Updated: Dec 21, 2019
The RimRocker is a new trail showcasing the desert mesas and high alpine topography that sits between Moab and Montrose, CO. Unlike many of Moabs congested trails, the RimRocker affords the traveler with a true wilderness experience that is big on scenery and light crowds.
Adventure Rating: Epic
Trip Length: 160 miles, 2-4 days
Season: June - October (may open later due to snowpack)
Technical Rating: Mostly Green with some Blue. Most of the blue sections are between Nucla and Moab.
Typical Terrain: A combination of wide forest roads and rocky jeep trails.
Recommended Vehicle: High clearance 4x4 with all terrain tires.
Adventure Vans: Lifted Quigleys and Sportsmobiles should have no problems. Sprinter 4x4s not recommended.
Alternative Routes: Yes. See below at the bottom of route details.
The RimRocker trail is a new and well marked OHV and ATV route connecting the town of Montrose, CO to Moab, UT. A rimrocker was a person who worked in the mines, and with the many historic mines throughout the region, this name is fitting. Travelers drive this route in both directions, but we present our guide starting in Montrose. From Montrose, the trail steadily gains elevation, and by the time you reach the boundary of Uncompahgre NF you'll have surpassed 9,000 feet. As one would expect, the desert mesas below give way to mountains covered with conifers and aspen groves. The section of trail between Montrose and Nucla is comprised of primarily wide dirt and gravel forest roads but the surrounding mountains kick things up a notch with the high alpine scenery. The forest service permits open grazing on these lands, so be mindful of wandering cattle, in addition to vehicles and ATVs traveling the opposite direction. The route passes past a few designated campground before reaching Nucla, but we recommend taking advantage of dispersed camping, given the seemingly dozens of campsite options. Nucla affords the adventurer with all the benefits of civilization-- fuel, food, lodging, etc. Making your way towards Moab, the manicured forest service roads give way to more rugged terrain. This section of the route is a combination of well kept dirt forest roads and jeep tracks, some marked with rock and shale . Leaving Nucla, the trail follows along the mesa above the San Antonio River, which soon conjoins with the Dolores River. Be sure to check out the hanging flume along the way, another relic of the area's rich mining history. Soon the route crosses Hwy 141 and the Dolores River, ascending the much larger and higher Martin Mesa. As you near the top of the mesa, fantastic views begin to appear revealing Paradise Valley sitting nearly 2000 feet below the mesa's shelf. Heading west, you'll soon reach the Colorado-Utah border. Considering stopping at Buckeye Reservoir for a quick rest or meal, or you may even want to set up camp as there's a great campground here. The final leg of the journey traverses the flanks of Peale Mountain (12,726') and South Mountain. Those looking for a more adventurous route may consider taking the La Sal Pass option, at 10,400 feet this track passes right between the saddle of South Mountain and Peale Mountain-- the aspens and falls colors are apparently magnificent in this section of the forest in autumn. As the main route circumvents South Mountain, the trail gradually descends the alpine and down into the sandstone mesas that surround Moab. The trail parallels Hwy 195, before meeting its terminus in Moab.
Camping Recommendations Take advantage of the dispersed camping opportunities along the route within BLM and National Forest lands.
Recommended Points of Interest
There is an option to take La Sal Pass Road, which is a 20 mile alternate option that passes right between South Mountain and Peal mountain. Information about this option is covered in route details section above.
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