Sand Flats Recreation Area

World Renowned Trails Offer Beautiful Scenery and Incredible Challenges

Introduction

The Sand Flats Recreation Area (SFRA) near Moab, Utah is a nationally significant public lands treasure at the heart of the Colorado Plateau. A high plain of slick rock domes, bowls and fins, it rises in the east to meet the colorful mesas and nearly 13,000 foot peaks of the La Sal Mountains. Bordering the area on the north and south are the canyons of the Grandstaff and Mill Creek Wilderness Study Areas. Further north lies the deep gorge of the Colorado River and Arches National Park. Sand Flats’ famous Slickrock and Porcupine Rim bike trails and almost 40 miles of jeep trails are world-renowned for their combination of challenge and awesome scenery. Sand Flats is also popular for camping. Over 100,000 visitors enjoy this 9,000-acre recreation area annually. The Sand Flats Recreation Area is managed through a unique partnership between Grand County and the Bureau of Land Management. In 1995 this area was developed through the collaborative efforts of Americorps, the Bureau of Land Management, Grand County and the Moab community. SFRA’s mission is to protect the natural features of the area from adverse recreational impacts while providing access to sustainable and enjoyable recreational opportunities.

Resources

  • Brochures

Sand Flats on the Web

Visit the Sand Flats Recreation Area on the web at grandcountyutah.net or on Facebook.

Other Bike Rides

Moab offers a huge variety of rides. From trails for beginners looking for a scenic ride through beautiful canyons and mesa tops, to highly technical trails. The new MOAB Brand Trails: Bar M, Circle O, Rockin’A, and Bar B, offer everything from easy winding dirt roads to miles of intermediate slickrock.Read more…

Bike Safety

The Moab area offers challenging riding amidst world-class scenery. The characteristics of the area that make it a special place for riding also make it extremely important to follow basic safety procedures. The Moab Bike Patrol has this to say:

Wear a helmet

Most trails are very rocky. Even the best riders can get tired and make mistakes. Helmets can prevent or reduce the severity of head injuries.

Carry lots of water and high-energy food.

At least a gallon of water is recommended per person per day. There is no water on the trails and summer temperatures often climb above 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Running out of water will put your health at risk. Eating at intervals provides an opportunity to rest and the energy needed to complete the ride.

Carry trail maps and know how to use them to track your position

Maps for Slickrock and Porcupine Rim trails are located at the trailheads and entrance station. Maps for 4WD roads are available at the entrance station. Detailed topographic maps are available in Moab at bike shops, bookstores and the Moab Information Center.

Stay found, save money.

Grand County has the highest incidence of search and rescue in Utah. The high cost of these operations is normally the responsibility of the rescued party. If you decide that you have lost the trail, do not continue on in hopes of finding your own way. Retrace your route back towards the trailhead until you pick up the trail, find someone who knows the area, or return to the trailhead. If you cannot retrace your route, stay put, conserve energy and water, make yourself visible and await rescue. It’s always a good idea to let a friend or relative know beforehand where you are going and when you should return. If something goes wrong you have the comfort of knowing that they will get help.

Check your bike frequently.

Riding in Moab trails loosens headsets and puts maximum stress upon frames and components. Frequent inspections reduce the possibility of injury. Be prepared in case of emergency.

Don’t venture into remote areas with nothing but a t-shirt and shorts.

Carry a windbreaker, sunscreen, sunglasses, maps, matches or lighter, pump, patch kit, first-aid kit, a good bike tool kit and extra food, water and clothing.

Ride with someone else and stay together in case of problems.

Discuss your situation calmly and make a plan to improve it.

Vehicle Safety

Let someone know your itinerary.

First and foremost it’s always a good idea to let a friend or relative know beforehand where you are going and when you should return. If something goes wrong you have the comfort of knowing that they will get help.

Travel with another vehicle.

You chances of getting stuck in the backcountry are reduced with two vehicles and if one breaks down you have a way out.

Carry trail maps and know how to use them to track your position.

Maps for Slickrock and Porcupine Rim trails are located at the trailheads and entrance station. Maps for 4WD roads are available at the entrance station. Detailed topographic maps and guidebooks are available in Moab at bike shops, bookstores and the Moab Information Center. If you decide that you have lost the trail, do not continue on in hopes of finding your own way. Retrace your route back towards the trailhead until you pick up the trail. Changing conditions. Directional signs may be removed or vandalized. New roads can spring up. Use your map or guidebook but exercise common sense when discrepancies occur.

Inspect your vehicle.

Before going in the backcountry make sure that your vehicle it is in top operating condition. Drive or ride Safe and Sober. It is illegal in Utah for any occupant of a vehicle to drink or even open an alcoholic beverage. Please remember to buckle up.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • 1. How do I get to the Sand Flats Recreation Area?
  • 2. Who manages the Sand Flats Recreation Area?
  • 3. Where do my fees go?
  • 4. Does my federal or state pass work at Sand Flats?
  • 5. What is the user fee at the Sand Flats Recreation Area?
  • 6. Does Sand Flats have an annual pass? How do I purchase a pass?
  • 7. Can I camp at the Sand Flats Recreation Area?
  • 8. How much does it cost to camp?
  • 9. What are the Sand Flats Recreation Area camping regulations?
  • 10. Does Sand Flats take group site reservations?
  • 11. What is minimum impact?
  • 12. What is cryptobiotic crust?
  • 13. How difficult is mountain biking on the Slickrock Bike trail?
  • 14. What is the Porcupine Rim Trail like?
  • 15. Where can I ride my motorcycle at Sand Flats?
  • 16. Where can I ride my ATV at Sand Flats?
  • 17. Does Sand Flats have four-wheel drive trails?
  • 18. What do I need to know to “play it safe” when recreating at Sand Flats?
  • 19. What are some safety tips for traveling in the Sand Flats backcountry by motorized vehicle?
  • 20. Can I bring my dog?
  • 21. Do you waive fees for volunteer groups?
  • 22. Does Sand Flats Recreation Area accept credit cards for payment?

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