Nearest town: Moab, UT
Distance from Denver: 358 mi / 5:30
Location: Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
Distance: 4.8 – 6.0 mi RT +
Elevation at TH: 4,560 ft
Direction notes: Take Hwy 191 S out of Moab about 3 mi, stay in the R lane and turn R on Angel Rock Rd. There is a small brown sign on the Hwy for “Hidden Valley Trail” and a small green road sign. Follow the dirt road toward the Moab Rim (big rock wall in front of you). Go R at the T and follow the road as it curves left and ends at the TH.
Trailhead: Signage and basic map
Dates hiked: May 15, 2013 and June 8, 2011
Hiking from Here to WOW: Utah Canyon Country, published by Wilderness Press
BLM – Hidden Valley Trail
Trail notes and photos:
This trail heads behind the Moab Rim which runs north-south along the town of Moab and beyond. I ventured in about 3.0 mi before heading back, with a side trip to see the rock art. From this TH you can connect to the Moab Rim 4WD road (serious 4WD with crazy jeep maneuvers) and hike the full 6.8 mi to the other end at Kane Creek Rd if you have a way to shuttle back. In the future I’ll post about my hike partway in from that end.
From the TH, hike left; to the right is the mountain bike trail. The trail climbs briefly but steeply up the Moab Rim toward the area known as Behind the Rocks.
The first 0.5 mi of the Hidden Valley Trail is called the Barney Rubble section.
Spring had just really hit about a week before but plenty of flowers were out catching up.
The trail transitions from steep and rocky to flat and smooth as it heads through two valleys.
The following photo was taken on a previous visit, in early June 2011 when the globe mallow flowers decorated the valleys. The mountains of Manti La Sal National Forest lie beyond.
After passing through the second valley, at 2.0 mi, the trail pops up from the valley to a rock outcropping. From here the scenery changes and the views Behind the Rocks open up. There’s a rock overhang here which is good for a break in the shade, which otherwise is extremely rare on this trail. From here you have two options.
If you follow the trail it widens into a road, changes to slickrock with cairns, then suddenly seems to disappear. To continue on, head through the opening in the green fence up on your right to reach the Moab Rim Rd. It quickly dead ends if you head right. Head left to continue exploring until you feel like turning back to retrace your steps. At about 3.0 mi from the TH is a road to the right which heads up about a mile to an overlook of the Moab Valley.
The other option from the shady overhang is to follow the small but visible path passing right by the overhang. This trail brings you along a ledge with rock art (sadly, along with some modern graffiti). The rock art ends near a big split in the rocks. Take in the view and head back the way you came.
I got to the rock art the harder way, by following a slight, hard to follow trail from further out the road. I definitely recommend going the first way I described since this other way is tough to follow and requires more hopping from rock to rock to avoid stepping in the delicate crust. The below photo is from my climb up the faint trail, looking back, with the rock art ledge on the left and the main trail visible on the right.
After seeing the rock art I attempted to follow the trail the more direct way back to the shady rock overhang, but was unable to find my way without having walked that trail before. I instead headed back on the faint trail I had hiked up, then rejoined the road for the hike back.
This is a great hike near town with easy access to the TH (I passed a guy biking to the mountain bike trail which also starts here) and much quieter than many trails around Moab.