North of Moab, Bartlett Wash is a two mile wide valley that narrows down to 50 yards at the mouth of a low canyon bordered by Entrada Sandstone, a thick layer of ancient sediment laid down during the time of the dinosaurs. In some of the predominantly red sandstone strata the rock is actually purplish in color and swirls together where eddies of ancient river beds deposited silt from the eroding mountains. No Name Spire and Castle Mesa fringe the wash.
The wash makes a long winding trail and presents its own type of unique challenges. There are seemingly endless waves with varying curls, crests and drops for the adventurous trickster or intermediate mountain bike rider alike. Not unlike surfing the pipelines of Hawaii, Bartletts sandstone waves curl into vertical lips that you can mountain bike ride up and launch off of. If you gain enough speed, you can spin from them acrobatically like a trick surfer on a half pipe. Riding the backs of the waves is a little risky though, because you might find yourself with a three foot drop-off. Thank goodness for front suspension. You might choose to momentarily balance along the edge of each wave, speeding down the face when gravity calls, as if you were showing off for the hoards of tourists and bikini-clad beauties ashore. However, these shores dried up 180 million years ago and the hoards are long gone.
To reach the mountain biking trailhead from Moab, head north on US191 for 14.6 miles to Mill Valley Road. Turn left heading west for 0.7 miles. Veer right on rough 4WD road continuing west following the signs to the trailhead. This road consists of a few miles of tricky dirt driving and is not advised for two wheel drive vehicles after a rain.
The second access option, and less well known route, is about 1.5 miles down Dubinky Well road, just off the main highway to Island-in-the-Sky at Canyonlands National Park. Consult a good map to find this road, otherwise you might find yourself walking many miles back to town after you car gets stuck in the sand. This access point puts you at the top of Bartlett Wash on a wide expanse of mixed slickrock and scrub-covered sand dunes.