab adventure.
The Transrockies Race Series which Moab Rocks is a part of, is a unique multi-sport event series spanning Road & Gravel Cycling, MTB, and Trail Running events throughout North America. Many of their events are multi-day and take place in spectacular destinations. Strambecco covers several of their events, including the Gran Fondo Moab, TransRockies Gravel Royale, TransRockies Singletrack 6, Gran Fondo Badlands, and TranSelkirks Run.
Other best in class MTB events taking place in Utah include the True Grit Epic and 25 Hours of Frog Hollow from GRO Races and part of the National Ultra Endurance Race Series (NUE) and the N24 Series respectively.
For the multi-sport athletes out there, there are many bucket list worthy events to add to your calendar that take place in Utah. Gravel cyclists will appreciate some of the Best Gravel Cycling Events in the Southwest held in-state including the Crusher in the Tushar from Life Time Events and part of its Grand Prix Series, the Belgian Waffle Ride (BWR) Utah from Monuments of Cycling which is part of their Quadrupel Crown of Gravel Series, and the True Grit Gravel Epic from GRO Races.
Finally, those who prefer pedaling on the pavement are not left out, with some of the Best Road Cycling Events in the Southwest happening throughout the year here, such as Lotoja and the Utah-Cache Gran Fondo which is a GFNS Partner Event and a UCI Worlds Qualifier.
Trail running enthusiasts also have their pick at a slew of top shelf events in the state of Utah including The Moab Trail Marathon, Tushars Mountain Runs from Aravaipa Running, the Wasatch Front 100 which is part of the Grand Slam of Ultra Running and a Rocky Mountain Slam Series event. Vacation Races is a premier operator with multiple in-state events from the Antelope Canyon Ultras, Bryce Canyon Ultras, Zion Ultras, many of which are UTMB and Western States Qualifiers.