10 votes

Poison Spider Mesa

Moab, Utah USA

Free to Visit
  • Independent
  • Pet Friendly
  • Not Wheelchair
  • No Public

“1 of Utah's most scenic routes”

The route visits the mesa top just north of the Colorado River and west of Moab Valley, and it reaches overlooks of the river and valley. The expanses of unbroken slickrock and views of the Behind the Rocks area and the La Sal Mountains make it one of the most scenic routes in the area.  From the center of Moab, travel north on Highway 191 for 5.9 miles and turn left on Highway 279. Continue 6 miles from this junction until you reach the "Dinosaur Tracks" sign, where the route leaves the pavement. (Non-licensed vehicles must start here.) Although there are spur routes, the strongest route climbs switchbacks, and each higher level reveals more of the fins and mountains. After the last leg of the switchbacks, mounds of spectacularly cross-bedded Navajo Sandstone appear on the right, and the route skirts these mounds until it enters a sandy canyon. Watch carefully for the route as you climb out of the canyon--it turns on the first ledge, entering a slot to climb higher. These rocky climbs are the most difficult part of the route.  he route crosses areas of rock and approaches another slot. A slickrock bypass is marked to the left to avoid the side hill in the slot. After an area of sand, a final short, steep climb puts you on a flat area of Navajo Sandstone distinguished by a scattering of rounded, black rocks. The rest of the route is mostly on top of the Navajo  Sandstone, but it continues to climb with the rock strata as they tip up toward the east. The route parallels the river on this flat mesa area for about a mile and is usually the obvious choice over the few spurs that branch right and left. After a smooth dirt section, the route drops onto another slickrock area where a short spur toward the river  gives beautiful overlooks. The route then splits to begin a loop. The recommended  counterclockwise direction around the loop requires a turn to the right to reach a large mass of slickrock. Past a large pothole, a startlingly steep descent leads to a short dirt section and a side hill climb onto a slick rock parking area. A short walk to the right takes you to a good-sized pothole-type arch called "Little Arch," presumably for its apparent size from the river below.  The marked route traverses another large section of slickrock and eventually drops into a sandy wash bottom. The route soon leaves the left side of the wash on a slickrock slope and follows a sandy route to another slickrock mass. After returning to the junction at the base of the sandy hill, continue the loop up the hill where it alternates between loose sand and sandstone. When you reach the largest sand hill, you will see why the recommended loop direction was chosen to go down the sand. The route continues on sand and sandstone to close the large loop and retraces the earlier trail back to the highway.  This is one of the most popular trails in Moab and is often combined with Golden Spike and Gold Bar Rim. (Both available as FunTreks eGuides.) Poison Spider Mesa is a fun-filled combination of challenging obstacles and incredible scenery. Don't miss impressive Little Arch near cliff edge overlooking Moab. Mountain biking is extremely popular on this trail. Drive with caution and be courteous to bikers at all times. Open all year weather permitting. Best time to go: Spring and Fall. Located on BLM land. For current status call Bureau of Land Management, Moab Field Office at (435) 259-2100. 

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Reviewed by
James Fisher

  • Road Warrior
  • 518 Reviews
  • 388 Helpful
February 04, 2016
Rated 4.0

Really great 4WD trails up here on top of a Mesa overlooking Moab. Some fun obstacles on the way up the mesa. Don't start it too late in the day, as it can be easy to get lost when the trail gets towards its end, and there is no signal to get a map up. Or, erm, you could take one with you. Anyway we did that! Luckily getting lost up here at night in a Jeep is a lot of fun :)

2 people found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Nicole Ward

  • 46 Reviews
  • 3 Helpful
August 10, 2015
Rated 5.0

We also took the 4X4 trail. This is by far the most fun trail in Moab. It is challenging and has some fun features like an arch that you can take a short hike to, great overlooks, and an awesome sand dune. There are some great challenges so make sure that you read up on it before you go. Most challenges have a bypass.

1 person found this review helpful

Reviewed by
Kathleen Oanes

  • Road Warrior
  • 79 Reviews
  • 41 Helpful
August 20, 2014
Rated 3.0

We took the 4x4 Trail. It sure was a day full of great adventure! If you are to visit this place, make sure that you alot half day minimum. The scenery was really majestic. Our photos couldn't do the place any justice. Take lots of water with you, especially if you're going during summer. The whole path was awesome and really fun. Just make sure that your vehicle is in good condition before taking the trail.

1 person found this review helpful

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