This is a fun dirt singletrack located near Red Fleet Reservoir north
of Vernal, part of the Red Fleet trail system. Ridden as described below, it's 6.5 miles. Lowest elevation is
5700 feet. While there's only 300 feet of absolute elevation change,
up-and-down riding will make your climbing about 800 vertical.
We're bombing south down a ridgeline
trail in white clay, headed toward the deep reds below. Photos September
|The trail is intermediate technical, but the quick uphills after wash-crossings are
more fun if you're an expert and can plunge with speed.
The trail begins in the deep red dirt of the Moenkopi
formation. The trail itself is firmly packed, but the shoulder is soft. If
you bobble off-trail, you'll dig in, and likely dump. In many spots the
trail threads through clusters of small cactus. You definitely want to
The first part of the ride is up and down -- mostly up. As you climb,
you hit the phosphate-rich white clay of the Park City formation. The
riding surface is more firm here, but it's also rougher if cow-prints have
Typical trail segment in the red dirt,
weaving through juniper and sage.
||This area is BLM rangeland, serving a lot of cows. There are
two critical turns at water troughs. At these spots, tramping cows may
make the trail hard to see. Sticks and rocks have been placed to mark the
trail, but they're easily knocked aside by the cows.
Cattle watering trough, served by the
small pipe you see here. You visit this trough twice, once from each side,
as you start and complete the big loop.
|At the top elevation of the ride, you'll dip through a bunch
of gullies. The trail branches a bit here as riders have sought alternate
lines. Just keep heading east (generally along the fenceline). The trail
will turn suddenly south and begin a very fun downhill romp.
At the top of the ride, we're about to
plunge steeply between these junipers, then rocket up the other side of
||Riding notes, clockwise loop:
0.0 Ride west from parking N40 35.923 W109 27.470
0.5 Through dip and north along 191
0.8 Pass return route, keep L N40 35.952 W109 27.899
0.9 Veer R uphill as you reach white clay N40 36.059 W109 27.920
1.2 Trail turns south (R) at trough N40 36.203 W109 27.689
1.4 Fork hard L uphill (R=return) N40 36.033 W109 27.728
1.5 Fork L N40 36.094 W109 27.626
2.2 Trough, keep L uphill along pipe N40 36.550 W109 27.397
2.5 Reach fence, go east
3.0 Trail weaves, keep along fence N40 36.765 W109 27.103
3.2 Fork R (south) downhill N40 36.784 W109 26.862
3.9 Hard R at bottom of hill N40 36.248 W109 26.708
4.3 Keep R and R (L=to road) N40 36.227 W109 27.015
4.5 Cross doubletrack N40 36.355 W109 27.184
4.8 Back at trough, fork L downhill N40 36.550 W109 27.397
5.4 Rejoin outgoing trail, keep straight N40 36.094 W109 27.626
5.5 Keep straight downhill N40 36.033 W109 27.728
5.7 At outgoing trail, fork L N40 35.952 W109 27.899
6.5 Back at car
Kowabunga! And ride 'em cowboy! Fly on
down. This is fun stuff.
In Vernal on US-40 (the main drag), turn north on US-191. Drive to mile
10.7 and turn right at the paved road signed "Red Fleet Dinosaur
Trackway." Drive uphill 0.6 miles. At the top of the hill, turn left
onto a dirt road and immediately park in the wide area on the left. The
trail starts on the west side of the parking area (left as you pulled in).
2.4 miles from US-191 on the Dinosaur Trackway road is a bathroom at the trackway trailhead.
Bring your own.
Altitude Cycle, 580 East Main, Vernal. 435-781-2595
||Camping and activities:
Red Fleet State Park (fee required) is just a couple of miles away. Camp
on the shore of Red Fleet reservoir in improved campsites. Water. Boat
launching ramp. Red Fleet is a pretty lake surrounded by Navajo Sandstone.
Water sports, bass fishing, scuba (Vernal has a dive shop).
of Red Fleet from the Dinosaur Trackway Trail
|A fun activity for families is the Dinosaur Trackway hike.
No bikes allowed. It's a two-mile round trip from the trailhead. The
trackway is on a mudstone slope that banks down to the shore of Red Fleet
Lake. The trail has numbered markers, presumably for an interpretive
trail, but as of September 2007, there are no signs or pamphlets at the
trailhead. But there is a bathroom.
GPS file for the
Dinosaur Trackway Trail:
(carnivorous dino) track from the Jurassic era.