Archive for December 2011
To complete Gold Bar & Golden Spike trail you will need full commitment. Why? From the Gemini Bridges trail head located at hwy 191 north of Moab,Gold Bar trail head is still 4.5 miles down the Gemini Bridges road. The road into Gold Bar should be driven with a high clearance vehicle and there’s nothing short about this trail run. I highly recommend using a shuttle service by either you the runner shuttle cars around or you can hire a local shuttle service.
The mileages are extremely high 16mile option or 20 mile (Moab’s Red Hot course) option, either case both have extreme Moab terrain to cover. One of my favorite options is to run up Gold Bar Rim then connect to Golden Spike and exit via Portal Trail. There is another route that stays up high along the rim called Blue Dot (14 miles) but BLM has closed this trail so run at your own risk of citation!
The first part of this run is 4.5 miles on the Gemini Bridges dirt road to the start of Gold Bar Rim trail. Its a hard packed road that meanders through a beautiful hidden canyon above hwy 191. There’s a mile steep hill climb at the start of this trail run so be prepared to go anaerobic at the beginning. Once you make your way through the upper canyon to Gold Bar you will veer left at the Gold Bar/Gemini Bridges junction.
Now the fun starts! Most of this trail is on slickrock which at times can be a calve burner. With its consistent steep climbs but also consistent beautiful scenery, its worth the work. Also, Gold Bar trail is not a very highly used trail this can be a plus. Once you leave the junction its 4 miles to the top of Gold Bar. Most of this trail is runnable to a conditioned trail runner. There are sections of this trail that will test your endurance even for the season trail runner. These are some of the obstacles to look forward to, there are ledges and cracks big enough for off-road vehicles to get wedged in, so run with caution! Once you arrive at the top take a break you deserve it! Take a look around at the views that surround you. You have Arches National Park just below you (east), Canyonlands National Park (west) and the majestic La Sal Mountains (east) of you. Once you rested here’s where you connect to Golden Spike or you can stay up high on Blue Dot trail (run at own risk of citation).
Golden Spike is where you really need the commitment. Its TOUGH! You can spend a lot of time off course looking for the faded trail markings across this massive slickrock uplift. The first few time I ran the Spike I spent a lot of my time looking for the next faded spray paint marking. The trail is a old jeep trail that traverses the Gold Bar Rim so there’s a lot of ups and downs to say the least. To make it more difficult the rim is at 45 degree angle! So traversing at times can be strenuous on the ankles. This section of Golden Spike is approximately 5 miles of brutal trail running. Being the race director of Moab’s Red Hot 55k/33k I’ve heard elite ultra runners tell me they cursed my name while traversing Golden Spike trail.
Eventually you will make your way across the Spike to the Golden Spike/Poison Spider junction where you can proceed down Poison Spider or run up to the Portal trail. This will depend on where you left you car. If you left it at the Portal trail (16 mile & highly recommended) you will have a 2 mile climb to the rim.Your trail run will continue along a killer single (Portal trail) track that will be exposed to 700ft drops to the Moab Valley, so take it slow running on this section. The Portal trail will drop you at Jaycee Campground along the Colorado River. If you left your car at the bottom of Poison Spider you have about a five mile run across Poison Spider plateau.
At 360 Moab Adventures we offer this trip as a full-day running tour. We would guide you along Golden Spike with no worries of being off course. On this full-day trail running tour you will be served a healthy deli lunch at the finishing trail head. Always remember this: You Can’t Get Lost On An Adventure! Nemi Talli (my son).