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Poison Spider down Gold Bar Rim

The Poison Spider Mesa Trail and the Gold Bar Rim Trail, 2 of Moab's greatest rides

 

The Poison Spider Mesa Trail combined with the Gold Bar Rim trail is one heck of a mountain biking epic not to be missed.

This combination offers the experienced Mountain biker hours and hours of fun, scenic, fast, scary, and technical mayhem under the Moab sun.

 

Poison Spider Gold Bar Rim Trail Map

Poison Spider Gold Bar Rim Trail Elevation

 

  Trail Stats & Information

Nearby Town: Moab
Length: I clocked 22.14 miles
Trail Type: P2P [ Point 2 Point ]
Skill Level: [what the books say] no info
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate to challenging. Physically challenging. Navigating Gold Bar Rim can be quite a challenging
Duration: It took me 8.50 hours, but can be done in 6 hours
Trailhead Elev: Poison Spider = 4,037 ft – Gold Bar = 4,576 ft
Top Elev: 5,446 feet

 

Book Description

 

POISON SPIDER :

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.

 

 

GOLD BAR RIM :

This is the deep end of the pool, the brink of mountain biking, the pinnacle of the sport, a ride only fit for the strong, smart and skilled–a place where others can qualify for the Darwin Awards. The surface is the most varied possible. The only missing ingredients are mud and water crossings. There are ledges, deep sand, loose rock, hardpack, slickrock, gigantic rock rubble, and every combination of these you can imagine. This ride is extremely dangerous! Despite the inherent danger of the exposed cliff, the Portal Trail is the emergency hatch to and from Poison Spider Mesa and the Gold Bar Rim in case of a storm or accident. Two deaths almost closed the trail in 1998. If we are to believe the BLM, one more is all it is going to take. This is the most challenging, beautiful, and awe inspiring mountain bike ride on earth. Treat it like it’s sacred. Respect it. Love it. Care for it. Most of all, fear it.

 

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My Experience

 

The Poison Spider Mesa Trail is one of my favorite Moab rides, but I always loop it with the Portal Trail.

The Gold Bar Rim Trail is listed in my “Best 15 mtb trails in the USA” but I have only ever come up the Gold Bar Rim and down Portal as a P2P.

I was really stoked about combining these two fantastic trails and riding them as a P2P.

I knew from experience it was going to be a long day, but I didn’t realize just how long it was going to take me. Luckily I had a very early start, at the crack of dawn, I was on the Poison Spider, I knew I would easily clear the Poison before anyone else even started on the trail.. Great, I was all alone on the Poison, this gave me plenty of time to take pics, shoot vids, and to just relax and enjoy the the trail.
The sun was still on the horizon, so the temp. on the Poison was very comfortable, I was on top form, and so was my loyal steed. We cleared the Poison incl. a side trip to the Arch in under 3 hours.

Once at the top of Poison, on the “Rim” I relaxed and prepared for the long and tricky Gold Bar Rim. For some reason I thought it was gonna be all downhill from this point, I was wrong in a big way, it was a lot of up’s and down’s, and by now the sun was high enough for the Rim to start heating up.

I veered off the Gold Bar Rim and took the extremely technical “Blue Bar” Trail. I will not say much about this trail, except that it is an Illegal Trail, closed to protect the Big Horn Sheep. I did not know this at the time, and going down Gold Bar Rim it is not at all clear that this trail is illegal, however coming “up” Gold Bar Rim it is clearly stenciled in the Rock. I will add that the “Blue Bar Trail” is extremely technical, and certain areas are VERY Dangerous, certain sections on this trail makes the “Portal Trail” seem like a walk in the Park.

Please respect the Laws of the Trails, and stay on the Gold Bar Rim

If you have never done the Gold Bar Rim Trail before, it can be very tricky to navigate, at one point you will be following the “Gold Spike Trail” and then it will be the “Gold Bar Trail” you should not attempt this trail without a good map.

The Gold Bar offers some fantastic technical sections, I was happy to have cleared a few, but most of them were too tricky for me.

