Porcupine Rim Trail
The Porcupine Rim Trail is the "other" famous
classic ride at Moab. At 15.6 miles, requiring expert technical skills, this ride is for advanced
bikers who are in good shape. It's one-way with a shuttle car, or a 34-mile loop for the
truly insane (10 uphill miles from Moab to the trailhead, 8 flat miles from Jackass Canyon
back to the middle of Moab).
Across the valley, the single-track descends towards the
Photo April 17, 1999
The ride begins with a 3 mile climb up rocky ledges on a
wide-track trail. This is a moderately strenuous climb, gaining 1000 feet to an altitude
of 6,800 feet.
Gary Argyle grinds up the many rock ledges on the way to the
top of Porcupine Rim. Photo Bruce Argyle, October 21, 2000.
Reaching Porcupine Rim, you'll find a mob of young buff
bikers admiring the view of Castle Valley to the north. The spires of Castle
Valley are spikes of Wingate sandstone sitting on red mudstone beds of the
Moenkope and Chinle formations. These strata originated in Triassic times
(around 220 million years ago).
While Dominic is at the hospital getting his broken wrist
x-rayed, the Mad Scientist bikers pose on top of Porcupine Rim, in front of the grand
vistas of Castle Valley. October 21, 2000. L to R: Chad Hunter,
Matt Flygare, Mike Engberson,
Gary Argyle, and Bruce Argyle.
|The real ride begins at the Rim. This is primo downhill advanced technical
stuff, dropping off a gazillion small rocky ledges, with the last 3 miles a hairy
single-track on the edge of deadly cliffs. From the Rim, you'll drop 2,700 vertical feet
to the Colorado River over 11 unforgettable miles.
K takes a ledge on the downhill flight. May 18, 2002.
||The downhill varies from smooth cruising to rocky technical
stair-stepping. Especially on the singletrack section at the end, all but the very best
stunt-riders will have to portage the bike over a few obstacles.
takes a hop off a "the Diving Board." October 21, 2000.
|The trail can be ridden with a hardbody or hardtail bike, but your body
will pay the price. There's a lot of slamming and banging on the way down. We recommend
dual-suspension for this ride. Many bikers will soften the suspension at the summit, to
let the bike absorb the thousands of impacts on the way down.
and Mike drop down the rocky ledges. October 21, 2000.
||We rarely finish this ride with all of our bike parts. This ride temps you
to bang down the ledges with abandon -- which can be pretty rough on your steed. Be
prepared to replace a snakebit tube, to straighten a bent rim, and to fix a broken chain.
If your bike is fairly new, schedule a couple of stops to tighten all the bolts.
Gary and Mike watch Chad fix his bike. October 21, 2000.
Getting there: The Porcupine Rim Trail begins on the
Sand Flats Road, reached by turning left off Moab's main drag onto 300 South, then right
when the road ends, then second left. From the entry gate, drive 7 miles. The trailhead is
on the left, near the small cattle-watering tanks. Leave your shuttle car in Moab, or at
the Grandstaff Canyon parking area on highway 128 north of Moab. (Known as
Negro Bill Canyon prior to 2017, the canyon is named after William
Grandstaff, a black cowboy who ran cattle in this area in the 1870s.)
View down Jackass Canyon on the way down towards the Colorado
River. Behind the river, Moenkopi and Chinle formation slopes lead up to
cliffs of Wingate sandstone. The cliff-top is Kayenta sandstone. Mounts of
Navajo sandstone can be seen on the skyline. April 17, 1999 Bruce Argyle
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