Pipe Dream

Distance: 5-10 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 4043 - 4640 feet
Elevation gain: 1,627 feet
Cellphone: 3-5 bars
Time: 2-4 hrs.
Trailhead: Hidden Valley/Jackson/Aspen
Fee: none
Attractions: Awesome singletrack

Pipe Dream is a trail in Moab, Utah that provides hikers and mountain bikers a venue that is close to town and easily accessible from several city streets. The trail is full of technical challenges and its numerous hills can make it physically demanding. The main singletrack is about 5 miles end to end. With three main access points and several connecting routes between the singletrack, city streets and the pipeline road routes of different lengths can be created.

To get to the trailhead drive south out of Moab on Highway 191 for a couple of miles and turn right on Angel Rock Road. There is a brown sign for Hidden Valley and Pipe Dream just before the turn. Follow Angel Rock Road to Rimrock Road and turn right again. Continue on Rimrock Road a short distance to the trailhead. The Hidden Valley and Pipe Dream trails share the same trailhead with the Pipe Dream trail being the one on the right.

The Pipe Dream trail comes with a no-dab challenge which is to ride the trail end to end without stopping and without ever touching the ground with your feet. The reward for your accomplishment is purely personal satisfaction and perhaps bragging rights.

The Pipe Dream trail follows a singletrack that runs along the base of the foothills below Hidden Valley and the cliffs that tower like a fortification on the west side of Moab.

Enroute it climbs up and over each of the numerous ridges that extend down from the higher cliffs like fingers.

All of the ups and downs are revealed while studying the trails elevation profile. The overall elevation change that you get from subtracting the minimum and maximum elevations is only 600 feet. All of the ups and downs increase that figure substantially. Riding the trail from Hidden Valley to the Aspen bridge has an elevation gain of 1,627 feet. If riding in the opposite direction the elevation gain is 2,051 feet. It you do what we did and ride all the different branches of the trail, which we had to do to make our map, then the overall elevation gain is 3,157 feet which is less than riding just the singletrack in both directions which is even more.

The trail builders did a masterful job placing rocks at all of the dips and ledges. It will not only help preserve the trail but it makes the no-dab challenge a little more feasible.

Of course, when you totally suck at sharp right hand turns the other stuff doesn't matter. The only hope here for the right turn challenged is to start at the Aspen end and turn this into a left hand bend.

Most of the switchbacks have much more room.

It is always nice to carry a map but all of the major forks in the trail have markers that show your current location. The only thing better is to download the GPX file and load it on your phone or GPS or try the mobile app on www.discovermoab.com.

If you don't duck, duck you'll get a big goose egg. As long as your feet don't touch the ground it doesn't count as a dab.

You really have to tip your hats to the trail builders. It must have taken a small army to move this many rocks. There is one spot that looks like it had over a ton of rock placed in it. It is amazing that with all of the work that was done that it is still free to ride the trail.

At the 3.5 mile point from the Hidden Valley trailhead the route splits. The left fork climbs higher via some switchbacks and passes above the water tank. The right fork drops down below the water tank and then climbs back up to rejoin the other route. Both routes are fine but the high route might be a little funner and not really much harder.

The first branch that leads down to Aspen Street comes up at the 4.8 mile point. The second branch is at the 5 mile point. At the 5.14 mile point the trail passes a sign that says leaving public land. From there the trail sweeps down through a valley and runs into the pipeline road. Taking a left on the pipeline road leads out to Kane Creek Blvd. while a right will take you back to Aspen.

This post is ending at the Aspen bridge even though we rode all the other sections of trail working our way back to Hidden Valley. If you stick to the pipeline road there are a couple of steep hills to deal with but the return route is shorter and the total elevation gain is a little less. Besides the no-dab challenge Pipe Dream has a lot to offer not only for mountain bikers but for hikers and trail runners. On the day we were there for this post we saw about an even mix of hikers and bikers. Pipe Dream is a real gem both for Moab's residents and its many lucky visitors. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.