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.
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 Level: [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
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.
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.
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 ]
The Amasa Back Trail review is proudly sponsored by :
Moab Rim Campark
At Moab Rim Campark mountain bikers will definitely feel at home among other mountain bikers at this Mountain Biker Friendly Campgroud.
Bike wash, grassy shaded tent sites with stunning views, Full hook ups, semi hook ups, cabins, group shelters, sheltered areas to tinker on the bikes, and lots more.
Amasa Back Trail is just a 12 min. drive from your campsite.
Moab Rim Campsite has been recommended by “Mountain Bike Mayhem” 4 years running.
Mountain Bikers get 10% discount, just bring your bike(s) and mention MOUNTAIN BIKE MAYHEM
For more info vist : Moab Rim Campark