Distance: 28.7 km
Time: 3 – 6 hrs
Elevation Gain: 123 m
Elevation Loss: 1,437 m
Technical Rating: Advanced – Expert
Physical Rating: Hard
Season: April – October
Permit Required: Yes (Park Pass)
Kokopelli Down combines four trails for an incredible descent down to the Colorado River from 2,500 m high above Moab. This run includes the famous Porcupine Rim trail and is a must do shuttle run when visiting the area to mountain bike. All that you’ve heard about this ride is true. It’s a spectacular descent that will push your endurance, stamina and technical prowess every step of the way. But be warned, if you’re not comfortable with heights, you may want to rethink this ride as there are ample exposed bits along the way, especially near the bottom once on Porcupine Rim.
Most sane riders will hire a shuttle from one of the local bike shops to catch a ride up to the start of this incredible descent; almost all shops offer one. You may choose to ride up, but why? I recommend a good all-mountain bike and some good knee pads. A full face helmet will be too warm for this lengthy ride, but that’s your call entirely. Remember, even though you’re descending over 1,400 m there are still plenty of flat and hilly sections of trail along the way.
Kokopelly Down starts off innocently enough along the Kokopelli trail; a short doubletrack that offers up some incredible views of the surrounding landscape. Soon you’ll approach the trailhead for UPS located to your right after the cattle guard. The trail is well marked. Enjoy the flowy nature of UPS, but be warned as there are a few exposed sections along the way. After a short fun filled pedal, you’ll come to the LPS trailhead with two options. An option to the left takes you down an expert line called the Notch, while the right option takes you down an advanced line of switchbacks. Both options eventually end up at the same spot where they meet up with Porcupine Rim. The rest of your ride is along a tight singletrack trail which hugs the rim and offers up plenty of exposure and tough technical moves. Pay attention and remember to enjoy this last stretch of trail, as it won’t be long now before you reach the Hwy and Colorado River.
TRAILHEAD | N38 32.557 W109 18.739
Access this ride via shuttle. Most of the local bike shops provide a shuttle service, which typically includes the Park Fee. To shuttle on your own, take Spanish Alley Road south out of town to La Sal Mountain Loop Road. Follow La Sal Mountain Loop Road all the way to the Kokopelli trailhead about 45 km up from town.
bikepirate rating: 5 Skulls
Kokopelli Down combines four trails to get to the Colorado River. However, you may have heard of the Whole Enchilada? The Whole Enchilada combines seven trails taking you from Burro Pass down to UFSF and over to Hazzard County, before connecting up with the Kokopelli Down to form an epic 53 km descent! A worthwhile trail for those with lots of endurance. The Whole Enchilada is not always open or possible to ride until late spring/early summer because of snow. Even Kokopelli Down may be tough to do in early spring. If you’re lucky and the trail is open, I would recommend checking it out. You’ll be glad that you did.
If the weather doesn’t allow for you to shuttle all the way to the Kokopelli Down, don’t get discouraged as you should still be able to start lower down the trail. UPS and LPS are usually possible early spring and late fall, while Porcupine Rim is typically good to go almost all year. Ask the local shops about the current conditions and how far they can shuttle you when looking to ride these trails.