Behind The Rocks Trail

Behind The Rocks Wilderness Study Area, Utah

Elevation Gain1,446ft
Trailhead Elevation5,261ft
Elevation Min/Max5261/5774ft
Elevation Start/End5261/5261ft

Behind The Rocks Trail

Behind The Rocks Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in San Juan County, Utah. It is within Behind The Rocks Wilderness Study Area. It is 4.6 miles long and begins at 5,261 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 9.2 miles with a total elevation gain of 1,446 feet.

Behind The Rocks Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"This trail starts just south of the Behind the Rocks Wilderness Study Area. This particular WSA is completely closed to motorized travel to preserve its incredible beauty. This fantasy land of Navajo sandstone fins and domes is perhaps the most photographed area in Moab. Between difficult obstacles are stretches of easy terrain and unique arches. The trail concludes with a wild descent through remote Hunters Canyon. Behind the Rocks’ most difficult obstacle—White Knuckle Hill—may be the most dangerous and terrifying obstacle in Moab. It’s akin to driving off a series of small cliffs. Many drivers attach a safety strap to the rear of their vehicle to avoid tipping forward and tumbling down the hill. Others do it cold turkey.

Incredibly, some people actually turn around and drive back up. To make matters worse, White Knuckle Hill has no bypass. You must avoid this entire portion of the trail or turn around. Remaining obstacles are not much easier. High Dive and Upchuck are appropriately named. I’ve seen stock vehicles get through this trail, but not without a great deal of assistance and body damage. Lockers and extra high ground clearance are highly recommended. Even then, damage is possible. While landmarks and defined roads make route-finding manageable, the route is complex. Instructions must be followed carefully. Fortunately, if you get lost, the exit route is not far away."

"This 27-mile point-to-point ride begins by tracing dirt double-track roads through an area webbed with old prospecting roads. Staying on the route often demands great attention to detail (although the trail does typically follow the most beaten path).

Hard-packed sand, as well as soft wash sand—particularly annoying after extended dry weather—is encountered over the first 17 miles; then, from Yellow Hill on down through Pritchett Canyon, the trail turns into a rugged four-wheel-drive byway as it drops off ledge after ledge of Navajo sandstone. Loose cobbles help keep things interesting, too. It’s a long one, with enough aerobic and technical challenges to please any advanced fat-tire fanatic, yet manageable by intermediate to advanced-intermediate riders. The scenery encompasses open flats, views of the orange-hued fins of Behind the Rocks, a terrific overlook on Kane Creek Canyon and the marvelous, wild beauty of Pritchett Canyon, which serves as a portion of the boundary of the Behind the Rocks Wilderness Study Area. General location: South of Moab, between US 191 and Kane Creek Road."

"This is a mentally tiring ride demanding constant concentration. The route initially follows a portion of the 24 Hours of Moab bike race course, which is so technical you may wonder what made you pick this trail.

But it’s a fun ride for those ready for a wide variety of challenges. It also loops well by turning left at mile 13.2 to return via a technically mellow road to Prostitute Butte (see map for options)."

"This loop ride will surely challenge you technical skills and should only be attempted by advanced riders. It is VERY sandy and VERY rocky. The deal with this trail is that it is alternately very soft and very hard, never easy, and even when it gets flat, which is seldom, it is bumpy or sandy.

This ride is perfect for hammerheads who love to test their skills. The trail ranges from brutally slow and slogging to scary fast. The first half of the ride really beats you up. The second half, which takes place on the Back of Behind Trail, ores you silly, though most of the maintained road is downhill. Trail Surface: Technical jeep trail and maintained county road. Rolling hills, bedrock insults like repeated vertical slabs and stone ruts, sand, and a bit of slickrock and loose rubble."

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Trail Information

Behind The Rocks Wilderness Study Area
Nearby City
Behind The Rocks Wilderness Study Area

Bureau of Land Management, 435-259-2196
Moab Multi-Agency Information Center, 435-259-8825
Local Contacts
Moab Map
USGS Kane Springs Canyon, Trough Springs, and Moab; Moab West Trail Map; Moab Recreation Map.
USGS Kane Springs Canyon, Trough Springs, Moab
USGS Moab, Troughs Springs Canyon, Kane Springs
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Jul 2018