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Poison Spider Mesa

Difficult
 2.7 (34) RECOMMENDED ROUTE

A Moab classic with slickrock, sand, Jeeps, and some of the finest scenery around.


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Map Key

16.0

Miles

25.8

KM

0%

Singletrack

5,011' 1,527 m

High

4,045' 1,233 m

Low

1,393' 425 m

Up

1,393' 425 m

Down

3%

Avg Grade (2°)

15%

Max Grade (8°)

Dogs Unknown

E-Bikes Allowed

Overview

Poison Spider is seemingly on everyone's bucket list, but it's not for everyone. It's not too difficult, but the deep sand makes the miles feel long, and intermediates will need to dismount many times for rocky ledges. This trail is very popular with Jeeps, so avoid Jeep Jamboree weekends especially (weekdays are pretty empty). However, there's a lot of fun slickrock, and the scenery is just incredible.

Description

From the parking lot (first take a look at the dinosaur tracks on the east end), start up the dirt road, which is impassible for normal cars but popular with Jeeps. It's not overly steep or technical, though near the top there's a short section with lots of large, loose rock and you may need to walk 100 yards or so.

Once you reach the plateau in about 2 miles, the riding becomes much less steep but there are now many ledges and long sandy spots that must be walked over the next mile. As bikes (and Jeeps) seek the harder sand on the edge of the trail, the path continues to widen, and is over 50' wide in places (!!!) - don't make it worse.

After the sand pits, the slickrock fun begins. You ride and up and down many domes, generally trending uphill. There are several ledges that most people will need to dismount and walk over. After about 3.5 miles, you are now high on the plateau and the scenery gets awesome. Rock fin formations, the city of Moab, and the La Sal mountains spread out before you.

At mile 5.5 there is a 100 yard walk to view "Little Arch". This is a popular place to turn around if you're getting tired, though the trail is actually better from here to the end, so stick with it if you have the energy!

When you hit the fork in the road that says "PS" and has arrows pointing in both directions, go RIGHT. The left option is for Jeeps doing a loop.

The final couple of miles have quite a bit of climbing up steep slickrock. It's amazing what you can stick to, just crank hard and you'll be on top soon. It's a really fun section.

At trail's end, you hit the Portal trail at the edge of the plateau. You now have three options:
  1. Turn around and return the way you came (which is how this trail is mapped).
  2. Turn left and loop around the Golden Spike, which reunites with Poison Spider about halfway back.
  3. Turn right and descend the treacherous Portal trail. Recommended for experts only.

Contacts

Shared By:

Nick Wilder with improvements by fred scurti

Trail Ratings

  2.7 from 34 votes

#1967

Overall
  2.7 from 34 votes
5 Star
6%
4 Star
15%
3 Star
41%
2 Star
24%
1 Star
15%
Recommended Route Rankings

#79

in Utah

#1,967

Overall
106 Views Last Month
19,158 Since May 1, 2013
Difficult

0%
0%
27%
5%
59%
9%

Photos

Riding the rim on Magnificent 7
Aug 22, 2018 near Moab, UT
The amazing scenery and fun slickrock continues.
May 1, 2013 near Moab, UT
Stunning scenery on Poison Spider
May 1, 2013 near Moab, UT
Incredible views are the reward after a long climb and lots of sand.
May 1, 2013 near Moab, UT
Contemplating the action ahead.
Nov 18, 2020 near Moab, UT
Immense swaths of slickrock riding.
May 1, 2013 near Moab, UT

Weather


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Check-Ins

Jun 17, 2021
molly m
Oct 10, 2020
fred scurti
12mi
May 30, 2020
Brian Weeks
Mar 18, 2019
Troy Jay
Oct 3, 2018
David Weaver
Sep 26, 2018
KEV MAC
Apr 26, 2018
Brian Young
Apr 9, 2018
Lisa Martinez
Rode poison spider mesa to portal 8mi