Golden Spike Trail
The connection between Poison Spider Mesa and Gold Bar Rim was first developed as a jeep trail during the 1989 Jeep Safari. Some folks seem so fond of damaging their equipment that we have made it available most days. Much of the route is near the rim above Moab Valley and offers gorgeous views in all directions. Its main claim to fame, however, is that some “chicken routes” (where they exist!) still rate a 4+.
Most of the trail is just atop the sloping layer of Wingate Sandstone and offers vistas to the west and north. Of note are the Colorado River canyon in the vicinity of Amasa Back, the fin country of the north end of Behind the Rocks, and Jeep Arch. The higher north end of the trail opens vistas in all directions. Especially rewarding are the breath-stopping peeks over the cliff rim toward Arches National Park. (Warning! The cliff rim here overhangs in places and has been known to fall!)
The easy parts are layered broken rock and dirt, while the challenges are solid rock ledges. There is some slickrock, but it is those short, vertical sections that favor tall tires and locking differentials.
After passing the 3½-rated Poison Spider Mesa obstacles there is some easy slickrock fin driving with one very steep uphill (the Launching Pad) and one steep downhill. There are tight turns in a canyon bottom and one short slickrock ledge, followed by a long stretch of ups and downs over broken rock, with a few sharp steps. The Golden Crack marks the beginning of the final nasty mile to Gold Bar Rim. Highlights are the Golden Steps, Golden Ramp, Double Whammy, and the Body Snatcher. Bring only the best of equipment; the tow truck can’t make it.