Quiet, scenic hike with views of the La Sal Mountains. A 680 ft. elevation gain at the start, then an open meadows hike to the Petroglyphs at the turnaround. Perfect for a summer afternoon as the rock walls to the west provide shade.
This beautiful trail is 3 miles from town and is surprisingly quiet and scenic. It can be a quick one way run or you can make it longer by linking it with the Moab Rim Trail. The traditional trail is 4 miles round trip with the entirety of its 680 vertical gain at the start. From there, the hike is a stroll through a grassy meadow with views of the La Sal Mountains within the hidden valley between the walls of Sandstone that defines the western edge of Moab. At the turnaround you are treated with an extensive panel of petroglyphs. It’s perfect for an afternoon in the summer as the tall sandstone walls to the west provide shade.
What Makes It Great
According to Grand County Search and Rescue, the BLM Wildfire team uses the first section of this trail, known as the Barney Rubble (680 vertical feet of rocky uphill trail) as their training test carrying all of their gear. They report training times of 15-17 minutes -impressive. The first 680 vertical feet will get your heart pumping and give a sense of accomplishment to be rewarded by a mile and a half of grassy meadow in a hidden valley. It is an example of the extreme forces of tectonic plate movements that define the Colorado Plateau; consider this little valley is hidden within what seem to be a massive wall of Sandstone. With every step through the open meadow, the view of the La Sal Mountains improve. At the end of the valley, ascend to a small pass, and from there the views expand.
The traditional trail goes over this pass for a 1/3 of a mile before reaching its turn around. Much more impressive is to go north towards the western wall of the Sandstone outcropping to admire the petroglyph panels that extend for ¼ of a mile.The farther you go along the petroglyph panel, the more open the view to the north and the west.
Take a map and orient yourself, you will see Amassa Back, Poison Spider Plateau and a hint of Dead Horse Point.
Who is Going to Love It
This trail is great for an afternoon hike in the heat of summer as the tall Sandstone walls provide shade. The first 680 vertical feet are strenuous and it is important to be careful with your footing. From the trailhead, the climb is visible. If it appears to be too much, Pipeline Trail leaves from the same parking lot and follows the base of the Sandstone Wall all the way to the Colorado River north of town. After the intial climb, it will become a flat trail. Be careful in the heat of summer and the cold of winter, temperatures in Moab can be extreme and change rapidly, do not underestimate the weather conditions. There is no water available on this route. It’s a gorgeous, accessible hike or run.
Directions, Parking, & Regulations
The trailhead is accessible via Angel Rock Road, three miles south of town on route 191. Angel Rock Road is just south of the Grand County Search and Rescue (you will see the radio tower.) Take a right heading west on Angel Rock Road, at the T, turn left heading north and the trailhead will become visible to your left.It is BLM land, there are no fees but there is a sign-in.
Dogs are allowed and will also need water. Remember with dogs if they are coming out of the ski resorts with a winter of running on snow, that their paws will need time to get tougher before being able to do longer ventures.