Moab May 2017 Trip Report – The Whole Enchilada

by Brian Mullin on May 16, 2017

The Whole Enchilada is one of the premier mountain bike rides in the Utah desert, and the bottom Porcupine Rim portion was the only real singletrack in the Moab area back in the old days. Due to the heavy snow conditions and the recent rain, the Whole Enchilada Shuttle drop off was on the Loop road where the Jimmy Keen trail starts. My Whole Enchilada route began on the mellow Jimmy Keen overlooking the La Sals, then the uber fun UPS with tons of rolling slickrock, followed by the swoopy LPS with its quick sharp turns on slickrock and ledges and finally the old Porcupine Rim road and trail which pummels you with high speeds and rugged terrain.

Mileage – 23.73 miles, Elevation – Gain 463 ft, Descent 4710ft

I was nursing a slow leak in my rear tire, that was likely due to getting a Goathead that I had gotten sometime the day before on Mag 7. Fortunately, someone had heard the tire leaking before the shuttle, so I dumped in a small bottle of sealant and hoped for the best. It took me three further overinflation’s on the way down to finally get things sealed up properly, though I still stopped and checked the tires pressure regularly on the way down.

The start of Jimmy Keen trail was mostly treeless, and it swooped back and forth on hardpack conditions with occasional sections of rocks, always offering some incredible views of the La Sal Mountains. It eventually dived into taller Scrub Oak and Pine trees with the same sort of terrain, punctuated by more rockier sections. The trail then started an abrupt slog uphill before quickly rolling downhill to the Kokopelli and UPS intersection, with one fun plunge through a stream.

The start of UPS mostly followed the rim line, and it went up and down slickrock ramps and ledges, sometimes smoothly and other times it hit like a jackhammer. I was provided with breathtaking views of the Castle Valley, offering incredible expansiveness and some occasional exposure. Towards the end of UPS, there was an extremely long slickrock section that was an exceptional blast, and it was almost enough fun that I wanted to walk back up and do it again!

After some rolling terrain and slickrock, the trail morphs into the LPS trail. LPS has more abrupt turns and drops offs and ledgy sandstone terrain with some flowy trail tossed in for good measure and close glimpses of the Castle Valley. The trail does a split, and one direction goes to the uber-technical Notch while the other goes to a techy double switchback section. I looked over the latter, and the final slickrock ramp was not only dirty, but it didn’t appear to have an easy method to walk down it? Instead, I rode most of the Notch except for the last turn, which is crux move, but at least it had a nice stair step to walk down past the maneuver.

LPS eventually gives way to the double track Porcupine Rim Road and the start of one of the most famous trails in Moab. Most of the Porcupine Rim Road is a fast descent with lots of small climbs tossed in to keep you tired. The fast speeds and rocky terrain hammer you as you hold onto the handlebars, braking as little as possible, though still trying to keep things rolling along at a reasonable and sane clip. It’s non-stop blasting down the road, flying off ledges, berms, and dropoffs, with chattering terrain, off-angled, and square edged rocks. Finally after what seems like forever the road ends and the singletrack fun begins. Most of the start of the singletrack is fast and flowy, and then just as it wraps around the corner overlooking the Colorado River, you’re greeted by a technical rock squeeze that requires a quick burst up followed by a gnarly down. The rest of the singletrack that parallels the river is a blast, with short technical ledge drops and slabs and my fave was the last tricky one just before the bottom creekbed. There is an ugly set of ledges to get up out of the creekbed followed by a short cruise to the parking lot. Thank goodness that the group I was with helped me set up a drop off for my truck so that it was sitting there waiting for me, relieving me of the unwanted ride back into town.


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