The Poison Spider Messa and down Portal was one of last years favorite trails. The Poison Spider Messa is definitely a trail that you either love or hate. This trail can make a grown man cry. Poison Spider Mesa is technically, physically and mentally a challenge.
Trail Stats & Information
Nearby City: Moab
Length: 12.5 miles [ loop]
Trail Type: Loop or Out & Back
Skill Level: [ what the books say ] Technically moderate to extremely difficult. Physically moderate to extremely difficult.
Skill Level: [ my opinion ] Technically moderate to extremely difficult. Physically moderate to difficult.
Duration: 3-6 hours [ My time : 3.36 hours ]
Trailhead Elev: 4,550 feet
Top Elev: 5400 feet
This technically and physically difficult ride can be done as a loop or as an out-and-back, with a turnaround point at a beautiful arch or at the rim overlooking Moab Valley a few more miles to the north. The trek starts with a relentless climb over little babyheads, leads through areas of deep sand and technical bedrock, then eventually flattens out into a ledgy romp. After some sandy curves and a bit of confusing route finding you are presented with some outrageously steep slickrock knobs that are a blast to ride for advanced cyclists. Once on the slickrock the ride can be free formed by those with good navigating skills, or you can follow the trail markings that appear as little jeeps. Keeping the jeeps oriented in the same direction is the secret to following the trail out to the rim. At any point you may also simply turn around and go back the way you came in. Trail Surface: 4WD doubletrack, slickrock, and extremely technical and dangerous singletrack, if you choose to take the Portal Trail option. Loose rock, stream worn rocks up to the size of babyheads, deep sand, slickrock, hardpack to loose sedimentary soil, and bedrock ledges on a classic technical 4WD track.
I love this trail, it offers everything you could wish for on a Moab ride. I have done this trail at least 5 times in the past 4 years, and I have never seen more than 2 people on the trail, that was until now. It has become obvious that “timing” is very important on this trail ( and probably all Moab Trails] I had planned this ride the day before, and I always leave pretty early, but in this case, due to the weather I had a late start… and so did what seems like everyone in Moab. The trail was very busy with mtb’ers and 4wd’ers. Thankfully this was not the first time to do this trail, I know how the Poison Spider Mesa can be if the timing is right.
The Poison Spider is a fantastic and scenic ride on mostly slickrock. It is a strenuous ride, and certain sections are technically very challenging.
Once on the Poison Spider, there are numerous options, Loop it with the infamous Portal Trail, or ride it as an out and back, or for the real “Gear Grinders” ride it as a Point to Point connecting onto the Gold Bar Rim Trail [ this last option is better done in reverse order, starting with Gold Bar Trail, and head down the Poison Spider ]
Anyone in Moab for a few days should definitely add the Poison Spider to their “To Do” list.
For a description of the infamous Portal Trail click here [ coming soon ]
I love the Poison Spider Mesa and Portal Trail, this ride does not come easy, and if given the chance, it will tear you apart!!. My advice is to ride the Trail as a leisurely picnic and not a race. Chicken heads, Baby heads, 2 feet high dragons teeth, ankle deep sand, mental singletrack and 600 ft sheer drops will try and get you to hate this trail. There is absolutely no point at all trying to beat a world record on this trail, it just won’t happen. Put your steed into granny gear, put a smile on your chops and just enjoy the scenery, and before you know it, 4 hours later you will be back where you started, and you will still have that big smile on your chops.
In my books the Poison Spider Mesa Trail and down the Portal Trail is an absolute must Moab ride.
Traffic on Trail : VERY busy [ read above why it was busy today, usually this trail is pretty quiet ]
Wild Life : who needs wildlife on a ride like this!?
Scenery : Absolutely Fantastic 360 degree 3D Scenery
Other : Bring LOTS of water on this one. The Portal should NOT be attempted by anyone with a fear of heights, a death wish, or people lacking brain cells, mountain bikers have died on this section
My Trail Rating : 8.5 / 10