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Moab Off Road Trail Spotlight: Porcupine Rim

Not all trails in Moab make it to the popular list. Some are less famous but just as exciting with enough challenges to keep any avid off-roader happy. During our Southern Utah trail rides, we try and include some of these trails so that people can experience them alongside the more popular ones. We also encourage off-roaders to download Southern Utah trail maps so that they can discover more trails to explore in the area.

One of the less famous but still awesome trails near the Sand Flats Recreational Area in Moab is Porcupine Rim.

Porcupine Rim Trail Overview

The Porcupine Rim trail starts off the graded Sand Flats Road about 9.5 miles from Moab before finally dropping to a ledge above Negro Bill Canyon. This gem in the Sand Flats area might not be as popular as others but running it is well worth the time and effort, if only for the scenery alone. The vistas from the top of the rim are breathtaking and we’ll guarantee you’ll be glad you made the trip.

The route mostly traces a narrow terrace on the upper slope of the canyon and drops down to a small drainage before starting the rocky ascent to the top of the rim.  Much of the terrain is bumpy and this will test your endurance. However, other than the rocky outcrops and ledges that you have to look out for, this trail has no major challenges, though it’s rated 5. You can comfortably run it in a slightly modified 4WD with rear lockers and tires that are at least 33” high. Adequate ground clearance is also a good idea to avoid snagging on some of the outcrops.

Porcupine Rim Trail Scenery and Surface

This area has featured in several movies and TV shows over the years, proving just how magnificent the scenery is. The Porcupine Rim trail offers incredible views into Negro Bill and Rill canyons as well as panoramic views of the La Sal Mountains. Castle Valley stretches out 1500ft below and some of the prominent buttes such as Perriott Mesa, Priest & Nuns, and Round Mountain.

The trail surface consists of sandy dirt, loose sand, and slickrock. However, you’ll mostly have to deal with bedrock especially in protruding ledges and knobs as you head to the rim. Since the area has a high elevation, there’s often residual mud and snow in the spring.

Porcupine Rim Trail Obstacles and other Details

Other than the bumpy road surface, there are also some off-camber ledges near the head of Negro Bill Canyon where your driving skills will be put to the test. As you make your way  towards the rim, the rocks in the rock bed become larger and more frequent so keep your attention on the trail.

While the bumps on the road shouldn’t result in major damage, accidents can happen. To keep your ride in top condition both before and after a trail run, bring it down to the Dixie 4 Wheel Drive auto shop in Moab. We’ll be glad to help you.


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