Remember, this is a long and very remote trail, do not take any risks on this trail, if anything goes wrong, you are a long way from anywhere, and it could be days before you see someone else.

 

 

Conclusion

Well, I have to be honest, we are talking about two of Moab’s greatest trails, no matter how you approach them, you are going to be guaranteed a ride of your life. The Poison is scenic, fun and moderately technical, and can be done as an Out and Back, or looped with the Portal Trail, or as a P2P with the Gold Bar. As a P2P with Gold Bar, this becomes a technical and remote trail. 24 remote miles of Moab splendor, don’t under estimate the Gold Bar Rim, it’s a tricky trail, and a LOT can go wrong on this Trail.

For everyone that like myself likes a bit of a challenge and remote rides, then this combination of coming up the Poison Spider, and down the Gold Bar Rim could be the best mountain biking experience you could wish for.

This combination is NOT suited for anyone without some navigation skills, the remoteness is your best friend, or your worst enemy on this trail.

And as the guide book states : Treat it like it’s sacred. Respect it. Love it. Care for it. Most of all, fear it.

 

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : 3 moto crossers, that were seriously lost, and needed my help 3 times to get back to the main road.
Wild Life : none
Scenery : Absolutely Fantastic Moab Scenery
Other : This is a very remote ride, carry ALL your spare parts in case anything happens. Carry a good Map, and know how to use it. and carry as much fluids as you can. If you get lost, head back up to the “Rim” and follow it back towards Moab and head down the Portal or back down the Poison Spider.

 

My Trail Rating : 10 / 10 with a GOLD Star


Moab Rim CamparkPoison Spider – Gold Bar Rim Trail review is proudly sponsored by :

Moab Rim Campark

At Moab Rim Campark mountain bikers will definitely feel at home among other mountain bikers at this Mountain Biker Friendly Camp groud.
Bike wash, grassy shaded tent sites with stunning views, Full hook ups, semi hook ups, cabins, group shelters, sheltered areas to tinker on the bikes, and lots more.

The Poison Spider – Gold bar Rim Trail is just 20 min. drive from your campsite
Moab Rim Campsite has been recommended by “Mountain Bike Mayhem” 5 years running.

Mountain Bikers get 10% discount, just bring your bike(s) and mention MOUNTAIN BIKE MAYHEM

For more info vist : Moab Rim Campark

 

Trail Videos taken on the Poison Spider and Gold Bar Rim Trail. Oct. 2011

 

 

 

 

 

 

Flat Pass Trail

Flat Pass Trail aka Steel Bender - Moab Oct. 2011

 

The Flat Pass trail is a fantastic trail, and chances are that if you can ride this trail on a week day, you will have the trail to yourself. Flat Pass Trail and Steel Bender are not really the same trail, Flat Pass is ideal for mountain bikers, and follows the Steel Bender that is the 4×4 trail, the only difference is, the Steel Bender is about 2 miles longer. For anyone planning a trip to Moab to Mountain Biking should definitely put Flat Pass Trail on the list of “Must do” trails.

 

Flat Pass Trail Map

 

  Trail Stats & Information

Nearby Town: Moab Length: Guide book states 15.5 total miles, I myself clocked 19.4 miles from Kens Lake Trailhead and 21.76 miles from Moab Rim Campark

Trail Type: Loop [ out & back is an option ]

Skill Level: [what the books say] Technically difficult to extreme. Physically moderate to difficult.

Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate to challenging. Physically moderate

Duration: Book say’s 2-4 hours my time 5.56 hours

Trailhead Elev: 5,200 feet

Top Elev: 6,000 feet

 

 

Book Description

The ride is highlighted by vandalized petroglyphs, rolling hills with sever transitions at the bottom, and some very beautiful views of the Moab Valley. There are a couple of spots on the trail that can sneak up on you, so keep your eyes on the trail and give blind turns and dips a lot of respect. I you enjoy technical challenge, deep stream crossings, transitions, vertical ridges, gaps and pits, knee-high ledges, rollies, plateaus, babyheads, death-grip-jackhammer stuff into deep sand, weird sliced-bread bedrock, and a ride that can be done form Moab, the Flat Pass is the trail. Trail Surface: Bedrock, loose rock, sand and babyheads on a technical 4WD track, with substantial creek crossings.

