Circle O

Round Trip Distance: 3.3 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Skill level:
Elevation: 4447 - 4678 feet
Cellphone: 2-4 bars
Time: 1 hr.
Trailhead: Moab Brands
Fee: none
Attractions: Uneven slickrock adventure

The Circle O trail is located in the Moab Brands Mountain Biking Area north of Moab, Utah. The north end of the 3.3 mile long trail connects to the Bar M Loop and the North 40 trails while the south end comes out at the north end of the Rockin A trail. Over 99% of the Circle O trail travels across an expanse of uneven slickrock of Navajo sandstone where the adventure comes in 'riding the line' and avoiding the dirt. Out of curiosity we looked up the Circle O brand on the states website and found most of the registrations were by the Bowler family in St. George, Utah.

For this post we rode the Circle O trail from south to north by taking a spur trail that begins off of the Bar M Loop and following it the short distance to the beginning of the Circle O and Rockin A trails.

A few laps around the bowl in front of the trail marker will warm you up for the ride.

A line painted on the rock takes a route that avoids as much dirt and cryptobiotic soil as possible. The challenge is to follow the line as close as possible and avoid the dirt.

The painted route isn't always the easiest. Judging from the tire tracks in the dirt the easier route is a little too tempting for some.

As the trail courses along its eastern edge toward Arches National Park it loses a couple hundred feet of elevation that is regained when the trail bends back toward the west. The climb at the end is about the same no matter which direction you ride the trail.

Most of the trail requires no more than intermediate skills but an advanced technique may come in handy in a couple of spots.

The Circle O trail comes to an end where a short connector trail leads back to the Bar M Loop. Directly across the Bar M Loop there is another short spur trail that connects to the North 40 trail just below the Maverick. With all of those connections there are lots of options for what to do next. For us, we took the Bar M Loop back to the other end of the Circle O trail where we rode the Rockin A trail from north to south and then tackled the Bar B Loop, Lazy, North 40, Maverick and EZ trails in that order. As far as the Circle O trail goes it is a fun, though bumpy, challenge well worth the ride. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.