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Amasa Back Pothole Arch and Rockstacker Trail 2011

Amasa Back Moab

Miles and Miles of stunning scenery on the Amasa Back Trail Moab

 

The Amasa Back – Pothole Arch and Rock Stacker Trail is in my opinion Moab’s most scenic trail, and if planned well is also one of Moab’s best rides. This trail can also be a complete nightmare, extremely busy, so be well prepared when planning this beauty.

 

amasa back Rock Stacker trail Map

Amasa Back RockStacker elevation

Trail Stats & Information Amasa Back

Nearby Town: Moab
Length: 12.95 miles
Trail Type: Out & Back (lollipop) or loop with Jackson (not recommended)
Skill Level: [what the books say] Technically very difficult to extreme. Physically very difficult.
Skill Leve
l: [My Opinion] Technically moderate to extreme . Physically moderate / demanding
Duration
: Book say’s 3-4 hours my time 5.07 hours
Trailhead Elev
: 4,000 feet
Top Elev
: 4,886 feet

Book Description

You’ll want to watch the first 100 feet of this trail. It can ruin your ride in a hurry. The entire trail should be approached with respect. It’s short, but it’s a grunt with technical challenges thrown in here and there, some on the edge of a 500-foot cliff. Ledges drop into deep sand at points. it asks for speed and can surprise you as you round a corner. The ride from here can be extremely rewarding for a very experienced riders with a good sense of direction and maybe a guide. There is a petroglyph panel worthy of a visit, but the riding just gets harder from this viewpoint as you climb on the very technical slickrock onto the huge sandstone monolith that is Amasa Back. Don’t even think about the singletrack that goes down the backside. it is scary and exposed the whole way. Trail Surface; Technical 4WD track. Ledgy bedrock, sand, slickrock, loose and hardpack sediments. Scary exposure.

 

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My Experience

I will not even consider riding this trail, if I cannot get started at the crack of dawn. This time I was ready to Rock ‘n Roll at 7 am.

Anyone that has ever done the Amasa Back knows Mr Toad is the very first unfriendly obstacle you have to get passed. That is not really a big problem for anyone that knows what to expect. However I have seen people start bombin’ down Mr Toad to suddenly be confronted with a 5 foot verticle drop.. Too Late, they are airbourne, unprepared, and the wrong angle.. A quick end to the Amasa Back.. Over within 40 seconds.  Take it easy on Mr Toad, he’s a grumpy old sod!!

From Mr Toad the Amasa back section itself is a 2.5 miles short climb. The climb is not very strenuous, and apart from one or two short sections it is a pretty easy climb. Getting an early start means you will have the trail to yourself, which means you can just relax and enjoy the Amasa Back, and take photo’s without having 35 other people in the photo. There are a few pretty technical sections on the way up, I suggest taking them in, and even memorizing the line you should take on the way down, ‘cos coming down the Amasa  is one of the many highlights, and it’s a fast downhill ride.

Once at the top of Amasa, you are advised to take a break, enjoy the scenery, and make sure your quick release’s are fully fastened, the next mile is manic with some very gnarly sections that are actually doable. Saying that, do not hesitate once you’ve approached  the obsticle, if you hesitate on some of these drops, you are in big trouble. The large rock Island on your left is Jackson Hole.

Hopefully you made it down the Amasa in one piece, from here you start another climb, following the fantastic Pothole Arch Trail. Again, the climb is pretty moderate, but there are one or two very technical sections, that I choose to walk. Once the 4 wheel drive trail veers off, the Pothole Arch Trail becomes singletrack and slickrock. From this point the ride takes a very nice and dramatic turn, no more up, from here it’s DOWN, and a fast and windy down, until you reach the turn off to pick up the Rockstacker. The Pothole Arch downhill is a really fun section, there is a small degree of technical sections, but nothing major.  At this point ignore the Rockstacker Trail, just cruise onto the Slickrock Spurs and enjoy the rollercoaster ride that takes you to Pothole Arch. This is one massive Slickrock playground, enjoy the spur, and the stunning scenery from the top. After you are done playing on the Slickrock Spurs, make your way back to the start of the “RockStacker Trail”

For those people that find the Amasa Back technical, or the Poison Spider technical, the Portal Trail or even Moab Rim, then I suggest you go back the same way you just came, ‘cos believe me, the Rockstacker is one mental trail, extremely technical. Walking the majority of the Rockstacker is very technical, let alone riding it.

Saying that, there are people that actually ride, or attempt to ride these sections.. On the Amasa Back, I talked about technical drops of 4 feet, on the Rockstacker, it’s technical drops of 20+ feet.

I myself am far too sensible ( and scared) to even try riding these sections, and my steed is not built for this kind of riding ( yeah ok it’s a lame excuse) BUT, I still love the Rockstacker, I walk about 50% of this trail, luckily most of it is the first half. Once passed the halfway mark, I feel safe enough to get back on my steed. Now even the second half is no picnic, but at least it’s doable technical and lots of fun.

At the end of Rockstacker you can pick up the Jackson Trail back down to the Trailhead, I myself do not like this trail, it is just not rideable, or just far too technical. I suggest picking up on the Amasa Back again, and having one hell of a Downhill experience.

Conclusion

Plan this trail in advance, if you get an early start, and you get there before the crowds, you will have a fantastic ride. The route I did is fun, technical, fast, furious, mental, but worth every second you get to spend on the trail.

In my books this is probably the most scenic rides in not just Moab, but in the USA.

Other Info:

Traffic on Trail : On this ride I had the trail to myself untill the downhill section. However this trail can be extremely busy
Wild Life : Definitely don’t need it on this scenic trail
Scenery : Absolutely Fantastic Moab Scenery. The best out there
Other : If possible do an early weekday ride. On weekends / holidays the trail can be VERY busy.

 

My Trail Rating : 10 / 10 [ if timed well ]

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Amasa Back Trail is just a 12 min. drive from your campsite.
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