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Golden Spike Trail – Moab, Utah
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Overview
Location

Moab, Utah

Sights

Great desert views high above Moab

Distance

6.7 miles for Golden Spike proper. 20 miles for all required trails.

Parking Lot Elevation

4,276

Summit Elevation

5,332

Elevation Gain/Loss

My GPS tracked 1650 feet ascent and 800 feet descent from the Poison Spider trail head to the start of Gold Bar Rim

Time Required

5-10 Hours

Pets

Yes

Fees

No

Water Info

Bring plenty. It can be very hot

Best Season

Any. May not be passable on heavy snow years

Sun Exposure

No shade

Trail Condition

Very rough 4x4 trail

Restrooms

At trail head

Food

Its a long trip. I would pack a lunch at the very least.

Family Friendly?

No

GPS Coordinates:

Poison Spider Mesa Trail Head:38.53316 N, 109.60677 W
Golden Spike Start:38.59803 N, 109.61251 W
Golden Spike End/Gold Bar Rim Start:38.60823 N, 109.63671W
Gemini Bridges Trail Head:38.65653 N, 109.67614 W

Trail Map


Driving Directions


The Trail:

Golden Spike is a very popular and challenging 4×4 trail in Moab. It offers great scenery the entire way. The trail is doable on ATV’s with some partner assistance. It should not be taken lightly and is not for beginning riders. You will need 4×4. UTV’s do very well with proper riding technique. Dirt Bikes also do great but you better be an experienced rider. 4×4 vehicles will need at least 35 inch tires and will need front and rear lockers. We had 3 ATV’s, 1 UTV, and 1 dirt bike. Doing this trail will require most of the day. The Golden Spike trail itself is only 6.7 miles but it is constant obstacles. Rarely will you exceed 10 mph. To do the trail also requires riding half of Poison Spider Mesa, all of Gold Bar Rim, and most of Gemini Bridges. You will need a shuttle if you don’t have street legal vehicles to get back to the trail head when you are done. All these can be found in separate treks here:

Poison Spider Mesa

Gold Bar Rim

Gemini Bridges

We started our trip at the Poison Spider Mesa side. The parts of Poison Spider you ride are lots of fun.

Just before the half way point of Poison Spider you will see the turn signed for Golden Spike on your left.

You will very quickly hit the first obstacle called the launchpad. This is a great spot to see if this trail is for you. Its very steep but not overly hard. See the video at the end of the trek for good views of the hill. 

The next obstacle is called skyline drive. It is optional but I highly recommend it for the good views at the top. It is not as steep as the launch pad but is much longer. Once at the top you get great distant views toward Canyonlands. If you do not want to try then the rest of the trail is on the left with the right taking you up skyline drive.

If you look far below you you will see the white dashes of the trail you are about to do.

Once back to the trail you will pass the turn for where eagles dare. You will need to stay right here for golden spike. Where eagles dare has even larger obstacles. The next obstacle is called Zuki Hill. It starts with a pothole often full of water and then a technical climb. ATV’s and bikes can bypass the steepest part of the hill.

Next is a set of easier climbs.

You will then come to a T in the trail. Left is the rest of the trail. I highly recommend the short side trip to the right. It takes you to the edge of the rim with great views. This was an awesome place for lunch.

The views down into the valley are great.

You can see into arches as well!

From here it is a long set of short but some very steep ledges that will test the wheel base of ATV’s. Don’t be afraid to ask for a hand.

The last and most popular obstacle you will encounter is called the Golden Crack. This is a wide and deep crack that can really test a vehicle. Our dirt bike was able to jump right across but the others all took some finangling. Again be sure to watch the video for better detail.

From the crack it is just a short distance to where Gold Bar Rim starts which is covered in a separate Trek.

Here is a video showing our ride.

Personal Thoughts:

 This makes for a long and sometimes exhausting day but it sure is a lot of fun! Perfect for people who like some good obstacles. Trek Planner Logo

Ratings (out of 10)
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Difficulty
9.0
Enjoyment
7.0
The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

8.0
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About The Author
Josh1990
I love adventure! I live in Cache Valley, Utah. Do you have questions on any of my Treks? Email me @ joshua.oyler@gmail.com

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2 Comments on "Golden Spike Trail – Moab, Utah"

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Sam Harris
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Hi Josh! Thanks for all the 4×4 “treks” you have done here! You have done a remarkable job of getting some fantastic shots. I currently live in Florida and will hauling my toy-hauler to Utah in April for a big rendezvous and will be taking all of your printed treks with me. So thank you for that! One minor complaint is if on the “driving directions” part, is if you can make it go from Moab to the location itself. As in, I’ll already be in Moab already and don’t need directions from Salt Lake City to the Trailhead. Does… Read more »