Trailforks Trail of the Month: Porcupine Rim, Utah

Feb 27, 2024 at 1:05
by Holly Duncan  
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Picture this: red rock towering around you, endless desert landscapes, and the promise of an epic ride ahead.


What makes Porcupine Rim a legendary one? For starters, this isn't your grandma's Sunday stroll; you'll experience an intense climb that'll have your quads firing, gnarly exposure and views that are worth every drop (or river) of sweat.

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Alright, enough sightseeing.

Moab is renowned for its challenging terrain, and this trail does not fall short. Some can complete the trail in an hour non-stop, but most will take the time to session various sections and drops and take in the breathtaking views of Castle Valley. You also have the option to shuttle to the top of the trailhead.


When you start feeling at home in the saddle, you'll encounter a gnarly stretch of trail, also known as the infamous "Rocky Top" section.. the trail then throws another curveball at you, a steep and technical descent called "The Notch". You'll want to tighten your bike shorts up a notch, and as for your brakes, well.. they're guaranteed to be working overtime down this section.

bigquotesUpper portions are great for views, but the last 2 miles of trail, that's where it's at! Some of the best built trail you can find anywhere with amazing views and technical moves.bschleenbaker

Self-portrait taken in Moab UT. March 2017
Self-portrait taken in Moab UT. March 2017

Self-portrait taken in Moab UT. March 2017

The final stretch is the highlight of the ride, especially as the winding Colorado River comes into view as you approach the canyon floor. To get back to town, you can either pedal the paved bike path or leave a car at the bottom.

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bigquotesGreat ride - one of my favorite trails in Moab! Get a shuttle up and just enjoy the ride down! Love the technical sections and the views are incredible. Highly recommend this trail to any confident rider, and those from out of town should definitely do it (if they're good riders and not afraid of exposure or semi-sketchy technical descents).kiki1597

So if you happen to find yourself in the area, make sure to hit up Porcupine Rim - and given that this trail is rated #12 in the world on Trailforks, you'll be left wanting 'Mo-ab' it Wink and for those looking for a bigger Moab mission, consider riding the "Whole Enchilada" which includes Porcupine Rim, Kokopelli, Hazard County and Burro Pass.

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Any donations to Moab Trail Mix go a long way in fuelling the ongoing development and maintenance of their trails, ensuring it stays in prime condition for all users. Bonus: earn Trail Karma while you're at it!



Author Info:
thespeedykiwi avatar

Member since Sep 4, 2018
8 articles

70 Comments
  • 39 0
 Every time I ride this, I forget how fun it is.
  • 14 48
flag stravaismyracecourse (Feb 27, 2024 at 9:33) (Below Threshold)
 Yeah? Big fire road enthusiast?
  • 14 1
 @stravaismyracecourse: are you really going to say that lower porcupine rim isn't awesome? yeah there's fire road, and yeah, some of the whole enchilada is kinda boring, but the last couple miles of LPS is awesome.

That being said, mag 7 is better.
  • 8 1
 @grnmachine02: Woof...not so sure. Gold Bar Rim is brutal...
  • 3 2
 @grnmachine02: Yes, LPS is cool. But represented as a percent, LPS (the good part of the trail) is 14% of the trail.
  • 7 0
 @stravaismyracecourse: I guess so. What can I say, man? I have a good time.
  • 5 1
 @wolftwenty1: I guess better is in the eye of the beholder. I thought gold bar was spectacular, even with the climb.
  • 3 0
 Any time I have ridden it's usually combined with the Whole Echilada. Few fire road sections, but taken as the whole ride, still 100% worth it.
  • 6 1
 @grnmachine02: lower half portal has to be one of the best descents in Moab
  • 1 0
 @stormracing: Yeah i really enjoyed it. Honestly, I enjoyed the top part of portal also, but once you get past the exposure it's just awesome.
  • 3 0
 @stravaismyracecourse: You get it. UPS and LPS are what people are thinking of.
  • 3 0
 @grnmachine02: 100%. Wish you could skip the first 6 Mags lol.
  • 4 0
 @wolftwenty1: What? Gold bar was the best part until the Portal descent
  • 2 0
 @gnarnaimo: I think for most people (i include myself in this as I'm not in great shape by any means but still loved every minute of it) are so gassed from the climb to gold bar that they can't enjoy it. Both guys I was with bonked so hard that by the time we reached portal they were practically a danger to themselves even walking the whole thing.

That being said they also took on Mag 7 with two granola bars and like half a camelbak of water. So you know, play stupid games win stupid prizes.
  • 17 1
 What they don't tell you is the middle section is fireroad.. But those last 2 miles sure are fun
  • 9 0
 If you link this with the full enchilada, please take enough water... When the weather is good enough to ride the whole loop, you're going to need more water than you think. Even if there's still snow at the top, you're going to wish you had more water by the end.
  • 1 0
 Top tier ride. Going early and keeping breaks short to avoid the worst of the heat is definitely the move.
  • 7 0
 My wife and I took a trip to Moab for a week and did Porcupine Rim Trail and thought it was a blast! Coming from Ontario it was quite the change in scenery and terrain.

