Moab Utah - Poison Spider Mesa Trail

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Last updated 09/06/2015

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Few OHV experiences can rival the fun of riding an ATV in Utah’s Moab backcountry. An endless variety of undulating and challenging terrain combined with spectacular scenery provide an unforgettable experience.

It’s easy to find your way around the small town of Moab. Main St (Hwy 191) runs north and south all the way through town. Center St and Main St, where Moab Information Center is located, marks the center of town. If you need lodging or camping, it is a good idea to call well in advance.

There are several places in Moab to rent ATV’s. Check for latest information or just drive down Main St. You should check Utah’s OHV Laws ( or call 800-648-7433.

Using your GPS for each trail
I have included Way Points for the trail. Also, in the description below, I have included complete instructions on the trail. I would print or copy the instructions off if you plan on using these Way Points.

Poison Spider Mesa Trail

Highlights: An unforgettable ATV riding experience for those skilled enough to do it. A very popular Jeep, motorcycle and mountain bike trail that can get busy at peak times. Share the road and be courteous to everyone. Trail is marked with white Jeep symbols, but it is still easy to get lost. Don’t miss arch at WP5. Follow signs to dinosaur tracks near parking lot. Take plenty of water and a good camera. This is a very difficult and dangerous trail. Many high rock ledges and tippy spots. This is for advanced riders only. Trail begins with rocky climb up steep switchbacks to a broad and beautiful mesa. If you have problems with the switchbacks, don’t go any further – it gets much worse. A ¼ mile section beginning with “The Waterfall” will test your riding skills. A few easy sections provide some relief as you proceed. Don’t miss a critical turn at WP1. A white arrow points right to the loop portion of Poison Spider. If you miss this turn, you’ll end up on Golden Spike Jeep Trail (another very difficult trail). This description takes you clockwise around the loop. Jeeps usually go the other way. The eastern side of loop is very confusing. I find it easier to follow this portion of trail from north to south. Two side roads go to incredible overlooks.

Getting There: From Moab, take Hwy 191 north about 1.5 miles after crossing the Colorado River, turn left on Potash Road 279. Drive 5.8 miles south and turn right into well-marked parking area.

  1. Staging (mile 0) – Proceed southwest from parking lot. Trail turns west and begins climb up rocky switchbacks.
  2. (miles 2.4) – After an easy stretch, enter a narrow canyon and approach “The Waterfall”. Follow trail right after second ledge. Two very difficult spots follow.
  3. (miles 2.9) – Stay left up steep rock mound to bypass the “V” Notch, a popular Jeeb obstacle.
  4. (miles 3.6) – Follow trail marker to left where road goes right.
  5. (miles 4.1) – Begin easy stretch across flat mesa.
  6. (miles 5.2) – Easy stretch ends. Drop downhill and follow switchback to left then sharp right at bottom of hill.
  7. (miles 5.4) – Bear left and climb ledge onto slab of slickrock. Look for black tire marks on rock.
  8. WP1 (miles 5.5) – Look for white arrow painted on rock that points right. If you miss this important turn, you’ll end up on Golden Spike Jeep Trail. Follow arrow off ledge to right.
  9. WP2 (miles 5.7/0.0) – Bear left to start loop. Easy to miss this turn. Jeep symbols go both ways.
  10. (miles 0.6) – Pass through area of small, fun sand dunes. Continue northwest, then trail turns northesast.
  11. WP3 (miles 1.7/0.0) – Bear right to continue loop. Left goes to overlook and Portal Bike Trail.
  12. WP4 (miles 0.6/0.0) – Stay right to continue loop. Left climbs steep hill to outstanding overlook with great views and wind-protected alcove.
  13. (miles 0.7) – Circle around giant pothole.
  14. WP5 (miles 1.1) – Look for word “ARCH” and arrow painted on rock. Arch should be visible to southwest. Hard right takes you down a dangerous, tippy slope. Better to continue straight then turn right through patch of trees. Follow trail markers back to WP2 and turn left.
  15. Staging (mile 7.3) – Return to start.