Poison Spider Mesa

Moab, Utah (Grand County)

Last Updated: 04/13/2022
4.9 / 5 ( 17 reviews )
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Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 5-8
Length: 8.63 miles
Highest Elevation: 4980 feet
Duration: About 5 hours
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Moab
Nearest Town w/ Services: Moab
Official Road Name: Poison Spider
Management Agency: BLM
District: Moab Field Office


Highlight: Poison Spider Mesa
Moab is one of the premier off-road and four-wheel drive destinations. Comprised of some of the most well-known trails in all United States, it has trail types that suit all drivers wheeling desires. Some would call it an "off-roader's paradise." Amongst these trails, Poison Spider is one of the more popular "hard" trails in the entire area. Not only do you get amazing wheeling, but you can also take in the inspiring Little Arch with a view of the Colorado River behind it. The very bold will continue to Golden Spike, Where Eagles Dare, and finish up on Gold Bar Rim to be known as the few that have finished what is known as "The Trifecta."


Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Lightly Modified 4X4 (Small Lift and Larger Tires)
Several obstacles on this trail give it the rating it receives. Waypoint 8 is the only obstacle you can't bypass, which has several waterfalls up to 6 feet tall. It also has some waterfalls / near verticle ledges up to 3 feet tall.

Technical Rating

Rocky or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 24" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 24" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 54" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep and off-camber.
Read more about our rating system

Community Consensus

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The trail is comprised of slick rock, sand, and dirt with plenty of waterfalls and hill climbs. Even though most obstacles have a bypass, there are still several obstacles that you have to run. Expect 6 ft+ waterfalls, steeper than 50-degree inclines, and plenty of drops that you drag off. It is recommended that you have a lift and lockers before trying this trail. However, it can be run in a stock Jeep with very careful line placement. Note: The .gpx track available here is of the hardest lines possible on the trail. Stop at each obstacle and pick your route. When in doubt, follow the white tracks painted on the road surface.


1. Trailhead (0 mi)
There is plenty of parking area to air down before taking on the trail. Travel straight up the trail. This follows a shelf road with easy switchbacks. There are also dinosaur tracks to the east of the bathrooms. There is a sign with more information.
2. Switchback Ledge (0.7 mi)
Continue uphill at the first obstacle. There are multiple lines to choose from here. Looking back, you can see the elevation you have climbed and the river below.
3. Obstacle with Bypass (0.9 mi)
Continue straight to take on the obstacle, or take the route to the left/southeast to bypass.
4. 3-5 Foot Ledge with Bypass (1.1 mi)
This is a double-step obstacle with a bypass on the right/north.
5. Smooth Dirt Section (1.5 mi)
Continue straight on the main trail.
6. Spur (1.9 mi)
Continue straight on the main trail.
7. Prelaunch Pad (2 mi)
This is the first big optional big obstacle. The bypass is on the right/east.
8. Required Waterfalls and S-Turn (2.3 mi)
Continue uphill. This is a series of sections that you must climb. This is also the most difficult part of the trail without a bypass.
9. V-Notch with Bypass (2.7 mi)
The bypass goes up and around to the left/northwest.
10. Obstacle with Bypass (2.9 mi)
Continue following the trail around. Just before you turn the corner, a ledge can be bypassed to the left/northwest. The next and immediate obstacle has a hard or easy line.
11. Obstacle with Bypass (3 mi)
Continue straight to take on the ledges, or follow the trail to the left/west for the bypass.
12. High Speed Mesa (3.3 mi)
The easy part of this trail, High Speed Mesa gives you a change to take it out of 4wd and open it up.
13. Mesa Trailhead (3.4 mi)
Continue straight on the main trail.
14. Grave Site (Fake) ( mi)
A popular attraction, the fake grave of Mary Jane was rumored to be the reason for the trail getting its name. As the story goes, a little girl got bitten by a poisonous spider costing her her life.
15. End High Speed Mesa (4.7 mi)
The end of High Speed Mesa is greeted with several very steep drops.
16. Steep Obstacle with Bypass (4.8 mi)
The bypass is to the left/west that wraps around these steep obstacles. There is plenty of space here to play on the slickrock obstacles or lunch down below at the Sand Bowl.
17. Sand Bowl (4.8 mi)
The trail continues to the north. This is fun play area to kick up the sand.
18. Golden Spike Trailhead (5 mi)
Continue right/northeast.
19. Begin Loop (5.2 mi)
Run the loop counter-clockwise, stay right/east.
20. Big Hill (5.3 mi)
The trail goes uphill.
21. Obstacle with Bypass (5.4 mi)
Continue straight for the steep obstacle, or the bypass is on the left/north.
22. Obstacle with Bypass (5.6 mi)
There is a bypass before the hill on the right/south. There are two options for this hill; straight up, or making the turn along the slope for off-camber fun.
23. Little Arch (5.6 mi)
A large parking area on top of this slick rock, Little Arch is off to the Northeast Corner. It's a very short hike to the arch and if you are daring you can walk out on it. (FYI, there is no recovery if you fall from the arch.)
24. Big Hill (5.7 mi)
Follow the marks uphill.
25. Big Hole (5.9 mi)
As you come up the hill, mind the big hole.
26. Barnes Overlook Trailhead (6.3 mi)
Continue the main trail straight.
27. Hill with Options (6.6 mi)
The main trail veers right/northeast here. This slickrock in front of you is optional.
28. To The Overlook (7.2 mi)
Continue the main trail southeast.
29. Sand Dunes (8.1 mi)
Continue straight down the dunes. Notice the stormy skies and the views you can have from on top of Poison Spider Mesa
30. End (8.8 mi)
Continue on to finish the loop and end back at Waypoint 19. From here, you can return back down Poison Spider or try your luck on Golden Spike.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Moab, Utah

