Bicycling Magazine

Moab, UT: Amasa Back-Rockstacker-Jackson's Loop 

This 11.3-mile Moab loop with up-close cliffside panoramas is a sure path to rock-hopping joy.

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Author: _superstition
Date: 26 Sep 2007 9:00:00 AM
Source: AllSport GPS on my AT&T BlackBerry phone
Activity: Mountain Biking
State: Utah (UT)
Distance: 11.38 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 3914 ft
Total Loss: 3918 ft
Net Change: -4 ft
Difficulty: 9 / 10
Tags: Amasa Back, Castle Valley, Moab, Utah
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

Kick off the loop heading clockwise on Amasa Back’s rock steps – an appropriate introduction to the rough-and-tumble jeep road you’ll climb to the plateau top. From there, you can see Jackson Hole to the left. The jeep road ends at Jackson Junction, but Amasa Back Trail continues on singletrack onto the actual Amasa Back, a fin extending north from the plateau. Turn around at Pothole Arch, a shady place to snack before the bomber run down.

Backtrack 0.8 mile down from Pothole Arch to the “rock stack” (cairn). Rockstacker isn’t a trail; route-finding skills are required. Go southeast over a ridge, and follow it south down the edge of the plateau. Seek out the singletrack down a rock gap to the next plateau. Continue until you see a big rock amphitheater.

Scout carefully from here. Head down the rock ramp, then stay high as you contour right around a small ledge. After 100 yards, look for a cairn that marks an exposed descent into the amphitheater. Ride singletrack and slickrock southeast for about mile before intersecting Jackson’s Trail, which runs east back to the parking lot after a creek-crossing.

Difficulty: Try not to wet your bike shorts.

Tip: Start early and take plenty to drink.

TO TRAILHEAD: From Center and Main streets in Moab, take Main St. south 0.6 mile to Kane Creek Blvd. Turn right; go 5.2 miles to first parking area on right.

Position Format: Datum:

Moab, UT: Amasa Back-Rockstacker-Jackson's Loop

Distance: 11.38 mi Points: 1079
Total Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi
Active Time: none Speed: 0.0 mph Pace: 0:00 / mi

Points of Interest


Location: 38.529665, -109.637788
After a few tries, Rich eventually cleaned this off-angle hop by popping the back wheel up and over.

Cairn: Rockstacker Junction

Location: 38.542023, -109.640722
A large cairn marks the start of the Rockstacker, which branches southeast here toward Jackson's Trail. This is a fun but extremely difficult route that requires solid route-finding skills. Amasa Back continues north .8 mile to Pothole Arch.

Park here for loop ride

Location: 38.533002, -109.600929
This lot is ideal for the Amasa-Rockstacker-Jackson Loop, but park at the area up 0.6 mile up the road if you're only riding Amasa Back -- if there's room.

Pothole Arch/Turnaround

Location: 38.551673, -109.641430
Return 0.8 mile to Rockstacker junction.

Amasa Back Parking

Location: 38.528469, -109.596605
Official parking for Amasa Back Trail.

Jackson Junction

Location: 38.529342, -109.629049
Some riders turn around here, but Amasa Back continues west here on awesome singletrack. This route is advanced and has serious exposure. If your bike handling skills aren't top notch, head back down Amasa Back jeep road. Alternate return: Turn northeast here to take Jackson's Trail -- just as tough -- back to the parking lot.

High Exposure

Location: 38.526031, -109.624680

Big Steps

Location: 38.518044, -109.614265
Amasa Back is full of big steps. This one requires clearing a 3-foot ledge to get into the limited landing area. Clean it if you can.

Incredible Views on Amasa Back

Location: 38.518307, -109.618614


Location: 38.529202, -109.626656
Nearing Jackson's Trail on Rockstacker.

La Sal Mountains

Location: 38.542862, -109.641066
Watch for a great view of the La Sal Mountains to the southwest near the junction with Rockstacker Trail.

