Distance: 13 km (one-way)
Time: 2 – 3hrs
Elevation Gain: 456 m
Elevation Loss: 144 m

Technical Rating: Advanced
Physical Rating: Moderate
Season: April – October
Permit Required: No

GPS (GPX): click here
Google Earth: click here
Trail Mix: click here
Bureau of LM: click here

An out-and-back trail, Poison Spider Mesa may be combined with the Portal to form a full loop. If you’re considering this option, please be warned as the Portal is an expert trail that runs along the ledge of a cliff ban and offers up extreme exposure. Visit the Portal trail page to learn more.

Located a short drive or ride out of town, Poison Spider is an advanced trail taking the rider up to a mesa high above the Colorado River. There you’ll be treated to some incredible views of Arches National Park and the town of Moab below. From the carpark the trail starts with several wide 4WD switchbacks (jeep road), gradually climbing to the first plateau. Continuing along, the trail will take you through several sand traps, more than I personally care for, while gradually climbing up to the mesa. Further along the way you’ll be greeted with steep sandstone domes to go up and down, with plenty more sand and slick rock. Although the trail is shared with motorized vehicles, for the most part you’ll find yourself riding alone. Unless you’re visiting Moab during the Jeep festival, then it’s best to stick to mountain bike specific trails only. Once you’ve reached the mesa, take a break, take in the views and once ready head back the way you came. Unless of course you have the skill and courage, to take the Portal down to Hwy 279. Be warned, the Portal is a scary, technical trail on which several riders have died.

TRAILHEAD | N38 31.953 W109 36.543

Take Hwy 191 north from Moab just past Arches National Park to Hwy 279 (Potash Road). Turn left onto Hwy 279 and continue west along the road for about 9.5 km to reach the parking area and trailhead marked “Dinosaur Tracks.” Park and follow the signs up the trail.

bikepirate rating: 3 Skulls