Head north to Highway 279 (Potash Road), and turn left. Take Potash Road 5.9 miles to the trailhead and parking lot on your right.


Not allowed
There is no dispersed camping in the immediate area. Remember, when using free designated sites, you are required to remove all solid human waste from the area. Campers are required to possess, set up, and use portable toilets. Campers may not bury, or leave exposed, solid human body waste and soiled toilet paper. The disposal of solid human waste off public land is required. You must camp only in marked sites, and no woodcutting is allowed. Following these simple rules will ensure that the sites are attractive to future campers. Enjoy your stay! The Moab Field Office maintains 26 campgrounds. Many of the campgrounds are located close to Arches National Park along the Colorado River. These campgrounds offer views of spectacular red rock cliffs amidst a green ribbon of vegetation. http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/moab/recreation/campgrounds.html
Camping: Poison Spider Mesa

Trail Reviews (22)

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Josh Noesser

Mapping Crew - California

Joshua Noesser grew up in Southern California but has lived in different parts of the country during his young adult life. Josh was first turned to four wheeling when he road with one of his friends dad up Surprise Canyon in the Panamint Valley at age14. After nearly 3 different roll overs later and a half dozen intense waterfalls, Josh was hooked. At 16 he purchased his first Jeep a CJ 7 and by 17 was putting his first locker in it. Currently, Josh is the owner and CEO of Nybble, an IT Solutions Company based in Orange County, California. Nybble isn't your normal IT company where everyone stays in and plays video games. Nybble's average company trip is out on the trails since a good amount of his staff enjoy wheeling too. As Josh likes to say, he offers the only IT Company with the ability to provide services in extreme locations. "If you want a server at the top of The Hammers, we will take care of that for you." Today you can find Josh out on the trail behind the wheel in one of his three different off-road vehicles. See the vehicles below for more information. If you ever run into Josh, please say high, he is a very friendly person and is always happy to have a new person join the group.
For individual use only, not to be shared.