If you’re looking for an open riding area that you can just spend a weekend at, Cainville, Utah is a great place to do just that. From technical hill climbs, rolling hills, huge jumps or small, and washes to razor back ridges, there’s enough here to be enjoyed by everyone.
Swing Arm City as it’s known, is almost like visiting a different planet (I assume though because I’ve never done that) but the terrain is unlike many other places. A couple important things to note, do not go in the middle of the summer or during a rain storm or just after it’s rained. The mid-summer months are over 100° F and when it rains, there can be flash floods and the dirt is just plain slimy.
Trail head GPS Coordinates: 38.365897, -110.915229
Nearest Town: Hanksville
Trail Type: Open riding area
Nearby Hiking: Capitol Reef
Best Season: Spring, Early Summer, Fall
Difficulty: Novice, Intermediate, Expert
Before heading out on any adventure, be prepared. Cainville is a great place to ride and camp, and even has some fun, short hikes nearby in beautiful Capitol Reef!
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Recommend Gear and Equipment
- Hydration Pack
- Hand guards
- Action camera
- Tool pack
- Skid plate
- First Aid Kit
- Lots of water and food
- Tent (camping gear)
Swing Arm City is located just 12 miles from Hanksville, Utah. There are hotels located at a few different locations along Highway 24 but the majority are either in Hanksville or Torrey. The highway is a great rode and frequents many visitors from around the world to visit the nearby Capitol Reef. The desert landscape has many beautiful mesas and colorful mountains and cliffs, including the iconic Factory Butte.
There is a main parking lot just off the highway with a sign which reads Swing Arm City. The area is an open riding area with a few other beaten paths where trucks and campers have pulled back in the hills to get away from the highway noise. A little farther on the highway, to the east of the sign and parking lot, there is also a restroom which is nice if you don’t have one in your camp trailer.
One thing that make this place a great place to ride is to be able to park and camp right where you ride. It’s particularly nice when going with little children because there are many hills and trails right next to camp where they can be monitored easily. It is also easy to watch the daredevils hit the big jumps and get some pretty cool pictures and videos.
Open Area Riding
Just because it’s an open area riding area, doesn’t mean you can ride wherever you want. There are still boundaries. The boundaries are very noticeable and will be marked with either a fence like the one shown in the picture below, or there will be smaller signs indicating the boundary areas. As long as you stay in the boundaries however, it’s free game and there are many different types of terrain to be enjoyed. Please be respectful and stay in the designated areas. This will allow us to continue to enjoy this fun area.
If you like riding the washes, you don’t have to look too hard. Although beware of the weather when riding in these areas as they do see a lot of rain and you will not want to be caught in one when the water starts to flow. Here are a couple examples of the washes.
If you like a challenge and want to test your balancing skills, you can take to the ridges. Once you begin these trails, there’s usually no stopping until you end the trail or slide off. The key is, look ahead, stick with it and if you can help it, don’t stop. If you do, most aren’t too difficult to try again. However, there are some VERY technical trails you should always analyze a bit before attempting. Here’s an example of one of the easier sections.
If you’re into hill climbing, there are just about as many types of hill-climbs you can ask for. There are many safe hills that are like giant burms that are easy to navigate up and back down. Others are pretty much straight up with deep ruts from other bikes as well as the water that slowly carves away at them. Pick you’re poison and hold it wide open and hope you come out on top!
Takin’ it Easy
If you like to just take it easy and explore like my boy and I, check out the video of some of the terrain this great place has to offer!
Nearby is also the beautiful landscape of Capitol Reef National Park as mentioned and Cathedral Valley. Capitol Reef has a nice visitor center with maps of the area for hiking and other fun adventures.