Bicycling Magazine

Moab, UT: Porcupine Rim 

This 14-mile mountain bike trail is quintessential Moab: Huge jumps, grippy slickrock, and sweet singletrack.

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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: 14.33 mi  (Change units)
Survey Elevation: Total Gain: 2066 ft
Total Loss: 3905 ft
Net Change: -1839 ft
Difficulty: 9 / 10
Tags: Castle Valley, Moab, Utah
Rating: Unrated   Rate it

This shuttle ride on Porcupine Rim is 14 miles from trailhead to trailhead. As a loop on roads from and through Moab, it’s a 30-miler.

From the trailhead on Sand Flats Road, the trail climbs 1,000 feet over 3 miles on a technical jeep road. The climbing ends as you turn northwest to follow the rim’s edge, which overlooks the monumental buttes of Castle Valley. Around mile 4.75, turn away from the rim and cross the plateau on rough doubletrack. At mile 11, the trail turns into challenging, exposed--and glorious--singletrack as it descends into Jackass Canyon. Exit Jackass Canyon well above the road and shimmy down the cliff to the parking area.

Difficulty: Hard. The Rim is a long ride with high stakes. If you're not an advanced rider, play it safe and walk the tricky sections.

Sand Flats Recreation Area has a day use fee.

Position Format: Datum:

Moab, UT: Porcupine Rim

Distance: 14.33 mi Points: 799
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: 38.600120, -109.386706
Clint and Rich pause at another overlook for Castle Valley.

Coffee Pot Rock

Location: 38.612820, -109.433754

Technical Steps

Location: 38.623375, -109.506140
If you like technical riding, Porcupine Rim is one of the best.

Jackass Canyon

Location: 38.621372, -109.498375
The view riding along the edge of Jackass Canyon


Location: 38.623543, -109.480476
Rich and Trent take this 5-foot drop with style.


Location: 38.623543, -109.480476
Bring all the travel you can pedal: Rich poses next to a 5-foot drop that he and Trent cleared.


Location: 38.587055, -109.380376
Rich and Trent take a jump on the way up the jeep road.

Panoramic Views of Porcupine Rim

Location: 38.594334, -109.377351
Castle Valley from the Porcupine Rim is as good as it gets.

Fun Technical Climbing

Location: 38.585854, -109.393051
On the way up the road, you'll encounter many places with technical steps to climb. The climb is a blast if you like this kind of terrain.

Fun Technical Climbing

Location: 38.585854, -109.393051
Clint climbs a step on the jeep road heading toward the rim. (He climbed it successfully when the camera was off.)


Location: 38.618843, -109.485161
Rich catches air (again).

Jeep Road Climb

Location: 38.585323, -109.396629
In places, the initial climb is like a steep sidewalk of solid rock. Be sure you have a granny gear.

Porcupine Rim

Location: 38.621689, -109.475159
Clint rips over a drop. This kind of action is everywhere on Porcupine Rim.

Sweet Singletrack

Location: 38.619659, -109.488777
The last 3.25 miles of Porcupine Rim leave the jeep trail to bomb down some of the best singletrack around. The trail traces the cliff's edge for exciting (read: exposed) views of the canyon and Colorado River, and the technical challenges could send you over the bars if you blink. It's nirvana.


Location: 38.621689, -109.475159
Trent, Clint, and Rich fly over a ledge on Porcupine Rim, which has countless opportunities for air.

Lizard Spotting

Location: 38.613383, -109.422112
This collared lizard was not afraid of mountain bikers at all. In fact, he posed for the camera.

Castle Valley Overlook

Location: 38.590591, -109.378838
Clint and Trent stop to look back on the climb. It's a 1,000-foot climb over 3 miles to the Castle Valley overlook, with great views of Moab in the background.


Location: 38.582065, -109.417166
Cautionary sign: This is a technical trail requiring advanced riding skills and a good full suspension bike. The trailhead and parking lot are 6.2 miles past the Slickrock Trailhead on Sand Flats Rd. The road is gravel here, but it is easily passable in a passenger car.


Location: 38.621689, -109.475159
Rich catches air off a ledge.


Location: 38.621372, -109.498398
The single track follows the top of the brown cliff layer (literally in some places so be careful). Below you can see the Colorado River and Highway 128.

Slickrock Fun

Location: 38.624784, -109.482751
If you didn't get enough on the Slickrock Trail, there's a slickrock play area on Porcupine Rim.

Marking Waypoints

Location: 38.621674, -109.502831
Rich stops to mark a waypoint along the edge of Jackass Canyon.


Location: 38.582065, -109.417166
The Porcupine Rim Trailhead has an open-air toilet, a small parking area, and cattle water tanks. Bring your own water -- the cattle tanks are non-potable. The trailhead and parking lot are 6.2 miles past the Slickrock Trailhead on Sand Flats Rd. The road is gravel here, but it is easily passable in a passenger car.

Singletrack Starts

Location: 38.619610, -109.488747
Bring your seat down when you start the run down the singletrack. You can fly here, but you'll want good brakes. Follow the singletrack west, down from the plateau.

Technical Jump

Location: 38.618843, -109.485161
At the wash before the singletrack, there is another highly technical ledge jump to navigate on an exposed rock formation.

Panoramic Views of Porcupine Rim

Location: 38.594334, -109.377351
After a 1,000-foot climb over 3 miles, Clint and Rich pause to take in the phenomenal views of Castle Valley from the Rim.

Parking Lot

Location: 38.611523, -109.532936
Park shuttle vehicles here on UT 128. Ride through the tunnel under the road at the trail's end rather than across the highway. Bonus: Half-pipe action in the tunnel.


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