 

 

My Experience

I had heard a lot of good things about the Flat Pass Trail, and it has been on my to do list for a few years, the only reason I kept postponing this ride was because of the high amount of “Road Miles” needed to loop this trail. The trailhead is easy to find, just head for Kens Lake. The trails starts with a easy climb on a gravel road to the Flat Pass. At this point you head down, and have to make a sharp left and cross the creek, or just do as I did, and miss the turn-off and carry on up a dead end trail untill you realize it ain’t going anywhere, so you will have to turn around and back track. Once on the real trail, which is mostly slickrock, the real enjoyment begins. The trail climbs moderately with plenty of obstacles to keep you busy, and it’s actual a fun climb. The fun continues until you top out, then you get some really fun sections of hard packed sand.. open up here and ride like a bat out of hell, until you hit the rocky downhill section. Technically quite challenging, but nothing too serious, it’s just a fun bumpy downhill, choose your path, and stick to it. There are a few high drop-offs, but I always managed to find a safe way down.. All in all the trail section of the Flat Pass Trail is fantastic, with a high fun factor, and offers stunning Moab scenery. This trail does not attract the crowds like numerous other Moab Trails does.  

 

Conclusion

This time I started from Moab Rim Campark and looped the whole trail in just under 22 miles. The last time I started at Kens Lake Trailhead, and clocked just under 21 miles. The only downside of the Flat Pass trail is about 50% is on the road. Once you are actually off the road and on the trail, it is absolutely fantastic, and any mountain biker is guaranteed to have a fantastic time. The trail is easy to follow, but you will definitely need a map if you have never done this trail before, as there are a few other nameless trails branching off. There are in total 4 creek crossings on this trail, and my advice is to get your feet wet, and carry your steed across. I did not do this, and after each creek crossing there is a foot of sand and your rear derailleur really gets gunked up. Once on the trail, try and avoid the far sides of the trail, even if it seems the perfect line, try and stay within 2 feet from the sides. I learned the hard way, and had a total of 7 punctures from thorns. For anyone with a bit of extra time and energy, I would suggest riding Flat Pass as an Out and Back, it would shave about 5 miles off the total milage, which means it would be about 16 miles of fantastic pure mountain biking miles.  

 

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : none, I had the trail to myself.

Wild Life : none

Scenery : Absolutely Fantastic Moab Scenery

Other : Carry a proper map, and like all Moab trails a good puncture outfit and extra inner-tubes, and carry your bike across the creek, the sand will gunk your derailleur.  

 

My Trail Rating : 8.5 / 10 [ As a P2P I would give this trail a 10/10 ]

 

 

Moab Rim CamparkThis Flat Pass Trail review is proudly sponsored by :

Moab Rim Campark

At Moab Rim Campark mountain bikers will definitely feel at home among other mountain bikers at this Mountain Biker Friendly Campgroud.
Bike wash, grassy shaded tent sites with stunning views, Full hook ups, semi hook ups, cabins, group shelters, sheltered areas to tinker on the bikes, and lots more.

The Flat Pass Trail can be looped from your campsite.
Moab Rim Campsite has been recommended by “Mountain Bike Mayhem” 5 years running.

Mountain Bikers get 10% discount, just bring your bike(s) and mention MOUNTAIN BIKE MAYHEM

For more info vist : Moab Rim Campark


 

 

 

 

Trail Videos taken on the Flat Pass Trail. Oct. 2011  

 

 

 

Flat Pass Trail Moab

Flat Pass Trail Moab, also known as Steel Bender

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If there is one thing there is not a shortage of in Moab, it is Mountain Biking Trails. Everyone has a favorite trail here in Moab, but usually you only hear about  Slickrock,  Porcupine, Sovereign etc. However, the Flat Pass Trail, also known as the Steel Bender, has quite a following of mountain bikers that put this trail on the top of their “Favorites” list.
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Flat Pass Trail Map