Rock Climb

Location: 38.525356, -109.605522
Rich cleans this two-stage rock climb. The jeep road is full of technical problems.

Colorado River Views

Location: 38.533123, -109.633919
While you're trying to stay on your bike, don't forget to enjoy the views.

Amasa Back Trailhead

Location: 38.524264, -109.601584
Want a warm-up? Sorry. Amasa Back starts with a set of stairs and a 3-foot ledge drop.


Location: 38.535293, -109.638534
Rich shows the height of a ledge along Rockstacker. It's about a 4-footer with a nice slickrock landing.

Difficult Route

Location: 38.536946, -109.638684
After the drop through this slot, ride west on a ledge for about 100 yards. Then ride (or walk) the extremely technical, exposed drops down to an amphitheater.


Location: 38.528595, -109.617956
Trent takes a brake in the only shade around -- a cave in the cliffside on the way down Jackson's Trail.

Creek Crossing

Location: 38.532523, -109.602667
Low water crossing on the creek on Jackson's Trail: The water can be chest deep and dangerous to cross. The depth of the water ranges from inches to feet. Exercise caution.

Ledge Jumps

Location: 38.537508, -109.639145
Rockstacker is full of cool single and double ledge jumps. Good bike-handling skills will keep you from going over the bars.

Technical Climbs

Location: 38.524332, -109.605591
Steep, technical climbs are all about technique. Rich keeps well balanced and forward after popping the front wheel up the rock. He'll pop the back wheel up while doing a pedal stroke to clean this problem.

Rock Hop

Location: 38.529951, -109.634285
Trent cleans a tough rock hop.

Jackson Hole View

Location: 38.522586, -109.621164
On Amasa Back before Jackson Junction, look for views of a circular butte across the chasm. The surrounding canyon is Jackson Hole.

Granny Gear

Location: 38.518347, -109.611368
Trent uses granny gears to get up steep rocks.


Location: 38.533681, -109.637579
This route has many challenging sections, including this cool multi-stage drop along Rockstacker. Trent and Rich show how to clear it in style.

Jackson's Trail End

Location: 38.533432, -109.601669
Trailhead for Jackson's Trail: The steep, loose sections along Jackson's Trail make it tough to climb. Jackson's Trail has loose, steep sections that make it tough to climb. Our advice? Descend it instead.

Double Jump

Location: 38.533348, -109.632706
This double jump required precision speed to clear. Too fast and you're going to crash; too slow and you're going to crash.

La Sal Mountains

Location: 38.542862, -109.641066
Drops like this are standard on Rockstacker.

La Sal Mountains

Location: 38.542862, -109.641066
The first part of Rockstacker is a plunge down from the Amasa Back plateau.

Colorado River

Location: 38.552673, -109.642113
Colorado River from the end of Amasa Back.


Location: 38.532607, -109.600382
Pre-ride preparation: Don't forget the crash pads. Before heading out, check the creek crossing at the end of Jackson's Trail to make sure it's fordable. If the water is too high, you'll have to stick to the Amasa Back out-and-back.


Location: 38.535293, -109.638534
This ledge is a good 4-foot jump with a flat landing on solid rock. Roll it and pull back on the bars just before tipping over the edge.

Amasa Back Route

Location: 38.518730, -109.610184
Many parts of the route up Amasa Back are solid rock. Stay on track by following the white lines painted on the rock.

Jackson Hole

Location: 38.524676, -109.623084
Jackson Hole frames Trent.

The Top

Location: 38.520454, -109.606336
Trent takes in the scenery on his first ride in Moab.

Little Window

Location: 38.551572, -109.641302
Look for a little window at the end of the singletrack on Amasa Back. Climb up to look through to a larger arch on the other side.

Technical Jeep Road

Location: 38.526380, -109.602721
The Amasa climb heads up a technical jeep road.


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