2018 Moab Easter Jeep Safari – Day 2: Poison Spider Mesa
Red Rock 4 Wheelers, Inc. hosts the annual Easter Jeep Safari. With permits and other expenses increasing every year, TeraFlex sponsored two of the approximately 50 trails this year including Hell’s Revenge and Poison Spider.
Poison Spider Mesa + Where Eagles Dare
More than 40 Jeeps (and one Toyota 4Runner) showed up on the second day including a pair of old-school Willys pickups -- the red one on 42" tires -- and a pair of JK8 Pickup Conversions. The yellow JK8 featured plenty of TeraFlex and Falcon components, while the charcoal JK8 is powered by a supercharged 6.2-liter HEMI V-8 from a Hellcat.
Located northwest of the city of Moab, Poison Spider Mesa sits west of Moab Valley and north of the Colorado River and is accessed from Scenic Byway 279. After climbing the sloping rock layers, the majority of the trail is spent on a loop that reaches the rim. The loop surface is mostly Navajo Sandstone slickrock with a small section of bare rock. Other trail features include rock ledges, sandy wash bottoms, and two blow-sand hills.
The initial climb (and final descent) includes switchbacks, while other features include a sandy flat stretch as well as a sandy canyon to reach the Waterfall. Other sections include ascending several rock ledges. An optional V-notch section allows for some fun by lifting the driver side front wheel off the surface.
While the majority of the trail is conquerable by vehicles with at least 33” tires (rated 6 in difficulty), the climb up to Where Eagles Dare requires more modifications to clear 35” or larger tires (rated 7 in difficulty).
This trail includes amazing scenery combined with challenging obstacles to make it fun without much worry about hurting your rig. Once the loop is completed, the trail descends back to civilization along the same route climbed to the rim. Despite its name, Poison Spider Mesa there are no more black widow spiders than the surrounding areas.
The views from Poison Spider Mesa include “vistas across the fins of Behind the Rocks toward the La Sal Mountains,” while the view from the rim provides a 360-degree view including an overlook of the city and the Colorado River 1,000’ below. The lunch stop is only a short hike to Little Arch, while Jeep Arch can be seen from the rim.
The optional Where Eagles Dare loop adds bigger slickrock mounds, extremely steep ascents, sidehills, and descents down solid slickrock. The reward for this optional section includes views of the railroad tracks that head to the potash plant and Corona Arch.
The total route is 37 miles including 21 miles off road.
- Jason Udy