The Captain Ahab and HyMasa is another iconic mountain bike ride for the expert rider in Moab, Utah. If you’ve ridden the Mag7, Klondike Bluffs, and Moab Brand trails and found them too easy, then the HyMasa and Captain Ahab loop are surely going to test your skills! The climb up HyMasa is beyond technical, with countless step-ups that will test the best riders. The climb makes the descent down Captain Ahab completely worth it, that is, if you want to ride some of the most challenging features and rocky sections in Moab! All said, if you only have a couple hours left to ride on your trip to Moab, Utah then this bucket list ride is a must!
Captain Ahab parking lot and trailhead is located in the Amasa Back area of Moab, on the south side of the Colorado river near Kane Creek area. From the parking lot, you can head up Amasa Back access trail that scoots along the Kane Spring Creek. After crossing a few streams, you link up with the Cliff Hanger jeep trail, and maybe a few jeeps, before turning off on to the real climbing on HyMasa trail. The HyMasa trail climbs just under 1,000ft in a little over 2 miles. But don’t let the statistics fool you, because packed in these two miles is countless features that will have even the most skilled riders walking their bikes.
Like most of the singletrack here in Moab, the trail ridden on top of slickrock, the red and orange sandstone that is native to the Southwest desert. The best part about slickrock is that mountain bike tires stick to it like velcro, providing unlimited traction. But even with this advantage, most riders still lack the ability to climb multiple steps and features that require 100% effort 100% of the time. While your tires might stick to the ground, your heart rate will surely skyrocket at each climb. This is a cycle that repeats over, and over, again until you make it to the top of HyMasa Lower, Upper, and then to the top of Upper Captain Ahab. Then the real fun begins!
Before dropping into the gnarlier trails of Moab, you’re first treated to one of the most stunning views in Moab. The trail unwinding below you, other worldly rock features highlight the other side of the canyon, with the snow capped LaSalle Mountains off in the distance. But don’t ease up just yet, because the Double Black Diamond rated Captain Ahab (Lower) will be sure to put all your skills to the test. Filled with everything from rock drops to rock gardens, this trail will push you and your bike to their limits!
Though the trail is primarily downhill, somehow it won’t feel like it for most of the segment because of how hard you have to push your bike to navigate the technical section. The trail starts out with a 3-tiered rock drop that can be rolled or gapped if you’re into that kind of thing. Following that, you’re sent into a few rock gardens before opening out onto some larger slickrock slabs. The trail flows surprisingly well for how consistently your tires are dropping from one large rock pile to another. With that being said, every single feature can be rolled (given enough speed and confidence). You cannot escape a few climbs that will have the even the best of riders struggle with, but we are all here for the downhill.
As the trail wraps around, back towards the north, the real fun can begin. The trail narrows out, with a big drop off into the canyon below on your right, and for the last half mile, you are holding on for dear life. The trail gets quite narrow, and has a rollercoaster-like feel to it, as you navigate the jarring descents over rock piles, quick sprint climbs, around massive boulders that hold the trail in place, and play on more alternate lines than you can ever imagine. No two riders enter this section and ride it the same way because they are so many choices and ways to have fun in the Moab desert riding some of the best terrain in the world. And even as you finish up the trail, back on the HyMasa section, you’ll be buzzing with how incredible this trail, the views, the experience, and the challenge was. This is one of those trails you want to again as soon as you hit the parking lot, if only there wasn’t that heinous climb up HyMasa to prevent you from another lap!
Hi there, my name is Zachary Kenney and I’m an adventure filmmaker & photographer. My passion is to tell stories that will hopefully motivate you to go live a more adventurous life. Whether that is to experience the view from the summit of a mountain, or wandering through a new town on a road trip. Currently based out of Park City, UT.