Poison Spider/Golden Spike/
Gold Bar Rim Trails
NW of Moab, Utah

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Cool Air Photo of Poison Spider Trailhead

(Zoom in or out, use Topo to see the trail)


Trail map of 

Poison Spider to Gold Bar Rim Loop 



    On Sunday May 26th, the game plan included running Poison Spider, the 1st part of Golden Spike, then loop back around Poison.  Well, as you will see it didn't turn out that way.  Let's see, you are in Moab, you have your Jeep with ya, and your looking for about 10 hours to kill.  Well, you've come to the right trail (trails)!  

The cliffs just before the Poison Spider trailhead are popular with climbers...



The cliffs rise for hundreds of feet...

      We left pavement and hit the Poison Spider trailhead about 9am. We made our way up the first switchbacks.  There are numerous small ledgey obstacles that greet you up to the mesa.  Easy to hard lines could be attempted depending on your mood.

Paul Weisz in 99',  on one of the ledges at the beginning of Poison Spider...

   Once on the mesa and thru a small squeeze, we ran across the sand mesa back to a small drainage and a fun loop hill climb just up from the creek bed. It has a very steep grade for about 20 feet, enough to get the heart racing. 

Jed climbs this fun loop hill...


Paul crests a short steep lip on the climb...


Heading up the sandy creek bed, we came across the 1st sets of obstacles one of which is named "The Waterfall" It's actually a set of ledges before it on a tight curve that are challenging. Then the waterfall is a 6-foot sloping wall to climb. Everyone climbed up just fine.


The 'Waterfall' is a favorite (me last year)...


Steve 'chirps' alittle as he climbs up...


    Then a series of FUN obstacles awaited us, as one is called "The Wedgy". With everyone walking through, we were up on Poison Spider Mesa. Through the "Whoop-ti-dos" (a series of high bank sandy turns), the flat easy mesa turns up the A/C as airflow is increased. We stopped at the grave marker where the Mesa was named. The story has it, that a poison spider bit a little girl while they were traveling, died from it and was buried there.


Molly and I enjoying a great ride and day!!

   Trekking northeast, we came off the mesa to a sandy area. We headed north onto the Golden Spike Trail following the white spikes on the trail, and the faint black tire tracks, the trail was pretty easy to stay on. The trail follows mostly slickrock as it heads north. We soon came across the "Launch Pad", which is a steep ramp that tests most carbs (of those who still have them!). Jed was able to get a great tire lift photo on a small side hill just after that!

This photo just misses Jed catching air...really!


   We pressed onward on the slick rock as we reached the 'Skyline Drive'. This is a long steep climb to some great 360-degree views of where we were and where we were going. Dropping down and to the right is the perfect lunch spot as everyone (even the Jeeps) was shaded for the break!  Sometime before that there must have been a trail back to Poison Spider.  I looked for it after lunch, and never saw it as we headed on up to the overlook.  So, it looked like we were committed to doing the whole loop.  Steve didn’t mind too much, even though he was going to travel to Telluride after the 9 hour trail ride.


The bottom of 'Skyline Drive' looking up...


From the top views are everywhere!!


The drive down is a steep one!


A cool break from the upper 80's in the shade for lunch (2001)

    Soon after a nice cool lunch break, we headed up the 'Narrow Ravine' and some tight creek bed Jeepin'! Just ahead is a small deep tub that was fairly dry this year. Above that is a steep 1-2' ledge just above the creek we all negotiated with different lines. More obstacles up the ravine till we reached the white slickrock of Moab. 

Paul tries to climb the hard left ledge,

as Marc (CJ in foreground) goes thru the lower tub...


Steve climbs up it last year...


    Since we are heading north, and most if all the rocks and ledges run west to east, we encountered rock ledge after rock ledge. I've never counted them, but I'm pretty sure there are over 40 of them of all sizes. The bigger ones get your attention though.


This is one of the larger ledges on Golden Spike (2001)...


Jed eases on down...


Marc's right front turns up a rock and balances on it...


as he tried to test out his rock guards...


The 'White Moose' even shows some hoof (2001)...


    Yea-----Finally, our 1st view at an overlook looking down on Hwy 191 and the long line of tourist waiting to get into Arches National Park across the valley. At this point in the trip we were about 5 hours in, and not the place to "have problems". The weather also turned a lot warmer as previous days. Brett 'Weiszdude' walked faster then we jeeped and beat us to the crack. 


Looking SE towards Moab...what a view!


Shade and water is at a (left to right) Paul, Steve and Marc find out. 


The entrance to Arches National Park below...


View along Gold Bar Rim looking north and Hwy 191...


   Now heading along the rim's edge we traversed more rock ledges and obstacles until we finally reached the infamous "Golden Crack". Or as Scott Maxwell's son Pete would say, "Moab's Buttcrack".  One by one, the Hobos crossed the Crack with some articulation and a few bumper scrapes (that's what they are for right?). 


