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Trails In Detail – CliffHanger – Moab, Utah Trails In Detail – CliffHanger – Moab, Utah
One of the best things about Jeeping in the Moab area is the variety of trails and scenery. There are so many trails ranging... Trails In Detail – CliffHanger – Moab, Utah

One of the best things about Jeeping in the Moab area is the variety of trails and scenery. There are so many trails ranging from scenic dirt roads to extreme buggy only areas. Cliffhanger is rated an 8 by the Red Rock 4-Wheelers, which is just a bit more extreme than their 7 rating which states that the trail consists of rock, sand and considerable slickrock with many steps exceeding 48”. Steep inclines and declines are prevalent. Enhanced off road equipment is required including locking devices (front & rear), 35″ tall tires, maximum vehicle ground clearance, and tow hooks. A winch is desirable. Excellent driving skills are required. Vehicle mechanical or body damage is likely. Roll over possibilities exist.

The trail goes out to an overlook of the Colorado River that is spectacular.  Since it retraces the route on the way back, most of the scenery is on the way back because the struggle to climb up from Kane Creek demands so much attention early in the day. The cliff edge view into Jackson Hole is inspiring, and the afternoon view of the LaSal Mountains and the Behind the Rocks area is one of the best.

Road Surface

Most of the road surface is rock. It crosses various sandstone layers that create difficult stair step ledges. There is some sand, some dirt amid the rock layers, and some fairly level slickrock.

Getting There

Taking Hwy 191 on the south side of Moab, head west on Kane Creek Blvd, following along the Colorado River. There will be a large parking area on the right about 4.5 miles up the dirt road and the road will wind left and downhill. Another 1.1 miles, the trail will begin on the right with a small sign designating “Amasa Back” and a steel sign with the “CliffHanger” cut into it.

Trail Details

This trail is only 4.3 miles one way, but expect it to take 3 to 4 hour to get out and back moving quickly and in a small group. There are also a few mountain bike crossings along this trail so be courteous. The trail grabs your attention immediately as it descends a cascade of rock ledges from the Kane Creek road to the creek bottom. The creek crossing can range from dry sand to quicksand to deep water depending upon recent weather. A difficult ledge awaits immediately after the creek crossing. From here on up the trail seems to consist of an endless series of steep, irregular ledges that require good ground clearance and maneuverability. The actual Cliffhanger obstacle is a big ledge on a narrow shelf trail overlooking Jackson Hole. The correct line at this obstacle changes constantly, and also changes for different wheelbases.
This trail ends where it begins, there is no other way off the Amasa Back Mesa.  About 2.0 miles in there is a spur trail which takes off to the right and leads to an overlook of the Poison Spider Trail and Highway 279 leading to and ending at the Potash plant. You will also have a good look at the Potash plant if you go all the way to the end of the Cliff Hanger trail.

Additional details can be found on the Red Rock 4-Wheelers page HERE

Current conditions can be had from the BLM Moab Field Office, 435-259-2100.


Corey Osborne Co-creator

After 23 years of corporate life, I decided to pursue my passions in the off road industry. Specializing in marketing, visibility, relationship and brand building, and acting as MetalCloak's field marketing representative, I have travelled across the country (quite a few times!) using Metalcloak’s CTI (Corner Travel Index) to educate the off road enthusiast. I have also worked with Jeep Jamboree USA as event staff, to provide additional value and education to its participants. I've been fortunate enough to work with both international as well as domestic media; have attended most of the off-road events across our country; and have driven a wide variety of vehicles. I'm a certified PADI scuba instructor and have a BS in Computer Science.