Distance: 3.4 km
Time: 30 min – 1hr
Elevation Gain: 50 m
Elevation Loss: 358 m
Technical Rating: Expert
Physical Rating: Moderate
Season: April – October
Permit Required: No
Warning: Portal is an expert trail not for inexperienced riders or those with a fear of heights. Maximum exposure awaits those who ride this trail. Riders have fallen to their death here, go forewarned.
The Portal is an expert trail that runs along the ledge of a narrow cliff band and offers up extreme exposure. If you’re skilled enough, or brave enough to attempt this ride, please be careful and make sure to dismount your bike where marked – riders have fallen to their deaths at several spots along this trail. Once you complete the first 2 km of super exposed and narrow singletrack, the trail opens up and turns into a full on downhill technical ride. Rock ledges, drops, boulders and tight switchbacks await. No longer are you riding a frightening ledge with a chance of crashing to your death, but rather an expert technical trail that will allow a skilled enough rider to just give’r. If you’re riding a bike with loads of travel, you’ll really enjoy the final section of Portal.
To access Portal, ride the Poison Spider trail out to the trailhead – 13 km from the carpark. At the top of the Poison Spider Mesa take a right to begin your trip down the Portal to finish your descent on Hwy 279. From there ride west (right) along Hwy 279 to the carpark and Poison Spider trailhead. The full loop is 20 km and will take around 2.5 – 4 hrs to complete.
TRAILHEAD | N38 35.029 W109 35.671
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 Poison Spider trail. Once you reach the Poison Spider mesa, look right for the well-marked Portal trail heading southeast.
N38 31.953 W109 36.543 (Poison Spider)
N38 35.029 W109 35.671 (Portal)
bikepirate rating: 4 Skulls