More obstacle ledges await!!! (2001)


One endeavors to 'do Moab's Buttcrack' (as named by Pete Maxwell)...


I'm up 1st, and take a fairly high line to the left... 


which gets a bunch of air!!


1st timer Marc does the crack...


    First-timers to the Crack, Jed and Marc walked thru looking like pros. It seems every time I run the Crack, I tend to take the left highline, because my right front seems to always catch major air! Some said 'backup I missed that shot', so I did and momentum almost tipped me over. There were some guys in a big Chevy Blazer that got some smiles out of us (we have the 'trail comedy' tape to prove it). They guy dented in his front driver fender bad. We watched a few more cross, then hopped in our jeeps to get 1st in line as a traffic jam was forming.


Paul almost keeps all four on the rocks...


while the suspension does it's job.


Steve gets some nice flex crossing the 'buttcrack'...


Well,,,,after being on the trail for 6 1/2 hours with great guys,

this was (these were) a welcome view(s)...


   More obstacles like the 'Golden Stairs', which are a series of rock ledges in which CJ7's hit both tires at the same time. We passed up on 'Double Whammy', and ended up behind two broken Jeeps being towed out (we did get around them later).  More obstacles like the 'Golden Stairs', which are a series of rock ledges in which CJ7's hit both tires at the same time.  After a few tries I was able to climb up.  The TJ's behind me also made it up some with different lines taken.  Near 'Double Whammy', a stock TJ had broken his rear spline, and had to take it easy the way out thru Gold Bar Rim.


Hey look!  More ledges!!  Phew!


   The 16-mile Poison to Gold Bar Loop is a combination of the previous days trails in Moab. With numerous rock ledges, obstacles, and of course slickrock it's a day of endurance for both driver and Jeep. At last year's Memorial Moab, we did the Poison Spider to Gold Bar Rim trails on the last day with 4 Jeeps and it took us with no breakdowns about 9+ hours. This year with 5 Jeeps, we were able to keep moving and take a few more breaks from the heat and do it in 8+ hours! The nice stat is---------NO breakdowns! 


This may have been 'Golden Stairs', they all blur together after hour 7...


   We saw 2 separate people running alone on this trail again this year, not a good idea. DO NOT RUN ALONE on this long trail! Too many things can happen, and you are to far in to hike out. Don't rely on your cell phone either, as we sometimes couldn't get out there. If you breakdown here, you are a few hours by jeep going out either way with many numerous obstacles to still limp over. Prepare for the worst and bring spare parts, water, fluids, sleeping bag, food, etc…


  Finally, after 6+ hours, we reached the beginning of Gold Bar Rim Trail. We were ready for some smooth trails, but all we encountered were more rock ledges and obstacles---PHEW! Around the Gold Bar Canyon, the trail comes within a few feet of a good 400' drop. Not the kind of turn you want to take at night (stay right!).


Gold Bar Canyon looking off to the south and off in the distance is where we started...

   Another few miles or so later we finally reached the sandy bottom and out past the 'Gooney Bird Rock'!! Once in 2WD, we raced down the sandy washes and headed north to below the main mesa that leads out down the cliff side down to Hwy 191 and the welcome pavement!

   At the highway, Marc and I got some free air from Paul and we headed to the Texaco for some ice cream where we met up with Jed. Do the whole loop in one day, it's the best day of Jeeping you will have all year!  Once back at camp, no night runs were planned.  We all sat back and relished the day, while trying to remember the many obstacles and challenges throughout the day!  Another great trail with great friends! Moab-it's all that and MORE!!

 "The end of the trail, and the end to a 'Memorable' Memorial weekend in Moab with great friends and fun trails!!! " 

"Got Moab???"

 Bill Hallinan  HoboJeepers



Here are some other Poison to Gold Bar Rim Loop Trip reports:

HoboJeepers 2001 Poison Spider/Golden Spike/ Gold Bar Rim Trip

HoboJeepers 2000 Poison Spider/Golden Spike/ Gold Bar Rim Trip

HoboJeepers 1999 Poison Spider/Golden Spike/ Gold Bar Rim Trip


Poison Spider to Gold Bar Rim by Bighorn 4x4 02':

Moab Off-Road.Com EJS 98’ Poison Spider Trail:

Rockcrawler.Com’s Poison Spider/Gold Bar Rim Trail Reports:

Andy Voight’s Golden Spike Trail Report:  

Golden Spike Trail by 4x4.Com:

Poison Spider Mesa Trail by Flatlander:

Gold Bar Rim by Flatlander:


back to MEMORIAL MOAB 2002!

Hell's Revenge   Flat Iron Mesa/E. Behind the Rocks

Poison Spider/ Golden Spike/ Gold Bar Rim


back to MEMORIAL MOAB 2001!

to MOAB 00' page

  to MOAB 99' page



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