Friday, March 10, 2017

Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab

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Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail right outside of Moab makes you feel like you are in a totally different place - look anywhere in Moab and the dominant sight is the Moab rim. It's known as "Behind the Rocks" - an interesting mix of sandstone fins, large rock walls, and domes. Is Hidden Valley really a valley? Not quite.  It's actually two hanging terraces that descends into Behind the Rocks and eventually widens into a 4-wheel drive road while a boot-beaten path detours along the base of a sandstone wall with petroglyphs.


Hidden Valley is best hiked in Spring (March & April) when the terraces are bright green, the temperatures aren't too hot, and tourists season hasn't quite kicked in yet. Dogs and humans will appreciate frolicking through the fields with no loud motorized vehicles. How are the views? I have hiked all around Moab and the Hidden Valley Trail offers one of the most amazing views of the LaSal Mountains, perfectly framed by sandstone and the valley.


 From Moab, head south on HWY 191 for about 4 miles. Turn right onto Angel Rock Road - there is a very small brown BLM sign attached to a light pole pointing right, but it's really easy to miss (we missed it at first!). Another good way to keep an eye out for the road, is that it's right at the corner of "Moab Dental Health Center" - if you drive past the Spanish Trail RV Park you've gone too far. Once you turn onto Angel Rock Road, drive to the "T" and turn right. Follow this as the road curves left and leads you directly into the dirt parking lot. No restrooms are available. Here's a driving map.

Distance: 5 miles RT
Elevation gain: 750 ft
Time: 2-3 hours
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Kid friendly? Yes
Fees/Permits? None
Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
At the parking lot you'll actually see two trailheads - left is for Hidden Valley, right is for the Pipe Dream Trail. 
Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
Stay straight/left for hiking Hidden Valley.
Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
The trail departs the south corner of the parking lot, and soon begins a rocky, switch backing ascent, gradually curving NW.
Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
Daisy-dog poses along the rocky out-cropping.
Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
On the day we hiked this trail, it was extremely windy. So windy that the day before when we got back to camp, our tents moved several feet and had a layer of sand inside the tents! We weren't going to let a little wind stop us from hiking!
Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
Copper leads the way up a rocky section.
Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
After 20 minutes or so, the trail levels out and becomes flat with no rocks. You'll also pass a field of juniper trees, cactus, and sage brush.
Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
Fit hikers should approach the first "valley" or terrace in 20-30 minutes. I absolutely loved this section! It's so wide and open, and it didn't feel like I was in Moab because of how green it was. After this long, flat, grassy stretch, you will briefly gain a little elevation gain, then drop into the 2nd valley for another long stretch.

Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
At roughly 2 miles, you'll reach what's known as "Petro Pass" and you should see this large rock right on the right side of the pass. At this pass the trail actually continues North and you should be clearly able to see where the trail goes. However, take the boot beaten path heading right to find the petroglyphs. 
Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
Head towards the tall sandstone wall and veer left. You should see this notice sign about the rules for the area. PLEASE protect your land, Leave No Trace , and follow common etiquette around petroglyphs.
Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
Follow the sandstone wall left as it curves west then north again. Look on the wall for the petroglyphs.
Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab

Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab

Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab

Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
Love my group of friends, who also happen to love to travel & hike as much as I do!
Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab
Head back the same way you came. 

Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, MoabHiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Moab

My trail stats via Gaia GPS.
Hidden Valley Trail map, Moab
Trail map looking West.
Hidden Valley Trail map, Moab
Trail map looking North.
Don't forget to clean your camelbak bladder when you get home!
9 Ways to Clean your Camelbak Bladder

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Hiking the Hidden Valley Trail, Hiking in Moab with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Moab, Utah

2 comments:

  1. This is an awesome hike. The petroglyphs are amazing. Here is our blog post.
    https://ohtheplacestheygo.wordpress.com/2016/04/21/hidden-valley-moab/

    Next time you head to this area, add another couple miles. The petrglyphs on the second ledge are so much nicer than the first ledge and there are hundreds of them. The view from the top is a big WOW!

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    Replies
    1. Awesome thanks for the info!!! Your guide is amazing - love the photos too.

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