Trail Stats & Information

Nearby Town: Moab
Length: Guide book states 15.5 total miles, I myself clocked 19.4 miles
Trail Type: Loop
Skill Level: [what the books say] Technically difficult to extreme. Physically moderate to difficult.
Skill Level: [My Opinion] Technically moderate. Physically moderate
Duration: Book say’s 2-4 hours [ ?? 2 hours!! ] my time 4.07 hours
Trailhead Elev: 5,200 feet
Top Elev: 6,000 feet

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Book Description

The ride is highlighted by vandalized petroglyphs, rolling hills with sever transitions at the bottom, and some very beautiful views of the Moab Valley. There are a couple of spots on the trail that can sneak up on you, so keep your eyes on the trail and give blind turns and dips a lot of respect. I you enjoy technical challenge, deep stream crossings, transitions, vertical ridges, gaps and pits, knee-high ledges, rollies, plateaus, babyheads, death-grip-jackhammer stuff into deep sand, weird sliced-bread bedrock, and a ride that can be done form Moab, the Flat Pass is the trail. Trail Surface: Bedrock, loose rock, sand and babyheads on a technical 4WD track, with substantial creek crossings.


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My Experience

I had heard a lot of good things about the Flat Pass Trail, and it has been on my to do list for a few years, the only reason I kept postponing this ride was because of the high amount of “Road Miles” needed to loop this trail.
The trailhead is easy to find, just head for Kens Lake. The trails starts with a easy climb on a gravel road to the Flat Pass. At this point you head down, and have to make a sharp left and cross the creek, or just do as I did, and miss the turn-off and carry on up a dead end trail untill you realize it ain’t going anywhere, so you will have to turn around and back track.

Once on the real trail, which is mostly slickrock, the real enjoyment begins. The trail climbs moderately with plenty of obstacles to keep you busy, and it’s actual a fun climb. The fun continues until you top out, then you get some really fun sections of hard packed sand.. open up here and ride like a bat out of hell, until you hit the rocky downhill section. Technically quite challenging, but nothing too serious, it’s just a fun bumpy downhill, choose your path, and stick to it. There are a few high drop-offs, but I always managed to find a safe way down..

All in all the trail section of the Flat Pass Trail is fantastic, with a high fun factor, and offers stunning Moab scenery. This trail does not attract the crowds like numerous other Moab Trails does.

Conclusion

The Flat Pass Trail is definitely a “must do” ride if you are in Moab, and I will definitely be doing this one again in the near future. However, I will approach this trail in a different way. Other options for this trail is to ride it as an “Out & Back”  which is about the same mileage as  a loop. Another loop option is to park your vehicle at the end of the trail, and do the road section first, get it behind you, and end the trail on a high. Or if you are lucky enough to be able to get a shuttle, and ride it as a P2P [ point 2 point ]

One bit of important advice for this trail is if you have never done it before, make sure you take a “proper” trail map, ‘cos there are numerous very confusing spots on this trail where the sign posts are missing  and with numerous trails branching off .

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : none, I had the trail to myself.
Wild Life : A Rattlesnake [ I almost sat on it ]
Scenery : Absolutely Fantastic Moab  Scenery
Other : Carry a proper map, and like all Moab trails a good puncture outfit and extra inner-tubes [ Moab trails are notorious for causing punctures]

My Trail Rating : 8.5 / 10 [ As a P2P I would give this trail a 10/10 ]

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Moab Rim CamparkThe Flat Pass trail review is proudly sponsored by :

Moab Rim Campark

At Moab Rim Campark mountain bikers will definitely feel at home among other mountain bikers at this Mountain Biker Friendly Campgroud.
Bike wash, grassy shaded tent sites with stunning views, Full hook ups, semi hook ups, cabins, group shelters, sheltered areas to tinker on the bikes,  and lots more.

Flat Pass Trail can be done directly from your campsite as a loop, there is no need for a shuttle.
Moab Rim Campsite has been recommended by “Mountain Bike Mayhem” 4 years running.

Mountain Bikers get 10% discount, just bring your bike(s) and mention MOUNTAIN BIKE MAYHEM

For more info vist : Moab Rim Campark

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