Poison Spider Mesa

Moab, Utah (Grand County)

Last Updated: 09/12/2020
4.9 / 5 ( 7 reviews )
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 6-10
Length: 8.8 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
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Highlight: Poison Spider Mesa
Moab, Utah is one of the premier off-road and four-wheel drive destinations. Comprised of some of the most well-known trails in all of the 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. Comprised of slick rock, sand, and dirt, this trail offers drivers everything they are looking for and more. 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.



7 day forecast for Poison Spider Mesa

Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Lightly Modified 4X4 (Small Lift and Larger Tires)
There is several obstacles on this trail that 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 ledges up to 3 feet tall.

Technical Rating: 6-10

Rocky or undulated road surface. Potential rocks less than 36" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 36" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 84" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep and off-camber.
Read more about our rating system


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. 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 is also dinosaur tracks to the east of the bathrooms. There is a sign with more information to the east of the bathrooms.
2. Switchback Ledge (0.7 mi)
Continue uphill. There are multiple lines to choose from here.
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. Two Track (1.5 mi)
Continue straight on the main trail.
6. Two Track (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. This is also the most difficult part of the trail without a bypass.
9. V-Notch (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 there is a ledge that 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.
30. End (8.8 mi)
Return the way you came.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 38.532337, -109.609055

Starting Point: Moab, UT

From Moab UT, head north to Highway 279 (Potash Road), 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 wood cutting 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 (11)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Fun hot day. Not a lot of traffic.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Great trail - there are some points where it becomes static and a little boring but that is part of trail riding. Overall a great trail!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Only ran the trail up to waypoint 18 as I took Golden Spike over to Where Eagles Dare. The local clubs had recently done a lot of work closing off illegal routes and fixing downed fencing. Great job by those guys! The trail is a fun one with sporadic obstacles and some fast moving sections in between. For any rig on 37s+, there are not as many challenging obstacles as there would be if you are on smaller tires. Still a fun trip, but if you are on 37s or 40s, don't expect this to be a trail full of challenges. Longer wheelbase vehicles will also find this trail easier than short wheelbase.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
We had a few hours left on our trip so went up to the high speed mesa in a Nissan Xterra Pro-4X with 2" lift and a full suite of body protection (rails, front/rear bumper, full set of skids). We hit the trail at 7am on a Sunday and didn't see anyone until heading back down. It's a challenge in a rig like mine but with thoughtful line selection it isn't crazy. Really fun!

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Video from our EJS trip taking the Brand NEW Stock Wrangler with only 11 miles on the vehicle up the trail.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
One of my favorite trail in Moab. Nice day and minimal traffic on the trail.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
I think Poison Spider is the trail that you want to do, if you could only do ONE trail in Moab. It has so much of everything. From sand, to high speed, to technical rock crawling, to amazing vista's with snow in Colorado in the background, to the river below, to even an Arch to remind you. I don't think it can be fully appreciated in one trip, and this trail will have my attention for years to come.

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Ran the trail with a stock 2019 JLU rubicon… Lockers were not needed and that jeep make the trail look easy. I also brought my CJ7 for the more insane / impossible lines.

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Had a great time on poison spider with very few people out there. Probably due to the heat. The trail was clearly marked and presented a good challenge. I recommend high clearance and having lockers would be a great help. I also recommend having a spotter on obstacles like the waterfall which do not have a bypass

Status: Open
Offroaded on:
One of my favorite trails in the Moab area. Awesome view of Moab from the ridge where the portal mt bike trail starts down. Most of the really steep or off camber places have a bypass .

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
Full Video of the lower part of the trail.

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.