Rating 1 - 10+
Moab is not just a single trail but is a multitude of trails covering the gamut from a simple gravel country road to some of the most insane 4WD trails on the face of the planet. You do not have to go to the insane trails to enjoy the beauty of Moab, as some spectacular sites are viewable even from the simplest of trails. Several of the best known trails are in the city limits of Moab but some of the trails considered to be in the Moab area are up to 75 miles away. Moab is just an incredible place for 4 wheeling, mountain biking, site seeing, and photography.
From Colorado Springs take I25 North to Denver. On the South side of Denver take C470 West to I70. Take I70 from Denver into Utah. After entering Utah you can either continue to blast down the interstate or turn off on to highway 129. Either way will take approximately the same amount of travel time but highway 129 is a few less miles and much more scenic. Moab Utah is approximately 345 miles from Denver.
Here is a brief description of some of the more popular trails around Moab. Its recommended that you do not attempt a trail alone or until you have sufficiently researched its difficulty and course. The CSC4W club attempts to schedule one trip a year to Moab, usually around the Memorial weekend.
Trailhead: Lat: 38 8' 31" / Lon: 109 49' 35"
Directions: This trail is in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park, about 75 miles from Moab. Take Highway 191 south out of Moab for about 40 miles, then turn west on Highway 211 and go another 35 miles. Maps can be found at the ranger station.
Description: This trail is in Canyonlands National Park, so an entrance fee is required. Also note that NO pets are allowed - even in a vehicle. The Elephant Hill Trail starts at Elephant Hill, which can be difficult for some even though the NPS filled some holes with concrete. The switchbacks on the backside are especially interesting. The Silver Stairs features some ledges that are interesting, while the Squeeze is a very narrow slot that fullsize vehicles sometimes have trouble with. The Elephant Hill Trail travels through Cedar Mesa Sandstone, which gives Canyonlands its beautiful color.
Fins and Things
Trailhead: Lat: 38 34' 47" / Lon: 109 29' 55"
Directions: The trail begins a few miles east of Moab on Sand Flats Road. You pass the Moab dump, Lion's Back, Hell's Revenge, and the Slickrock Bike Trail along the way. The trail starts shortly thereafter on the right, although there are a number of turnoffs.
Description: Accessed by the Sand Flats Road, Navajo sandstone fins northeast of Moab supply the fun on this trail. As with almost all Moab trails, Fins and Things Trail is exceptionally scenic. The views look deep into Negro Bill Canyon and the red-rock rim at the base of the La Sal Mountains. There are some steep ups and downs that will cause those with longer overhangs to scrape.
Trailhead: Lat: 38 32' 44" / Lon: 109 35' 43"
Directions: Head northwest out of Moab on Highway 191. A mile or so past the Colorado River bridge, turn south on Highway 279 (Potash Road). After about 6 miles you'll find the trailhead for Poison Spider Mesa, which shares its beginning section with Golden Spike. The trail winds back above the Colorado River and Highway 279.
Description: One of Moab's premier hardcore trails, Golden Spike takes in much of Poison Spider Mesa and Gold Bar Rim. With lots of ledges, you need to be careful not to let your guard down. The scenery is great, with 360-degree cliff-edge views of Moab and its surroundings. Watch out for the Golden Crack, Golden Stairs, and the infamous Double Whammy.
Trailhead: Lat: 38 34' 31" / Lon: 109 31' 19"
Directions: The Hell's Revenge Trail begins just a little more than 1 mile northeast of Moab on Sand Flats Road. You'll pass the Moab dump on the right and Lion's Back on the left.
Description: Moab's premier slickrock trail is popular with four-wheelers, mountain bikers, and motorcyclists alike. Hell's Revenge traverses the slickrock between Sand Flats Road and the Colorado River. The view from all parts of the trail is wonderful. Stock 4x4s can travel much of Hell's Revenge, but some obstacles are double diamond. All obstacles can be driven around.
Trailhead: Lat: 38 33' 34" / Lon: 109 34' 56"
Directions: Head out of Moab on Kane Creek Road at the McDonald's on Highway 191. The trailhead is approximately 2-1/2 miles up Kane Creek Road on the left.
Description: The trip to the top of the rim west of town has the highest density of obstacles in the first mile of any of the nearby trails. The trail climbs a succession of rock ledges and features many tight turns as it makes its way to the top. The off-camber sections might not seem so bad if only they weren't tipping you toward the cliff's edge! One obstacle on the way up is called the Devil's Crack, where you can see the river below through the crack as you drive over it. On top, there are dunes to play in and a spur trail to Indian ruins and rock art.
Poison Spider Mesa
Trailhead: Lat: 38 32' 1" / Lon: 109 36' 24"
Directions: Head north out of Moab on Highway 191. About a mile past the Colorado River bridge, turn west on Highway 279. The trailhead is about 6 miles ahead on the right.
Description: Maybe Moab's most popular trail, Poison Spider leaves the Potash Road (check out the dinosaur tracks over your shoulder as you leave the road) and climbs to the scenic rim along sloping rock layers. Some of the ledges are quite difficult, but the views of the fins of Behind the Rocks and the La Sal Mountains are worth the drive. Up on top, there are a couple of short high-speed runs through pastureland, but most of the trail is tougher. A highlight is Little Arch, which you can look through and see the Colorado River far below.
Trailhead: Lat: 38 32' 8" / Lon: 109 35' 55"
Directions: Head out of Moab on Kane Creek Road at the McDonald's on Highway 191. The trailhead is about 4-1/2 miles ahead inside a campground. It lies just south of the Moab Rim Trail.
Description: Pritchett Canyon might be Moab's toughest trail. Starting from the Kane Springs Road, you pass through the campground and the fun begins. Sandy river bottoms, giant ledges, and difficult obstacles make Pritchett lots of fun for the hardcore four-wheeler. The steep-walled canyon and beautiful views make Pritchett a gem for passengers too. Highlights are obstacles that include Rocker Knocker, the Rock Pile, and Yellow Hill. All require the best equipment and skill.
Top of the World
Trailhead: Lat: 38 48' 38" / Lon: 109 18' 16"
Directions: The trail splits off Highway 128 just before the Dewey Bridge, about 30 miles northeast of Moab.
Description: The Top of the World is a 7,000-foot viewpoint on Waring Mesa. It affords a spectacular view of Fisher Valley, Onion Creek, and the La Sal Mountains. Onion Creek, so named because of the creek's onion-like smell, winds next to the beginning of the trail. There are some creek crossings, and at the beginning of the canyon you can choose to drive down the creek bed or take the high road out of the water. Once out of the canyon, the trail travels by the Taylor Ranch and takes a left to head up Rose Garden Hill, probably the longest climb of any Moab trail.
Directions: Upper Helldorado is located in Area BFE. Travel south on Highway 191 for approximately 13 miles. Just after the uphill passing lane comes to an end, take the first left. Follow the maintained dirt road and signs for about 3 miles to the cleared parking area on the left.
Description: Upper Helldorado in Upper Kane Springs Canyon is hardcore heaven. Those who aren't up to the challenge can't get past the first boulders guarding the entrance. There's a squeeze that usually tears tops off Jeeps and a breakover rock that hangs up all but the shortest 4x4s. Then, the trail presents a waterfall that most need a winch to get up, so don't go if you don't have a working winch.