The Rockstacker Trail is a highly technical singletrack route that
connects the Pothole Arch Trail to the Jackson Singletrack at the top of
Amasa Back. It's only 1.7 miles long but involves a lot of work both
uphill and downhill. There are some very dangerous spots. Only true
experts should attempt this ride.
A bit of road and Colorado River is
seen as we look east near the start of Rockstacker. Photos done in a
rainstorm on 3/24/2011 by Bruce. My apologies.
|Rockstacker is usually done in a west-to-east direction.
Climb the Amasa Back trail. Or climb Hymasa then
continue Amasa from the saddle. Have your fun. Next head for the Pothole Arch
trail. Rockstacker forks off of the Pothole Arch trail 1.2 miles from its
As I climb up Amasa Back, the blowing
snow has given way to rain. Not wearing my cold-weather tights -- they're
wrapped around the camera to keep the water away.
||Starting altitude of Rockstacker is 4600 feet. There will be
a lot of sharp downhills and tough uphills, but the trail loses only about
100 feet of elevation from west to east. But I think you do that 100 feet about 10 times.
Sunlight breaks through to illuminate
the rincon called Jackson Not-Hole, a big chunk of Wingate sandstone left
isolated by the river's changing channel.
|So, assuming you're a fearless and skilled tech rider,
here's the plan: we'll climb Amasa, go to Pothole Arch, then descend
by way of Rockstacker and Jackson Singletrack. Fool.
A band of blue sky approaches --
before the next batch of rain clouds -- at the junction of Rockstacker
with the Pothole Arch Trail. The trail will quickly drop from the Navajo
sandstone to the Kayenta.
||Note that the Jackson Singletrack has potentially deadly
cliff exposures. It's called a "Bike and Hike" route for a
reason. There are spots that you absolutely Should Not Ride, no matter how
skilled you are.
The ride description below is the way I rode it, but my
honest suggestion is that you skip Jackson and connect to the Amasa
Back trail for your descent once you've completed Rockstacker.
Looking southwest. Rockstacker drops
off the left side of this photo in a scary plunge. Ride it? I didn't even
want to walk it.
|An alternative descent is to cross over the ridge as
Rockstacker ends at Jackson ST and take Amasa south to the ridgeline.
There you'll find the Captain Ahab singletrack.
This isn't an easy trip either -- you'll climb uphill for a mile, then
descend a tough technical trail with cliff exposures.
The downhill drops are sometimes steep
and often rough. Here the trail drops sharply between the trees to the
band at lower left. Later on, there's a set of switchbacks that are
insanely tricky and dangerous.
||Riding notes, Amasa to Pothole Arch to
Rockstacker to Jackson:
0.0 Exit parking, uphill on road N38 31.710 W109 35.705
0.6 Drop R off road N38 31.435 W109 36.096
0.8 Cross creek N38 31.589 W109 36.080
2.8 Top of climb, for now N38 31.079 W109 37.115
3.5 Pass Portage connector, keep straight
N38 31.721 W109 37.678
3.7 Keep L at fork to Jackson ST
N38 31.761 W109 37.756
4.4 Keep L on Amasa at Pothole fork
N38 31.876 W109 38.369
5.1 View - End of Amasa - backtrack
N38 31.678 W109 38.871
Some sections are smooth slickrock
with fabulous views. The trail here is the smooth band heading to the
middle of the photo.
|5.8 Back at Pothole Arch
6.2 Alternate joins on L, unmarked
N38 32.047 W109 38.661
7.0 Keep L and straight (R=Rockstacker)
N38 32.533 W109 38.449
7.8 R 100 ft to Pothole Arch N38 33.115 W109 38.447
then back and go north
8.0 Viewpoint, turn around N38 33.228 W109 38.545
9.0 Back at fork. Go R on Rockstacker!
N38 32.533 W109 38.449
9.1 First scary plunge. Yikes!
Rough ledges await.
||10.9 Junction with Jackson ST,
N38 31.748 W109 37.594
(R = 0.1 mile climb
to Amasa, bailout!)
11.8 Cliff exposures. Walk, you fool!
12.8 At Kane Creek, turn R along creekside
N38 31.935 W109 36.152
13.0 Cross creek, go left N38 31.904 W109 35.947
13.1 At Kane Springs parking area
N38 31.945 W109 35.948
R uphill on road
13.6 Back at parking
Smooth singletrack for a while.
||Getting there: Head south on Moab's Main
Street. When you reach the McDonald's on your right, turn right onto Kane
Creek Blvd. After 0.6 miles, go straight where the road seems to turn
right (500 West). Drive along the Colorado River about 5 miles until the
road turns to gravel, and head uphill about 2/3 mile. Watch for the "Amasa
Back Parking" area at GPS N 38° 31.329' W 109° 35.501'. Head
further up the gravel road 1/2 mile, and turn right onto the trail at the