Summary: The 7+ rated Moab Rim trail ascends steeply tilted rock strata to climb to the top corner (and beyond) of the Moab Rim at the Colorado River just east of Moab. Dangerous obstacles, spectacular views in all directions, and ancient Indian ruins add excitement to the trip.
Location: Leave Highway 191 in Moab going west on Kane Creek Road near McDonald’s. The trailhead is only about two and a half miles down Kane Creek Road. The first portion of the trail doubles back and parallels the Colorado River above the road you drove in on.
The Trail: The Moab Rim trail is very difficult. Broken axles and rollovers are not uncommon. The first major obstacle is the Devil’s Crack. Be careful, it is easy to lay your side x side on its side here and it is very near the gorge and it is a long, long way down. The next major obstacle is the “Z” turn. It requires a sharp right and then a left while climbing steep irregular rock ledges. Toward the end of the trail is an optional rock dome with a steep 85% grade.
Initially, the magnificent views of the Colorado River gorge are captivating but be careful, you are very near the edge and it is a long way down! From the top of the Moab Rim, views of Moab, the Moab Valley, the La Sal Mountains, and Arches National Park are spellbinding on a clear day. High points later on in the trail also afford interesting views into the Behind the Rocks area to the south.
Prehistoric Indian Ruins are a key feature of this trail. Just a short (but steep) walk from the ruins that dominate some high ground allows inspection of hundreds of prehistoric petroglyphs on the canyon walls. What do these petroglyphs mean? What was life like for these ancient Indians? Where did they come from and where did they go and why? There are theories but no generally accepted answers. Enjoy a little time speculating on these mysteries as you inspect the ruins and petroglyphs.
A world-class 4×4 trail so close to Moab that you look directly down on the town from the overlooks. Obstacles are awe-inspiring and very photogenic. Under no circumstances drive into the wilderness study area that borders the south side of the rail. Hidden Valley is a fun hike with much to see.