The little known history of Moab’s slick rock trail
Where have all the skateboarders gone?
Moab is known around the world as a mountain biking mecca, and much of that fame can be attributed to the Slickrock Trail. Arguably one of the most famous mountain bike trails in the world, thousands of riders flock to Moab each year to ride Slickrock’s steep, smooth, and rounded rollercoasters of sandstone, as well as take in the amazing views along the way. Even though hundreds more miles of superb trail have been built in Moab over the last 15 years, some of which feature as much (or more) slickrock riding surfaces, this famous trail remains a mountain biking Shangri-La for many riders.
Despite its legendary status—or perhaps because of it—many readers may not know that long before the Slickrock Trail was discovered by mountain bikers, it had been busy putting Moab on the radar of many other sports, including skateboarding.
Slickrock Trail was originally created for motorcycles, specifically the then new breed of ultra-lightweight Honda 90 trail bikes. The first mention of the Slickrock Trail in Moab’s local weekly newspaper, The Moab Times-Independent, is a March 27, 1969, article titled “Proposed New Slickrock Trail Would Provide Thrills for Trail Bikers,” by Dick Wilson.
In the story, Wilson wrote that “the Slickrock Trail is a proposed route for trail-adapted motorcycles which provides access to a pure, unspoiled wilderness seldom visited presently, and even though it is within two to four miles from Moab, many of its features are not well known.” As part of his reporting, Wilson joined BLM managers for a ride on the proposed route as an exposé of sorts. The following day, there was another demo and hike that included the chairman of the Grand County Safety Council and Jerry Christian, who Wilson described in the article as “a trail-bike enthusiast from Greeley, CO.”…