Trail One List: Captain Ahab

The Perfect Loop


The Trail One List is our guide to the best mountain bike trails in the world. We know your riding time is precious and travel is expensive. We want you to finish these rides with a giant smile on your face and a heart full of stoke, knowing the juice was worth the squeeze.

If you're going to Moab for an expert-level experience, THIS is the trail you want to start your trip with. If you can make it through the entire trail without walking then you'll be ready for the next challenge of The Whole Enchilada. If Captain Ahab is a bit too much then you'll want to go ride some loops at Klondike Bluffs or Navajo Rocks.

If you've ridden the classic, "life or death" Portal trail in Moab, it's a bit hard to see why Captain Ahab also warrants a double black diamond rating.

There are some tricky bits and pieces, along with a few exposed spots on Ahab, but no mandatory gaps or massive drops.

But most folks that ride this trail suffer from selective amnesia, conveniently forgetting about the number of times they had to hop off their bikes and walk around all of the real deal climbing challenges.

I will admit that Captain Ahab is a "soft" double black diamond, but it still requires a TON of respect. You'll need every trick in your tool belt to get through this trail without walking. 

There's a special magic to Ahab when you get into the flow of busting through a crazy climbing challenge, crest a hill and then point downhill for a thrilling mini-descent. This is the perfect loop. All killer, no filler. 

The Route

Full link to the route 


Moab is absolutely brutal in the Summer. You are taking your life into your own hands if you go out into the 100+ degree heat thinking "It's only 9 miles, how bad could it be?" During the winter Captain Ahab has the best chance of being clear of ice and snow when other trails are unrideable. Spring and Fall are the best times to visit.

The Amasa Back parking lot is located here and cell phone service is very limited. Make sure to load up Google Maps and Trailforks directions before you head out.

The parking lot has a simple toilet with privacy for changing clothes. There is no water available in the area.

Captain Ahab is the only ride I would be willing to do with a big group of people in Moab. There are lots of places to stop and wait, and the final stretch of trail is one-way directional. If you do a big group ride on The Whole Enchilada or Portal you will be out in the sun, waiting around for hours as your group suffers mechanicals, injuries and various other calamities.

Moab is a touristy town, with tons of options for lodging and food.

My favorite choice for Mexican food is Fiesta Mexicana.

Milt's Stop & Eat is great for a burger and fries.