Utah has some of the most amazing desert riding available. The San Rafael Swell is no exception. Here you can find miles and miles of riding trails from easy to difficult.
The scenery is amazing and the trails are well marked which make it a perfect getaway for the weekend, or longer. Hotels are available in Green River close by, or you can camp in the desert and enjoy the wide open skies with picture perfect sunsets and starry nights that are sure to remain in your memory forever!
Trail head GPS Coordinates: Justensen Flats (38.845402, -110.893511)
GPX File: (*Note: There is a short gap in this from the Native American drawings to Devils Ractrack) Click here for map
Nearest Town: Green River, Utah
Trail Type: Sand washes, sandstone and rock
Nearby/Connecting Trails: Devils Racetrack, Eagle Canyon, Eva Conover, Copper Globe (Mine)
Best Season: Spring, Fall
Difficulty: Easy to Moderate, beginners can navigate but may need assistance in occasional rock and difficult areas.
Estimated Time: 4-6 hours for the loop described, lunch time included. Moderate pace. Can be much shorter depending on experience level and size of group.
Entering from Exit 116
Coming from either Salina or Green River on I-70, turn off exit 166 (38.855074, -110.914130) and go south. The road stays paved for about a quarter mile until it turns into dirt. This road is called Devils Canyon Road. The road is decent but can be pretty rough and it may pay to send someone ahead to make sure the road isn’t washed out. If pulling a large trailer, it can be a little slow going.
Once you get to Justensen Flats (38.845240, -110.893314) the road will continue through some cedars which have some pretty good camping sites. Long trailers are extremely difficult to navigate through the cedars. The roads are very uneven and rocky. Most longer campers seem to stay near the Justensen Flats sign. If you’re just tenting it or brave to pull a trailer through the rough terrain, there are some secluded campsites further down the road a little away from the main traffic.
The sign serves as kind of a crossroads to different trails. Crossing under the freeway will head out toward Eagle Canyon which continues under the big I-70 bridges and on to Swasey Cabin or it will split off to the Eva Conover Trail. Both of these can connect through the Devils Racetrack and loop back around.
If you continue on Devils Canyon Road from Justensen Flats, there are signs to the south headed to Copper Globe mine (38.803130, -110.910702). There are some pretty cool old buildings and an old mine that are fun to see. Be sure to explore back behind the large wood pile for the actual mine and old buildings. Also keep an eye out for wild horses in the area. We saw them hanging out in the flats just east of the mine both days we rode by.
Old Cabin at Copper Globe Mine
Connecting the Dots, (click the links to see routes and coordinates)
The following will describe the route we took. We have done this same route 2 years in a row, just reversed the direction the second year. *Be sure to take lots of water and food and sufficient supplies for repairs if needed. A first aid kit is also recommended. This route has some technical, rocky sections, sand washes, and some dirt. If you are to break down, the freeway and some decent roads are nearby but not necessarily easy to get to if stuck in a canyon somewhere.
Justensen Flats to Swasey Cabin
Starting from Justensen Flats, we took the BLM road to Eagle Canyon to Swasey Cabin. Eagle Canyon can be pretty sandy in places with lots of rock. The canyon crosses under the I-70 bridges which are pretty cool to see. There is a pretty good climb out of the canyon once you get closer to the cabin. There is also a place called Ice Box that is neat to check out when you get close to the cabin. Click here for map
Swasey Cabin to Native American Drawings (Locomotive Point)
From Swasey Cabin, we continued on Eagle Canyon road north under the freeway. We stopped off to see some old Native American drawings. This is a great place for some shade and to take a break. Click here for map
From the Native American drawings, we back tracked a few minutes past Dutchman Arch. We actually took a trail behind it but had driven by the year before. This then connects to Devils Racetrack. This is probably the most technical part of the loop. Again, be sure to have sufficient supplies because there is not much shade in these canyons and can be difficult getting out if problems arise and you are not prepared. Click here for Dutchman Arch.
Devils Racetrack will end in a canyon called North Fork Coal Wash. Continue north until the canyon splits into Coal Wash and South Fork Coal Wash. Turn onto South Fork Coal Wash. These canyon’s are long and there is very little shade if it is mid day and the sun is straight up. We were able to find some big trees to shade us while we ate lunch but it took some searching.
This will then turn into the Eva Conover Trail. This trail will come out onto an oiled road for about a mile at which point you will take a left back onto dirt. This will lead back down a small canyon and back to Eagle Canyon Road. Once back on Eagle Canyon Road, simply re-trace your steps back to Justensen Flats.
Time to Relax
Now, if you happen to do this loop and make it back in one piece, congratulations! You just saw some pretty amazing country and created some memories that will last a lifetime. I also hope you have a nice comfortable sleeping bag or bed to go back to because you’re going to need it!
Be sure to check out other trails in the area and the look outs along I-70 while traveling through. Ghost Rock View Area and Devils Canyon View Area and the closet to Justensen Flats. Better make a trip soon before the government shuts the area down. Yes, unfortunately there is talk of it.
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