The old-is-new Rockstacker section of the Amasa Back trail outside Moab is aptly named. The name suggests activity on the trail’s part, and it can feel as though the terrain is intentionally stacking the odds against riders and their fragile collarbones.
But following some of Moab’s more experienced and adept local riders down the route reveals a kind of logic to the layered geology. Like a climber solving a technical problem on a boulder, a rider on Rockstacker will be rewarded for tuning into gravity’s logic—or punished (possibly severely) for missing the point.
The trail’s name has a less metaphorical history. In the late ‘90s, one local rider started placing cairns on the route to consolidate the trail and protect the fragile ecosystem from wandering tires. Others weren’t as happy to share. They kicked down the cairns, and he’d rebuild. The rider and the trail became known by the moniker, though it only stuck to the trail.
The Bureau of Land Management, to most everyone’s surprise, ended any local’s-only disputes last fall, when they released their new Resource Management Plan. The route was included in the plan, along with the spur out to Pothole Arch.
Now it’s been marked by Trail Mix, Grand County’s non-motorized trail committee. With that, Amasa Back is a loop, at least for advanced riders. Anyone can ride it—but not everyone should.