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Tusher Canyon (Left) Trail

This trail features a huge slickrock playground in the Entrada sandstone on top of the cliffs above Tusher Canyon. Looking at the cliffs from the bottom of the wash, you might not believe you can get there. But you can, and it's not as spooky as it looks.

The twin towers are your landmark as you climb southbound up the sandstone toward the wide-open slickrock playground. Photos of Alex Rodriguez by Randal Klein April 7, 2010. (Many thanks, Randal!)

Starting from the trailhead in the wash, it's 1.5 miles to the playground. There you'll find a huge expanse of gradually sloping sandstone, with small ledges, bowls, and other fun stuff. You can head another mile south and east over this huge area of open rock. Altitude gain is 300 feet.

Alex ramps up the Entrada sandstone. Lots of room to ride around.

Packing the bike up to the next ramp Some riders start from the parking area just beyond the railroad tracks. From here, it's 4 miles to the real trailhead. If you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle, we suggest you skip the road. The first two miles are absolutely boring desert, then you have to hike through a mile of unrideable sand. Our description assumes you drove the wash, and are starting at the slickrock trailhead.

Gary packs his bike up to the next ramp. There are at least three portages, where you have to carry your bike up to the next ledge. In the background, sandstone of the Curtis Formation lies on top of the smooth Entrada sandstone. October 22, 2000

From the rock ramp, head straight towards the cliff. When you reach the "hoodoos" at 0.1 miles, look for a rockpile on top, and jump or portage your bike up. Ride a few hundred feet, and spot the rockpile marking the next portage up the rock. Ride the ledge south a bit, watching carefully for further rockpiles. You'll have three spots where you have to play mountain goat, packing your bike 20 or 30 feet up the slope to the next ledge.

The La Sal Mountains provide a picturesque background.

Gary cruises the rock of Tusher At one mile, you'll be nearing the end of the ledge-running, and getting close to the white rock that caps the bluff. Don't go over the top. Stay just below the white rock. After you pass the twin towers, you'll enter the slickrock playground. 

On a gloomy rainy day in 2000, Gary cruises the entrada sandstone bowls of Tusher Canyon.

Playtime! If you want to continue around to the east side, just ride east close to the break between the dirt and the orange rock. You'll drop down to a second playground.

Alex finds a lot to like at Tusher.

Tusher Canyon Left Side Trail Map Getting there: From I-70, drive south on US-191 for 16 miles. You'll pass the airport, then a dirt road (Blue Hills Road) on the right, then the Klondike Bluffs parking area on the left, then you'll spot a dirt road crossing the railroad tracks in some trees on the right, titled Mill Canyon Road.

From Moab's center street, drive north 15.5 miles. Watch for the dirt Mill Canyon Road on your left where the railroad tracks come very close to the road, just past a smallish hill on your left.

Once on the dirt road, go 0.6 miles and turn right, following the sign to Tusher Canyon. At 1.3 miles, keep left on the main road. At 2.7 miles, the road drops into the wash. Turn left up the wash (the greenish road on the right goes to Bartlett Wash). Keep left at the next two forks, staying in the wash. When the wash opens up into a small flat valley at 4.0 miles, watch for a rockpile on your left marking a rock "road" that heads to the cliffs.

Riding resources:
Single-page trail guide
GPS track file (right-click and select "Save Target as..."):
     MPS     GPX  
Topo map for printing:   High-Res
Lodging, camping, shops:
      Links to Moab area resources

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