Trail Review: Golden Spike [UTAH]

Golden Spike trail is part of the trifecta of trails in Moab which consists of Gold Bar Rim, Golden Spike, and most of Poison Spider.

On our recent mantrip to Moab, Andy and I actually ran all three of these trails (alone) and (almost)without incident.  There were many cases where we took the easier option as we had no other rigs with us.

The trail officially “begins” on the Poison Spider side, but we ran it in reverse from Gold Bar Rim. The area is very well signed.  I am actually glad we traversed it in this order, as some of the descents we made off ledges seemed pretty difficult if we were climbing them.  The “point of no return factor, however was a bit daunting.

Some trail guides have this trail ending at the view point, while others include it as the end of Gold Bar Rim.  That being, said this review will begin at the “diving board.”

The “diving board.” A great place for photos, but be sure you are good with the clutch.

Shortly after the required photos at the diving board, we began the trail.

The first well known obstacle is the “Golden Stairs” which would have been more challenging to drive up, than down.  We chose a clean, simple line along the left (down hill).

Frank, at the top of Golden Stairs.

The trail continues to meander along a mix of slick rock and scattered dirt, with a few “gotcha” spots, but nothing that isn’t manageable.

Next was the infamous Golden Crack.

The Golden Crack has a few primary lines, but it is very clear which route most people take.  I was pretty excited to take this obstacle on, however being the only rig in our group and only a handful of Razrs at the crack, I sadly opted to take the bypass.  This is the exchange you make when wheeling alone.

You can clearly see the preferred line of attack.

We stopped at the crack for some sandwiches and a drink, then moved along.

I feel like every Jeeper has a story where the simplest obstacle almost claimed their rig. Such was the case at the spot below.  I let my friend Andy drive for a bit, and I chose a challenging line for him, but not the best line.

An almost serious spot.

Essentially, I had him place his DS front up higher on the ridge (to the left in the image) while his rear PS slipped off that little ledge in the bottom right of the pic. This made him get very tippy, with the Jeep literally teetering with the touch of a finger.

We placed some safety straps through the rock rails (and the pine tree to the  left) and ended up winching hard to driver from a small tree (out of frame).  We packed up the recovery gear and hit the trail.

The trail continued with small ledges, loose rock and the occasional climb.

A post “my Jeep almost rolled over” happy pic.

The scenery of this area is some of my favorite in all of Moab – with sweeping views of the Colorado River, Arches, and many other amazing vistas.

Beautiful terrain.

Next up was the daunting “Zuki Hill” but again, the descent was easier than attempting it uphill.  Although in retrospect it was mostly slickrock with the occasional small ledge so I think this obstacle looks a lot meaner than it really is.

The formidable Zuki Hill.

After Zuki was a nice little tight canyon that offered a short but sweet break from the sun.

This small ravine was pretty cool.

We soon arrived at Skyline Drive, a long, high fin that offers some steep slickrock driving as well as great views.

This is a common view as you ascend Skyline Drive – steep ascents!

Route finding became a little challenging shortly after Skyline, so be sure to keep track of the trail markers.  Black tire marks are also hard to find.

Some slickrock on the way to Launch Pad.

We soon arrived at the final “obstacle” along this trail – the Launch Pad.  This is a steep, short drop and a VERY steep (almost unwalkable) climb.  Unfortunately due to the long day (we still had the majority of Poison Spider to finish) and being the only rig, we also opted to bypass this.

Soon the intersection with Poison Spider appeared, and we were that much closer to a cold beer.

Near the intersection with Poison Spider.

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