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Fire Sale
via Retail Sale Loop

Fire Sale is a 2.5-mile section of technical mountain biking trail that lies within the loop of Retail Sale, part of the McCoy Flat trail system west of Vernal. It offers a different flavor of ride, so I'm discussing it on a separate page from Retail Sale. The ride listed here is 9.2 miles, advanced technical, and moderately strenuous. An alternate connecting trail can shorten the ride to around 5 miles.

A sideslope is covered with little blue flowers. Good bike control is necessary to hug the mountainside. Photos May 20, 2010 by Bruce.

The absolute altitude change is only 200 vertical feet, but you'll do multiple up-and-down trips, making the total climbing around 800.

Retail Sale is an intermediate-level trail. If you find yourself over your head on Fire Sale, with a few short hike-a-bikes you'll get back to easier riding.

Here's the fork where Fire Sale branches off of Retail Sale at mile 1.1. Not looking too awesome so far. But wait.

The loop ride starts on Got Milk portion of the Milk and Cookies loop. This trail is also Retail Sale. Head west across the road from the McCoy Corral, and catch the first singletrack on your right. It's a little more technical than the alternate. The two routes join 1/3 mile later.

At mile 1.1, fork hard left at the Fire Sale sign.

View of a rock bridge early on Fire Sale. Go on, ride right across. It looks spooky, but there's plenty of riding room.

Fire Sale undulates back and forth, up and down. At first it tends to follow Retail Sale, coming within 30 feet of Retail Sale near the Milk/Retail fork. Compared to Retail Sale, the trail is narrow and turns tend to be tight.

The ribbon of trail heads south around the mountain.

The trail flirts with the steep sides of two small hills. The trail isn't tough for a rider with good bike control. There aren't any big drops; just a few boulder rollovers. The challenge is narrow trail on steep sideslopes. No room for bobbling.

Typical trail view as we drop into a dip and climb up the other side.

Fire Sale is a one-way trail, ridden north to south. But if you want to do Fire Sale twice, it's easy to ride Retail Sale back to the Fire Sale fork. (Technically, Retail Sale is also a counterclockwise loop.) Just stay right at all trail intersections as you head back along Retail Sale toward the start of Fire Sale. It's only 1/2 mile. There's one short steep (about 30 feet) that you'll have to push-a-bike up.

Primrose blooms in the morning sunshine, growing in cracks within the white sandstone.

Once you rejoin Retail Sale at the south end of Fire Sale, it will be around 6 miles back to the trailhead. Many riders choose to short-circuit the ride at mile 4.2, where a half-mile connector goes back to the trailhead.

High on Fire Sale, we're looking down (the trail is turning bottom left). Retail Sale, and lower bits of Fire Sale, can just be made out at the bottom of the valley.

Retail Sale slopes gently downhill in the bottom of a southbound wash, then turns northeast and slowly climbs another wash. Once you're at the top of that wash, the trail undulates and twists north for a fun and high-speed return.

More narrow singletrack on Fire Sale.

Riding notes, Fire Sale:
0.0  Cross paved road to DT  N40 21.019 W109 34.913
       Immediately fork R on ST  N40 21.003 W109 34.928
       Easier route: 100 feet on DT, then fork R
0.3  Trail merges with alternate route  N40 20.992 W109 35.163
1.1  Fork L on Fire Sale (R = Got Milk and Retail Sale) 
       N40 20.830 W109 35.982
3.5  Join Retail Sale, keep L   N40 20.616 W109 35.647
4.2  Fork R (L = quick return)   N40 20.759 W109 35.083
4.3  Fork L (R= Slippery When Wet)  N40 20.679 W109 35.064
7.4  Keep L (Serpendipity joins on R)  N40 20.454 W109 34.418
9.1  R on DT to corral   N40 20.994 W109 34.939
9.2  Back at trailhead

View  toward the end of Fire Sale as we dodge boulders on the descent.

Getting there:
While driving toward Vernal on US-40, pass mile marker 138, then turn right on the narrow paved McCoy Flats road ( N40 23.427 W109 35.752). If you miss McCoy Flats road, go to the viewpoint overlooking Vernal and backtrack exactly 2 miles, then turn left into the road. Drive 3 miles. Immediately after passing a corral on your left, turn into the large fenced BLM trailhead parking lot. 

Camping: BLM land, primitive camping allowed. No developed sites.
At trailhead
Bring your own.
Bike services, maps, trail conditions:

Altitude Cycle, 580 East Main, Vernal. 435-781-2595

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
    GPX Fire Sale      McCoy Flats area trails
Topo McCoy area map for printing:   View map
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to Vernal area resources

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