Facebook Twitter

Poison Spider Mesa

SHARE Poison Spider Mesa

This is one bike ride that experienced mountain bikers will want to put on their list. But unless you're planning on a very early morning ride here, it may be best to wait until fall because of the hot summer temperatures in Moab.

The scenery is amazing, but with slickrock, 600-foot cliffs and loose sand, this challenging ride isn't to be taken lightly.

Path rating: **

Scenic rating: ****

Distance: 12 miles round trip.

Elevation gain: 1,000 feet.

Difficulty: Strenuous.

Directions to reach the trailhead: The trail is about 10 miles west of Moab. Go north of Moab along U-191 and turn left (west) onto U-279 ("Pot Ash Road"). The trailhead is six miles up the road to the right (where a gravel road begins).

Trail description: Sand and slickrock dominate the first part of the path. Do not turn on a spur trail that heads left, and be ready to find your own path through some bedrock areas.

After two miles, the path becomes sandy, after which a couple of rock staircases crop up. Arrows painted on the rock help direct bikers.

The final part of the trail is your choice, but it is an acrophobe's nightmare, and finding the path may be difficult.

Cautions: At least three mountain bikers have been killed on this trail. Gregg Bromka, mountain biking author, said the final part of this trail is not for heroes, and ALL bikers should dismount and use common sense in the cliff areas.

The dangers of the upper portion of this trail are so extreme, its wise to never bike the trail alone.

Always carry plenty of water and don't ride too fast.

Cost/charges: none

Highlights: There are dinosaur tracks near the trailhead. "Little Arch" is found along the trail, which travels across the Poison Spider Mesa about three miles out.

Spectacular views of the LaSal Mountains, the Colorado River and the Moab Valley make this ride a scenic treasure.

Camping/facilities: BLM allows camping in designated fee areas along the Colorado River. There is an outhouse at the trailhead, but no drinking water is available.

For more information: "Mountain Biking Utah," by Bromka (a Falcon Guide) contains a detailed map and four pages of invaluable notes on this complicated ride.

Also contact the Moab Field Office of the BLM, 1-435-259-2100.

E-MAIL: lynn@desnews.com