Posts Tagged ‘utah 4×4’

Jeep Adventures – Capitol Reef Country

Wednesday, July 31st, 2013

Capitol Reef Country has so many fantastic Jeep trails to explore, and with varying lengths and levels of difficulty you can really find one that’s perfect for you. has a great interactive feature to help pin down the perfect trail.   Visit and use the dropdown menus to narrow your search by location, difficulty, and type of trail. Each trail page will bring up detailed information, trail tips, photos, and a map—you can even download and print a take-along PDF file. So, for example, if you’re looking for an easy Jeep trail near Hanksville, simply choose those search parameters and then read up on Angel Point, Horseshoe Canyon, Robber’s Roost, and Planets to the Past.


Jeep explorers take in the views at a Capitol Reef region scenic overlook.

Preparation Notes: Always go prepared with plenty of fuel, food, water, a first aid kit, and other necessary supplies.  Check the weather forecast and remember that higher elevation trails can get rain, sleet, hail, or even snow at almost any time of year.  Road conditions can change dramatically during inclement weather.  We encourage you to check with appropriate land agencies to gain additional information, as needed.

Easy to Moderate
Jeep newbies and families will want to start out on easy on the axle. Easy trails are usually maintained and available year round.  North Slope begins in Teasdale, and is easy until the last few rocky miles. Slow your roll and take in the scenery—and consider hiking from Green Lake to the mountain peak at 11,000 feet for the best views.   Swing Arm City is an open area near Caineville is known more for the challenges than the views; you’ll find all levels of terrain here.   Near Hanksville, the Angel Point trail is mostly maintained surface with a few red sand and dirt patches, and has some of the most spectacular views you’ll find around Capitol Reef.   Inside Canyonlands National Park, the 27-mile Horseshoe Canyon trail includes a 2-mile hike and a narrow passage along the cliff’s edge. The Robber’s Roost trail takes you deep into the remote heart of outlaw country, and Planets to the Past rides through rugged,  red rock terrain so out-of-this-world it’s used as a research station to gain insight to the Red Planet.

For more intergalactic-style off-road adventure, hit the lunar landscape of Moonscapes and Goblins trail (see trail list).  The Jeep trail begins at Factory Butte off Highway 24 in Hanksville, and passes through terrain that looks like the moon, with views of mythical Goblin Valley in the distance.  Also near Hanksville are Bull Creek Pass, a 68-mile self-guided auto and hiking trail through the Henry Mountains (one of the last areas in the U.S. to be explored), and Blue Benches, a Class B maintained road with some wash crossings and Class D spur roads for extra adventure.

Other moderate Jeep trails in Capitol Reef Country include Velvet Ridge/Hell’s Hole and Lower Bowns/Oak Creek near Torrey, Dark Valley Trail in Bicknell, Tidwell Slopes near Loa, Burro Wash East near Notom.  The 60-mile Cathedral Valley loop connects to Highway 24 near Caineville, and passes through part of Capitol Reef National Park. You’ll find fascinating monoliths and desert vistas here so awe-inspiring they beckon travelers from around the world.


Jeep touring enthusiasts explore the back-country of the Capitol Reef Region.

The Donkey Reservoir staging area is in Teasdale. The trail is mostly maintained with dirt and rocky areas but weather conditions can rapidly change the difficulty.  It’s about 6.8 miles from the staging area to Donkey Reservoir, and along the way you’ll see the largest Ponderosa pine in Dixie National Forest—a true testament to the extreme beauty of the landscape.

Adrenaline junkies with hardcore off-road experience may want to challenge the Poison Spring trail that leads down to the Dirty Devil River. The staging area is just off Highway 95 in Hanksville.  Plan at least 2.5 hours for the 32-mile round-trip trail. Extremely challenging, you’ll wind through canyons, cross washes, and wedge through narrow passages. Come prepared with fuel and supplies. It’s a thrill-a-minute along this remote, rocky trail!

Visit to learn more.

Utah’s Unique Henry Mountains

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

The Henry Mountains are a remote mountain range on the Colorado Plateau encompassing about two million acres of rugged backcountry and running about 30 miles from north to south. Elevation ranges from 3,700 feet at the north shore of Lake Powell to a peak elevation of 11,522 feet at Mt. Ellen.  Hanksville to the north is the nearest significant community to be used as an exploration base.

Henry Mountains

A view of the northern section of the Henry Mountains from Scenic Byway 12

A mecca for outdoor recreation, the Henry Mountain range is an ideal destination for hiking, camping, off-roading, photography, hunting and wildlife viewing.  The range is home to one of only four pure bison herds–and the only huntable herd of free-roaming bison–on public lands in North America.  A limited number of hunting permits are issued each year.  In the warmer seasons, the herd of about 500 generally can be found above 10,000 feet in the alpine grasslands along South Summit Ridge of Mt. Ellen.  The mountain range is also home to mule deer, antelope and mountain lions, as well as jackrabbits and other small mammals, game birds, snakes (including rattlesnakes) and rodents. McMillan Springs, Lonesome Beaver and The Horn are excellent sites for wildlife viewing.

Looking to the north from the top of Mt. Ellen on the Henry Mountains.

For sweeping views of southern Utah, try the 4-mile round-trip trail from Bull Creek Pass to the summit of Mt. Ellen.  The trail from Dandelion Flat to Lonesome Beaver is another four-mile hike along a ridge of Mt. Ellen.  Shorter hikes and nature trails can be found near Starr Springs campground and Hog Springs picnic area, both managed by the BLM.  Be sure to inquire about backcountry permits at the BLM offices in Hanksville when planning overnight back-country trips through the Little Rockies, South Caineville Mesa, the Dirty Devil River canyons and Horseshoe Canyon.

Utah Buffalo

Freely roaming buffalo.

This extremely isolated mountain range
is managed by the BLM but they patrol infrequently. When exploring these dry, rugged and remote lands be prepared with food, water and a well-maintained vehicle that is able to navigate the dirt and gravel backcountry roads. While not regularly maintained, they lead to amazing sights well worth the trip such as the desert vistas from Bull Creek, Stanton and Pennellen passes, and views of the Dirty Devil River from Burr Point and Angel Point. Geologic highlights include views of the near-vertical Pink Cliffs of the Grand Staircase, Horseshoe Basin, Little Egypt and of course the Waterpocket Fold on the west side of the mountains.  The Horn offers varying levels of technical climbing.

The Henry Mountain range is divided into two groups by Highway 276.  The northern section peaks at 11,522 feet at Mt. Ellen, with Mt. Pennell a close second at 11,371 feet. The highest peak in the southern group, known as the Little Rockies, is Mt. Ellsworth at 8,235 feet.  The Henry Mountains’ geology is similar to the La Sal and Abajo mountain ranges, characterized by intrusive igneous rock that is said to be 23 to 31 million years old, and embedded in sedimentary rock from the Permian and Cretaceous periods.  More info. – found here.