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Moki Mesa

Hike to a hidden shelf above the Colorado river you get to using an old cattle trail blasted out of the canyon cliff face

Moki Mesa is not really a mesa but a hidden large wedge-shaped bench or shelf a hundred feet above the Potash road but below the Poison Spider Mesa. It runs from Moki Canyon back out to views over the Colorado River.
You reach it by a short walk through the shaded Moki box canyon that dead ends at a pool of water with a huge towering pour-off above. 
Three-quarters of the way to the end of Moki Canyon there is an old cattle trail on your right, blasted diagonally into the canyon wall. An easy scramble up the old cow trail gets you to the bench top where you will travel along near the cliff bottom passing a few petroglyph sites and an old camping alcove with traces of black soot in the ceiling. 
Eventually, you will dead end high above the Colorado River where you can double back the way you came or explore a different route of your choice back to the cow trail and back out the canyon.

Getting there

Take Highway 191 north out of Moab, turn left onto Potash Road for 9.1 miles. Moki Canyon/Mesa is on the right here at a fairly large pullout and no camping sign. If you reach the Corona Arch trail, you have gone too far.


3 miles total out and back with 400 feet of elevation gain


38.566867, -109.631711
Pull off on the right side of the road


  • Dogs okay
  • Most visitors will only hike in and back out of short Moki Canyon, so you will likely never see another person up on the bench



From the trailhead, enter the brush and hug the right side of the canyon wall following the sandy trail.
The trail follows the right side of the canyon for a ways almost always up against the wall.

Soon as it will alternate back to the wash and back to the right and then to the left side as the canyon gets narrower.
Eventually, you will come to a rocky slope on the left side of the canyon that you will climb.
When you enter the wash again at (38.565709, -109.625517 ). You are near the point where you can either continue to the end of the box canyon and the pool of water or the cattle trail blasted out of the rock is up and to your right.

If you continue on through the canyon it’s just a few minutes to the end and the pool, you can look up and see the dryfall and where the waterfall would be in a rainy situation.

To climb up to the top of Moki Mesa, double back the way you came and make your way up some loose rubble to the entrance of the blasted cattle trail and start making your way up to the mesa top. The trail is wider than it looks and quite easy to go up, remember cows walked up and down this trail, you can do it too.

Once you’ve climbed up the cattle trail make your way over the first rise and then stay to the left close to the cliff bottom and keep your eye out for the petroglyph panel at ground level.

Continue staying close to the cliff base, and look for the first petroglyphs, you will come to a big dryfall area with some modern graffiti and an alcove.
Right after that is the next area of rock art with a horse and a sprial.
Continue along the cliff base and ascend to the notch and then down the other side always continuing along close to the base of the cliff.
Look for an alcove with a smoky ceiling at the top of a loose rubble pile

The two rock art sites and the smoky alcove are within the first quarter of the trail distance out to the overlook. From here on its just a pleasant hike out and back to the overlook.
Continuing on, the trail moves a little ways away from the cliff base and then up a big grassy hill. Sometimes there will be more than one route, but just continue with the cliff base to your left all the way to the overlook.     
From the overlook and views of the Colorado River you can explore along the slick rock and when done, head back the way you came.

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