Porcupine Rim Overlook

Round Trip Distance: 6.2 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
Skill level:
Elevation: 5793 - 6845 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 2 hrs. 15 mins.
Trailhead: Porcupine Rim
Fee: $5/vehicle
Attractions: Scenic views

The Porcupine Rim Overlook trail is located in the Sand Flats Recreation Area east of Moab, Utah. The trail begins off of the Sand Flats Road and climbs to an overlook on the Porcupine Rim where stunning views of the Castle Valley area await. Motorized vehicles that can handle the very rough road can continue for about another 8 miles past the overlook while mountain bikers can ride another 11 miles or so all the way down to Highway 128.

The trailhead is 7 miles past the Sand Flats entry station along a gravel road that is suitable for most passenger cars.

The Porcupine Rim trail begins on the north side of the road across from the trailhead. Hidden behind a small juniper tree in this picture is a spring fed water trough.

The entire length of the trail to the overlook is along a jeep road.

Enroute the trail gains over 1000 feet of elevation with an average grade of 10%. The overall elevation gain with all the up and downhill sections there are comes out to 1600 feet. The Sand Flats brochure and the trailhead kiosk only mention 900 feet of elevation gain.

A scenic canyon on the north side of the trail adds some enjoyment as you climb toward the overlook.

The trail runs fairly smooth for much of the way but rough sections like this are continually interrupting the flow. For hikers they are no big deal. For mountain bikers they tend to demand an advanced skill level or a short bit of walking your bike. Some of them require a spotter for the folks driving jeeps.

At the 1.85 mile point a short trail that connects to the Sand Flats Road breaks off on the right. It provides a means for riders on the LPS trail to loop back to where they began.

When the trail does eventually reach the rim the views of Castle Valley are impressive.

The La Sal Mountains also make for a pretty picture.

There is a map at this point that provides some directions for those that are going to continue on over to the Whole Enchilada or follow the Porcupine Rim trail all the way down to the Colorado River.

For this post we turned around at the overlook and had a nice bouncy roll back to the trailhead. Going in this direction we were able to see a lot of scenery that we had missed on the ride up.

The Porcupine Rim Overlook is listed in a local book of 50 short hikes in the Moab area but that book has the round trip distance at only 4 miles. We were carrying 2 very expensive GPS devices that both showed it to be over 6 miles. We rode our mountain bikes for this one but if you watch the slideshow you will notice that we came across hikers, mountain bikers, jeeps and dirt bikes. The Porcupine Rim trail seems to be popular with just about all types of users. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your favorite toy or 'Take a hike'.