The Most Dangerous Trips: Biking Porcupine Rim

Tips for surviving seven of the world's deadliest adventures

Oct 3, 2012
Outside Magazine
Porcupine Rim Moab Utah mountain biking dangerous

Porcupine Rim.    Photo: davduf/Flickr

Porcupine Rim is second only to Slickrock as the most popular bike trail in Moab, Utah. But just because it’s in the Disneyland of trail riding doesn’t mean anyone is watching over you. Once you leave the parking area, you're on your own for eight miles of jeep road and three miles of steep, techy singletrack. That’s a recipe for tired, dehydrated, and inexperienced cyclists to get into trouble, and they do. Over the years there have been over 65 rescues called for on the trail, from falls to unprepared bikers caught in freak blizzards. In 1995, two boys from Iowa plunged 150 to their death after veering off the trail, while in 2005 a 15-year-old girl on a family bike ride died of dehydration on the trail.

Keeping safe on the Porcupine means planning for the desert. Like any trip into the backcountry, check the weather, but be prepared for anything. Most of all, bring more water than you think necessary—the high desert has a way of wicking away moisture at an incredible rate. And if you’re rolling solo or in a small group, let someone know where you are. If you don’t show up at the bar that night, they’ll know to call search and rescue.