The Poison Spider Messa and down Portal was one of last years favorite trails. The Poison Spider Messa is definitely a trail that you either love or hate. This trail can make a grown man cry. Poison Spider Mesa is technically, physically and mentally a challenge.
Trail Stats & Information
Nearby City: Moab
Length: about 12.8 miles
Trail Type: Loop or Out & Back
Skill Level: Technically moderate to extremely difficult. Physically moderate to extremely difficult.
Duration: 3-6 hours
Trailhead Elev: 4,550 feet
Top Elev: 5400 feet
This technically and physically difficult ride can be done as a loop or as an out-and-back, with a turnaround point at a beautiful arch or at the rim overlooking Moab Valley a few more miles to the north. The trek starts with a relentless climb over little babyheads, leads through areas of deep sand and technical bedrock, then eventually flattens out into a ledgy romp. After some sandy curves and a bit of confusing route finding you are presented with some outrageously steep slickrock knobs that are a blast to ride for advanced cyclists. Once on the slickrock the ride can be free formed by those with good navigating skills, or you can follow the trail markings that appear as little jeeps. Keeping the jeeps oriented in the same direction is the secret to following the trail out to the rim. At any point you may also simply turn around and go back the way you came in. Trail Surface: 4WD doubletrack, slickrock, and extremely technical and dangerous singletrack, if you choose to take the Portal Trail option. Loose rock, stream worn rocks up to the size of babyheads, deep sand, slickrock, hardpack to loose sedimentary soil, and bedrock ledges on a classic technical 4WD track.
This Trail is technically not too bad, but physically it will tear you apart. I did this trail last year, and this year it was more strenuous than last year, more and deeper sand. The Poison Spider Mesa is pretty remote, and should not be taken lightly. The views are stunning, and the Portal section is just plain mental, any error on this section will definitely have severe consequences and even death. If you have any reservations about the Portal Trail, just do the ride as an “Out and Back” making the Portal the turn around point.
I love the Poison Spider Mesa and Portal Trail, this ride does not come easy, and if given the chance, it will tear you apart!!. My advice is to ride the Trail as a leisurely picnic and not a race. Chicken heads, Baby heads, 2 feet high dragons teeth, ankle deep sand, mental singletrack and 600 ft sheer drops will try and get you to hate this trail. There is absolutely no point at all trying to beat a world record on this trail, it just won’t happen. Put your steed into granny gear, put a smile on your chops and just enjoy the scenery, and before you know it, 4 hours later you will be back where you started, and you will still have that big smile on your chops.
In my books the Poison Spider Mesa Trail and down the Portal Trail is an absolute must do Moab ride.
Traffic on Trail : no one
Wild Life : who needs wildlife on a ride like this!?
Scenery : Absolutely Fantastic 360 degree 3D Scenery
Other : Bring LOTS of water on this one. The Portal should NOT be attempted by anyone with a fear of heights, people have died on this section
My Trail Rating : 9 / 10