Poison Spider Mesa views of Behind the Rocks


May 18, 2012
Hi. I wondered if there's anyone who has 4x4ed and hiked on Poison Spider Mesa. I'm visiting from the UK so won't have 4WD or experience of tough trails, but I want to hike up there cos there are wonderful views east to Behind The Rocks area just across the river.

Obviously to get up on to the mesa I'd start by hiking up the 4WD trail switchbacks but after completing them I don't know where best to go to see across the river to the east to BTRocks as the jeep trail then follows the rim north west as the Colorado bends round in a U shape so I'd be the "wrong" side of the mesa.

My first thought is leave the jeep trail and keep hiking north east along the mesa rim right opposite BTRocks. However looking at google earth there could be cliffs and canyons forcing me away from the rim in a very twisty fashion. And I don't even know if I'd be getting higher than the Behind The Rocks area to be OVERLOOKING it.

Or there are some very big domes right at the top of the switchbacks, but I don't know if they are too steep to climb? This may be better

The other thing I've read is that if I stay on the 4WD route after the switchbacks then after about 2 miles at a slickrock step called The Waterfall there is a great viewpoint O.3 miles off the jeep trail. However a map suggests at this point the jeep trail has curved into a part of the mesa a fair way from the rim opposite BTRocks so unless it is a very high vantage point I'm wondering if I could see across over a mile of mesa top to the otther side of the river. I don't want to hike 5 miles if its pointless

The third suggestion I've had is at Little Arch if I go up the Portal Trail. This seems the highest altitude of the three, but distance wise maybe further from the best Behind The Rocks' domes and fins

Appreciate any advice


Dec 11, 2013
I've 4x4ed it before, but never hiked it. If you wanted to, I'm sure you could hitch-hike a ride up with some of the jeepers, they're usually a pretty good group.

I've never thought about hiking that trail, but I'll bet it would be beautiful.


Jan 17, 2012
It's been a few years since I've been up there, but I recall that once you get up past the waterfall on the Jeep trail there are plenty of low fins to climb onto that give you nice views over Behind the Rocks towards the La Sal's


Mar 3, 2013
Rather drive it, always a fun trip. Dry, hot and long..... You are correct , this trail you need 4x4 experience.
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