There is a generally accepted, but scientifically unproven, theorem that states, “The more time spent mountain biking in Moab, the farther from town your explorations will lead.” Ride the big-name trails near town first, by all means, then pursue lesser-known and infrequently visited areas to round out your Moab portfolio. Bartlett Wash supports a second corollary: “Not all slickrock is created equally.” Bartlett Wash lies on the northern fringe of Canyon Country, beyond which the colorful sandstones dissipate to bleak and hopelessly unproductive sagebrush plains and shallow, charcoal-colored washes.
The slickrock along this route is a member (or subdivision) of the Entrada Sandstone, which on the whole forms the wonderful creations that give Arches National Park its name. Here, the gray, tan, and salmon-hued Entrada delights the eye with both soft color and smooth form. Compared to the Slickrock Bike Trail, which rolls over ecologically older and stratigraphically lower Navajo Sandstone, Bartlett Wash might be likened to riding on fine sandpaper rather than coarse sandpaper. Still, Bartlett’s abbreviated, but wavelike, expanse of barren sandstone provides hours of mountain bike gymnastics. Tread: Slickrock with one short sandbox.
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