I agree that if it’s not your thing don’t hate on it. I personally enjoyed it and thought it was a great trail and Moab was a great town to spend some time!
  • 5 0
 I live and ride in Moab. No one calls any part of porcupine trail "rocky top". Navajo rocks trail system has a trail called Rocky tops. This trail really is not for beginners. just fyi. If your into a trail that has both really fast and techy, this is it.
  • 13 4
 TrailDorks: Killing the vibe with mid ride phone scrolling since 2014.
  • 4 0
 Busted.
  • 8 1
 this is a great opportunity to promote @moabtrailmix social media to get trail conditions updates for the rest of the winter!
www.instagram.com/moabtrailmix/?hl=en
  • 1 1
 Yeah @moabtrailmix!!
  • 3 0
 I’ve done PR at least a dozen times since the mid-90’s and it never, ever disappoints.
Anybody done the “full porky”?
A friend talked me and 4 others to start at the parking lot of Sand Flats, ride up to the trailhead, do PR, ride back thru town and back to the parking lot. It was fine until the road leading up to Sand Flats, we dropped 4 people and I barely made it. Never gonna do it again, lol.
  • 1 0
 That’s a stage of Moab Rocks.
  • 5 0
 Back in '94 (my first trip to Moab) my friend convinced me that we should just ride the whole loop from town (back then, you turned left off Sand Flats road at the stock tanks and up to the rim, then down). Not knowing any better and with promises of a sweet descent to the river at the end, we muscled our sweet hard tails with brand new Manitou 3 forks up a million feet of elevation, only to discover that it was another million miles back into town on the road at the end. I have fond memories of cursing Russ many times that day (and that trip).
  • 2 1
 Center and Main St. to Center and Main St., Town to Town Porcupine Rim loop record is 2 hours 16min, Brad Chisolm
  • 8 2
 corporations try not to paywall everything challenge (impossible)
  • 5 0
 I think it's cool that they featured the TF user photos that were uploaded to the trail. Nice touch.
  • 2 0
 The Trailforks Top Trails in the World function is a joke...and this is coming from someone who a) loves Trailforks and b) Lives in the S2S and rides those trails regularly. It would be a worthwhile challenge to re-write that algorithm
  • 4 0
 IME most people would prefer the Raptor Route as an alternative to Porky, if they are doing the Whole Enchilada.
  • 4 0
 the Raptor Route ending is awesome! especially if you're running out of food, water, tubes, energy or skill
  • 3 0
 Ive the Whole Enchilda 4 times and still love all it (except the climb up Burro Pass), even the jeep road if haul ass off the endles ledges.
  • 2 0
 I’ve done the Enchilada a few times. It’s a solid ride and never disappoints.
  • 5 0
 I've never heard of this one. Is it new.
  • 4 0
 Well thank god this hidden gem finally got some attention! Smile Smile Smile
  • 13 10
 Endless double track ftw
  • 15 0
 I feel like discounting it as doubletrack is a disservice to the trail. Flying down the chunky steppy double track is a riot thrown in to an overall experience that makes this trail as popular as it is.
  • 3 0
 but hey, you are welcome to stay away from it if you choose!
  • 2 12
flag MattQEkBp1 (Feb 27, 2024 at 10:13) (Below Threshold)
 @adrennan: it’d be fun if it was consistently downhill or flat but it’s just weird uphills with no consistent grade. It’s just one of those trails you do once and never return
  • 41 0
 @adrennan: people complain about everything on the internet. If you can’t have fun on this trail, you’re doing bikes wrong.
  • 3 12
flag MattQEkBp1 (Feb 27, 2024 at 10:56) (Below Threshold)
 @stevemokan: Moab is just a very overrated place compared to other destination mtb spots, if you’re going to make a long trip to the region I’d say Durango in the summer or Sedona in the winter
  • 16 0
 @MattQEkBp1: Sedona is cool but has very little in in the way sustained dh. I'd take Moab over Sedona every time.
  • 3 0
 @MattQEkBp1: Yeah @stevemokan ....you should check these places out Smile
  • 1 4
 @ridingsteeps: neither does Moab, Phoenix and Tucson are way better if you want 2k plus feet drops
  • 3 0
 I'm spoiled for single-track here in BC, and I still really loved Porcupine rim when I rode it. The single track toward the end is amazing, and the double track stuff is at least interesting, with lots of small drops and rocks to work with. Additionally, amazing views.
  • 3 0
 @MattQEkBp1: where in Phoenix do you drop 2k?
  • 1 3
 @birdsandtrees: just have to do two laps on south mountain
  • 3 0
 @MattQEkBp1: haha well I guess you can drop 2k anywhere in the world. What’s you favorite HAB at SoMo?
  • 1 3
 @birdsandtrees: none I’m a trials king
  • 2 0
 @MattQEkBp1: I love SoMo and all, but you doing out and backs on National doesn’t mean you have it better than Moab or something. Plus you all lost one of the best trails in the area.
  • 2 0
 @MattQEkBp1: Isn't the whole enchilada like 6k of descent? there are not a ton of places where you are getting that.
  • 1 3
 @adrennan: sure there are some road descents that are that long, and prolly way more interesting too. Quality>quantity
  • 3 0
 Does the trials princess even ride dh?
  • 1 3
 @ridingsteeps: yasss queeennnn
  • 2 0
 @MattQEkBp1: That's because you don't know how to truly ride our terrain. Once you figure out how Moab trails ride. It opens up a whole new meaning to flow. You don't ride our trails, you dance with them.
  • 1 4
 @Jamhunsam: should I bring my gravel bike next time?
  • 1 0
 @MattQEkBp1: I guess so. If that's what blows your hair back.
  • 3 1
 Done in 2016 with some Friends, amazing trail.
  • 3 1
 SIVERS making mags and MES participants proud everywhere he goes!
  • 6 5
 Do we really need more press for Moab?
  • 2 0
 I mean I guess we all could share, right?
  • 5 0
 are you asking from the perspective of:

"Moab is boring, I'm tired of hearing about it"

or

"this article is gonna blow the lid off a top secret bike destination"

Genuinely curious ..
  • 2 0
 I prefer Moob.
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