One-way Distance: 3.3 miles
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 3955 - 4670 feet
Cellphone: 0-2 bars
Time: 1-2 hrs.
Trailhead: Amasa Back
Attractions: Challenging singletrack
The HyMasa trail is located in the Amasa Back area near Moab, Utah. The trail provides a singletrack alternative to the Amasa Back/Cliff Hanger Road. The trail is open to 2-way traffic but it is most often used to get to the top of the Captain Ahab trail which is a one-way, downhill only, route. Combined together the two trails make up a 7.6 mile loop.
The Amasa Back trailhead is about 5.3 miles from Moab measuring from the intersection of Highway 191 and Kane Creek Blvd. Turn onto Kane Creek Blvd. at the McDonald's Restaurant and follow it as it parallels the Colorado River for about 4.6 miles before turning up Kane Creek. The Jackson Hole trailhead is at the 4.6 mile point and the Amasa Back trailhead is near the 5.3 mile point. From the Amasa Back trailhead it is a little more than a half mile to the beginning of the Amasa Back trail.
After turning off of the Kane Springs Road onto the Amasa Back trail look to the left to pick up the beginning of the HyMasa trail.
The first section of singletrack is an alternative route to following the Amasa Back/Cliff Hanger Road.
There is a large petroglyph panel on the highwall across the creek that can be seen from this vantage point. Some of the interesting figures are a large warrior looking image with an owl just to the right of it, a set of concentric circles that looks like a big target, a birdman below the owl, lots of bighorn sheep and off to the right is the image of a hunter with a bow and arrow that we traced in red. You will have to click on the picture and examine the hi-res image to see most of it.
The singletrack rejoins the road and follows it as it crosses the creek.
The trail continues following the road as it climbs away from the creek over rocks and sandstone shelves.
Just past the half mile point from the Kane Springs Road both HyMasa and Amasa Back, still traveling together, are met by the lower end of the Captain Ahab trail. Since the Captain Ahab trail is one-way, for mountain bikes anyway, the only option is to continue following the HyMasa trail.
The route continues climbing up one of its more physically demanding stretches as it switchbacks up the canyon.
The HyMasa trail branches off from Amasa Back and begins another stretch of singletrack before reaching the 1 mile point.
This portion of the HyMasa trail follows a very nice moderate route over red dirt and broken slickrock.
HyMasa crosses the Amasa Back trail again after a quarter mile and once more after that around the 1.5 mile point of the trail. The trail continues in like fashion as before with some spots that are a little more technical than others but nothing quite as tough as some of the previous sections of Amasa Back were.
The trail builders did a good job of making the most of the natural terrain where boulders serve more as accoutrements than obstacles.
HyMasa crosses Amasa Back again around the 2.25 mile point and around the 3 mile point it reaches a cutoff trail that connects it to the midpoint of the Captain Ahab trail. The HyMasa/Captain Ahab loop can be shortened to about 5.6 miles by skipping the upper section of the Captain Ahab trail via the midpoint.
Most of the elevation gain is over after reaching the Captain Ahab cutoff trail. The last stretch of the HyMasa trail is still slightly uphill with a few minor ups and downs.
HyMasa comes to an end at the Upper Captain Ahab trail. From here you can loop back to the trailhead via Captain Ahab or turn around and take the HyMasa trail back. Another option would be to go to the right at this point about a hundred yards and get on the Amasa Back trail. You can continue up Amasa Back to Pot Hole Arch, Rockstacker and the Jackson trails or follow it back down to the trailhead. There are lots of options for lots of fun. For this post we looped back to the trailhead on the Captain Ahab trail. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.