Tag Archive for: poison spider mesa

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



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.




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.



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.




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

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







Part 1 of a Moab Trails in HDR Compilation. These HDR photo’s were taken on the Hidden Valley onto Moab Rim Trail, Flat Pass Trail, Poison Spider Mesa Trail and the Portage Trail in Moab Utah.