“The world famous Porcupine Rim ride; a bone jarring route with a sweet singletrack finish.
— Leslie Kehmeier
The world famous Porcupine Rim ride is a must-do on any mountain bike bucket list and is a classic Moab ride.
The route takes you to the edge (literally) of Castle Valley and then down a thrilling (and bone jarring) descent to the edge of Jackass Canyon where you'll ride sweet singletrack around and down to the Colorado River.
The ride is best done as a point-to-point from Sand Flats Road
to minimize climbing and maximize the downhill. Numerous shuttle companies operate in Moab, so hitching a ride is as easy as making a reservation and slapping down some cash.
The upper reaches of the ride can be extended by including The Whole Enchilada
or Beans and Cheese (starting from Kokopelli and riding UPS
Need to Know
Being one of the most popular rides in one of the most popular riding destinations on the planet, be prepared for a day with hundreds of best friends. The commercial shuttles do a good job of staggering drop-off times, but you'll encounter other riders, so be prepared to share the route.
The ride is a true backcountry experience. More than once, a supposed shortcut across open country has led to dire consequences. Carry plenty of water and food and be prepared to be out longer than you expect.
The route ends near the Negro Bill Canyon Trailhead where you can shuttle into town with a vehicle or pedal back along the highway.
Porcupine Rim starts with a pedal up from Sand Flats road on two track to the top an intersection with LPS
. This is a busy area of people transitioning from the upper trails along the rim or others just starting the ride.
From here the route is rolling and ledgy giving riders a chance to spin their legs before hitting a short technical climb. Enjoy shady pinion pines at the top to refuel and grab a drink of water - a very welcome rest on a sunny day.
From here the road descends quickly and constantly down multiple broken slickrock sections before tightening up through some long smooth bits. For every welcome segment of hard-packed smooth sand, there is a teeth rattling section just around the corner.
As the route descends it opens up to spectacular 360 degree views, a sight that will make you stop in wonder. The varying colors of the sandstone landscape seem to go on forever.
The bottom of the doubletrack follows along a ridge funneling onto a large slick rock expanse. This is where the first Porcupine singletrack sign and gate is encountered. Dont be fooled, the singletrack doesnt acutally start here, but the fun factor does get higher.
At the second signed gate area the singletrack begins. Here the trail gets faster and the rocks start sloping sideways, making things a little more off camber. The trail drops steadily down to the rim above Jackass Canyon. Glimpses of the Colorado River begins to show. Exposure is definitely on your mind now so balance your time between looking at the trail and the amazing views around. The tight, twisty singletrack takes you round the corner and right above the Colorado River.
The trail stays narrow and the exposure ratchets up a notch once above the river. From here its almost all downhill over rock slabs and smooth packed tread (minus one hike-a-bike) to the parking lot on the Upper Colorado Scenic Byway.
If you left a car here, crack open a refreshment and lick your wounds. If your final destination is Moab, then start the easy ride back into town. You'll be riding on the road for a bit before transitioning to a bike path. As of writing this, the remainder of the bike path is under construction from the Porcupine Rim Trail terminus all the way into town.