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Golden Spike
Grand County, Utah
View this on the Utah Trailheads Map

Trail Type: Straight Through
Nearby Towns: Moab
Nearby Trails: Poison Spider Mesa, Gold Bar Rim, Rusty Nail
Season: Year Round
Trail Length: 6.28 miles
Elevation: 4,573 to 5,392 feet
Named Obstacles: Launch Pad, Skyline Drive, Witch's Crotch, Washtub, Zuki Hill, Golden Crack, Buggy Challenge, Golden Stairs, Golden Coaster, Double Whammy, Body Snatcher

Recommended by Chad T.
Recommended by Darrin
Recommended by Fred
Recommended by Gary
Recommended by Jason
Recommended by Kendall
Recommended by Ladd
Recommended by Mark
Recommended by Matt F.
Recommended by Mike C.
Recommended by Mike B.
Recommended by Mitch
Recommended by Patrick D.
Recommended by Sean G.

This is probably the most famous trail in the Moab area, with the infamous Golden Crack. It's worth the eleven-hour day just to drive through it. The trio of Poison Spider Mesa, Golden Spike and Gold Bar Rim is known as the "Trifecta" by TrailDamage.com members.

This trail was created to link the Poison Spider Mesa trail to the Gold Bar Rim trail. It is very long and continuously challenging. You start from near to the end of Poison Spider Mesa on some rock fins.

It doesn't take long to get to Launch Pad, a very steep descent and then an immediate hill. What a blast! Even though it's very steep it's not too dangerous as long as you don't get sideways.

Right after that there is a crazy hill called the Witch's Crotch marked with tire tracks but not really part of the trail (the trail goes to the left of it). Good luck but don't go too fast and flip your vehicle over!

Skyline Drive is a big fin you can drive up then right back down. It's optional but fun, and makes a great place to have lunch and watch other people around you for miles.

Just after Skyline Drive is the Washtub. Sometimes there is water in one of the sinkholes at the bottom of it, making your tires wet so it's even more difficult to get over the tall, sandy ledges at the top of the obstacle. In 2005 the ledge at the top was widened considerably when some brush was removed by vandals, making this obstacle a little easier than it has been in past years.

Zuki Hill is immediately after the Washtub. It is a very steep hill of slickrock that threatens to tip over vehicles with short wheelbases (like Suzuki Samurais).

There are many overlooks and all of them are worth getting out for. You can get some really amazing views of Moab and the surrounding area. The first overlook comes at a "T" intersection. The trail goes left at the "T" but there is a short drive to a dead end if you turn right, where you are treated with an amazing view of Moab and the highway below.

You'll travel along the edge of the cliff and finally come to another overlook close to the edge where you can see a good portion of Arches National Park. At this point you are on the cliff across the highway from the entrance to the park.

Then you are treated to ledge after ledge, drop-off after hill after tippy spot. Choose your lines carefully so you can make it to the Golden Crack, but enjoy the multiple unnamed challenges along the way.

You come down off of some ledges and are presented with a large and slightly tippy flat area of rock. The Golden Crack is on the other end and you're right on top of it before you realize it. You'll see scrapes in the rock where people go through. Take it at an angle and go slowly. You'll find there is a trick to it, and even though it's a large crack, stock vehicles should be able to get through it without any damage. If you find you can't get through (and it's too far to turn around and go back), try putting a spare tire in the Crack to drive over.

Immediately after the Golden Crack is the Buggy Challenge, a big pile of large rocks that you can drive up and over. This obstacle is usually reserved for very modified vehicles, and the main trail goes around it to the right.

The Golden Stairs are some big ledges but not impossible. After all of the other obstacles you've been through at this point, the Golden Stairs don't seem too tough at all.

The Golden Coaster is a roller coaster of slickrock with three fun hills to climb, all in a row. There are a few lines through it, and the last hill has some good options.

Double Whammy is meant for long wheelbases and is optional and fun for longer cars. Unfortunately it is very easy to miss. After the Golden Stairs keep watching for a place where the trail splits and you can go to the right around a rock where the main trail obviously goes to the left. Double Whammy is just around the corner and there is plenty of room to turn around if you just want to see it (or if you try and can't make it up).

The Body Snatcher wants to mangle your passenger door, so plan wisely. This particular obstacle is cruel to longer wheelbases and larger vehicles. We have seen the most damage here, primarily from the rock that sticks out on the right. Larger vehicles may want to stay very far on the left, while smaller vehicles can go straight through without any trouble.

You'll then come around the corner to the end of the Gold Bar Rim trail. You'll turn left to keep working your way through the trail, though it is worth it to go to the right to see a couple of fun ledges of rock that are on the very end of Gold Bar Rim before the cliff edge.

Information last updated on May 21st, 2009.

Member Reports

Driving Directions

This trail starts part of the way through the Poison Spider Mesa trail and ends near the very end of the Gold Bar Rim trail. It is typically run from Poison Spider through Gold Bar Rim. You can also access the last bit of the trail by taking Rusty Nail to just past the Golden Crack.

Meeting Places

Meet at the McDonald's at Kane Creek Road and Main Street in Moab or at the Poison Spider Mesa trailhead where there is a pit toilet and ample parking.

Low-End Rating: 5
High-End Rating: 8
Rock Crawling:
Dirt & Mud:
Water Crossings:
Playgrounds:
Cliffs & Ledges:
Climbs & Descents:
Elevation:
Scenery:
Other Activities:
 
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Trail Photographs

Mike in the Golden Crack Kendall on Double Whammy Mitch down a big ledge
A big scrape on the way down Incredible view of Moab and the La Sal mountains Spike marker

Trail Movies
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Maps and Coordinates
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Trail in Red
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386 KB

Golden Spike (GPS Exchange File)
Skyline Drive (Google Earth Placemark)
Golden Crack (Google Earth Placemark)
Intersection With Gold Bar Rim (Google Earth Placemark)
Golden Spike Trailhead (Google Earth Placemark)
Launch Pad (Google Earth Placemark)
Witchs Crotch (Google Earth Placemark)
Washtub (Google Earth Placemark)
Jeep Arch (Google Earth Placemark)
First Overlook (Google Earth Placemark)
Double Whammy (Google Earth Placemark)
Golden Stairs (Google Earth Placemark)
Second Overlook (Google Earth Placemark)
Zuki Hill (Google Earth Placemark)
Golden Coaster (Google Earth Placemark)
Body Snatcher (Google Earth Placemark)
Buggy Challenge (Google Earth Placemark)
Golden Spike Track (Google Earth Track)

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Trail information is only accurate on the date posted. Trails may have changed or closed since that date. Use this information for historical purposes only. Contact the Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management for up-to-date trail information.

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