Bull Bottom is a slickrock ride on Navajo Sandstone along the Green
River. The riding isn't particularly strenuous and you can select your
ride distance to match your time and leg power. On the tech scale, this
would rank as a fairly easy ride. Riding season would be April through
north at the Green River from where the DT enters the slickrock area.
Photos and checkout ride by Bruce on May 3, 2011.
NOTE 2020! The BLM land on the west side of the
Green River has been made part of the Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness. The Bull Bottom Road (except for the last 1/4 mile to
the overlook) was
"grandfathered in" as an ATV corridor, but you'd have little reason
to ride this. The ATV track to the viewpoint, and the slickrock on the western
edge of Three Canyon, lie just outside the wilderness border.|
The ATV entry track that ends at the viewpoint over the Green River as described
below is open for riding. From here you can turn south along the edge of
Three Canyon and remain outside the wilderness. But when you reach the south
end of the slickrock (as described below) you should turn around for an out-and-back,
because closing the loop up the wash will take you through the corner of the
|Bull Bottom is in the middle of nowhere, 25 south of Green
River via graded dirt road. It's a few miles north of June's
Bottom. There are no signs to guide you there. There's
no water, no campgrounds, and nothing else to do in the area.
It's a very fun and scenic ride but it's short, as the new
wilderness designation has eliminated half of the sandstone riding area.
View east on the DT heading into the
area. The domes are Entrada sandstone.
||Come well-prepared. Know how to find Airport Road in Green
River, and where to turn off onto the San Rafael Desert dirt road. And
there are no trail signs. So be sure you can find the doubletrack that takes you to
the ride. You need either a GPS unit, or a driving map combined with
watching the auto odometer and keeping an eye out for landmarks.
The La Sal Mountains peek over the
Navajo sandstone cliffs above the Green River.
| After 20 miles
driving south on gravel road, cross
the new bridge over the San Rafael River. Note that spot! 1.7 miles later,
you'll pass a DT on the left. That's the Bull Bottom Road, which is a
legal corridor for motorized traffic within the wilderness area.
Keep going straight. At 3.7 miles past the bridge, there's a
DT on the left heading up over a small rise. It's marked by a
"Designated Route" carsonite post. That's the official starting
Looking south, as the
Green River forms a dark slash. A slot canyon enters at the photo's right.
The southern half of the slickrock
navigates along the slot canyon's edge.
||The usual entry to the slickrock from the south end now
crosses a corner of the wilderness area. I don't know if there's a plan
to create a path around. The old southern entry is 5.6
miles past the San Rafael River bridge. You'll dip into a wash. If you
hoof it 0.15 miles down that wash, you'll find slickrock curving north to
The bottom part of the Entrada in this
area is banded mudstone and red dirt. The top is the more-typical
sandstone as seen in the Moab area. The riding surface here is rolling
|At this time, the legal rides are:
(1) ATV out-and-back to the viewpoint 1.6 miles each way, and
(2) do the ATV track then hug the edge of Three Canyon heading south until it
turns into the wash and double back.
The rock has the cross-hatching of
wind-blown dunes. In pits between mounds of rock, primrose blooms. On the
slickrock, you'll navigate the area between the cliffs and the dirt
||Southern slickrock (8.5 mile out-and-back):
The ride is pretty straight-forward once you find the entry. From the
entry ATV track, go 1.6 miles to the viewpoint. Now turn around and pedal
back about 0.2 miles and head south on the slickrock. (This would be a
left turn if you're coming back from the viewpoint; right if you're coming
from the main road.) When you reach a wash that you can't ride, that's the
wilderness. Turn around and head back.
Keep to the south of the small knoll
after you reach the river. If you go around it on the river side, the
trail will disappear in steep sandstone.
|The route isn't formally marked (as of my ride). Riders have
piled up navigation cairns here and there. Pick what seems to be the
obvious riding line, staying between the cliff and the red dirt. Go back
and find another line if you hit an impassible area. If you're not a
natural navigator, follow my GPS track on your display, zoomed-in to about 300
ft. Glance at it now and then to correct your general aim.
Paintbrush provides a splash of color.
||The slickrock is mostly smooth and non-threatening. You'll
get practice picking lines -- not only immediate lines, but also looking ahead to select general routes.
You'll wind around three ravines. When you reach the fourth ravine, it's time to turn back.
(It's possible that a route will bypass the wilderness corner by the time
you ride. While it's doubtful you would be cited, you're not supposed to
pick up your bike and walk the 0.15 miles up the wash to reach the road.)
View northwest. The Entrada Bluff will
be on our left until the end of the northern half of the slickrock area.
|Getting there: From US-6, get eastbound on
I-70. Three miles from the on-ramp, exit at the first Green River
off-ramp. Go left under the freeway and continue into Green River. At
Airport Road 1.4 miles from the off-ramp stop sign, turn right (just look for the "Airport"
The road will veer left along the railroad tracks. Stay along the tracks
until another Airport sign turns you right at mile 1.9, across the tracks. Go under I-70
and drive the paved road about 2 miles. At the "San Rafael Desert /
Horseshoe Bend" sign 4.2 miles from the off-ramp, turn left onto graded gravel road. Stay on the
main gravel road for 20 miles, then cross the new bridge over the San Rafael
River. Note that spot! 1.7 miles later, you'll pass a DT on the left N38 44.113 W110 08.007.
That's the Bull Bottom Road. Keep going. At 3.7 miles past
the bridge, there's a marked (but unsigned) DT on the left heading up over
a small rise N38 42.653 W110 08.776. That's the official starting spot!
(The wash at the southern end of the slickrock is another 1.9 miles south
where the road drops through a wash N38 41.061 W110 09.296.)
NOTE 2020! This area is now part of the Labyrinth Canyon Wilderness. The
slickrock area above the spot labeled "View" is not open for
bike riding. Note also that slickrock tracks labeled "June's
Bottom" now lie in wilderness.