|Pritchett Canyon Trail
- Prostitute Butte Trail
The Pritchett Canyon trail is a mixture of
jeep-road on open mesa, intermediate technical ledge dropping, rolling
rock, sand digs, and insane technical rock. We describe the main trail
(following the trail signs), which is 22 miles. You'll descend about 1400
feet from the mesa down to the Colorado, but you'll also do a bit of
Engberson and Chad Hunter zip past
Picture Frame Arch on Prostitute Butte. Photo December 13, 2000 by Bruce
|| You'll start out with a fairly flat ride through sage and
juniper. At 0.5 miles, the road forks. Right goes to the Behind the Rocks
trail. Left is to Pritchett. From here, you should find
"Pritchett" posts with arrows at every trail intersection.
of Pritchett Arch. Note the Navajo sandstone over the ledge of Kayenta
capping the Wingate cliffs. The best arch-forming rock in the Moab area is
Entrada sandstone, found above the Navajo.
|The mesa road is flat to somewhat downhill.
You'll fight your way through quite a bit of sand in this area. After 5
miles, you'll arrive at Prostitute Butte. From here, the trail gets more
Chad rounds the corner of Prostitute
Butte. December 13, 2000
||The trail climbs and descends through a couple of canyons,
with the surface alternating between open rock, ledges, and sand.
(left) and Mike pop off one of thousands of ledge drops, around the middle
of the trial.
|After passing Pritchett Arch, the trail makes a final brutal
uphill climb, then dumps you down White Knuckle Hill. There's some extreme
stuff here, but remember you can always pick up the bike and climb
Mike tackles the extreme technical
rock of White Knuckle Hill, near the end of the ride. December 13, 2000.
At the top of Pritchett Canyon, take a minute to look out over the
arrangement of the sandstone. The whiter mounds on the horizon are Navajo
sandstone, formed of course-grained sand deposited in ancient dunes. A layer of
ledge-forming Kayenta sandstone underlies the Navajo. The harder Kayenta resists
breakdown, allowing the Wingate below it to form the impressive cliffs you see
on the walls of the canyon. The Kayenta is the border between the Triassic (age
of reptiles, 245 million years ago) and the Jurassic (first age of dinosaurs,
208 million years ago).
||Coming out of White Knuckle Hill, the trail winds up and
down through dry creekbed, with plenty of sandy uphill sprints. This last
two miles finishes off your thighs, if you have anything left.
Two authoritative guidebooks give the riding time for this trail as
"2 hours." Make that FOUR hours if you're in good shape.
Bruce poses on the trail near
Pritchett Arch, just before the ascent up to White Knuckle Hill. The
Behind the Rocks Trail joins the Pritchett Canyon Trail here. Photo by
Mike Engberson, December 13, 2000.
|Getting there: To leave a shuttle car,
drive south on Moab's main drag (US-191) to the McDonald's, and turn right
onto Kane Creek Blvd. After 1.5 miles, go
straight at the "Yield" sign where the road seems to turn right. Continue
along the Colorado River until the road turns to gravel. There's a parking
area on the right. The trail's end is about 100 feet back, on the south
side of the street where it exits private property.
Mike hits one of the larger
ledge-drops on White Knuckle Hill. It's every bit as high as it looks.
||The trail's end crosses private property. Take $1 per biker with you to pay the toll as you exit.
drive your second vehicle to the trailhead.
Head back to Highway 191 and turn right (south). Drive 12.5 miles, and
watch for a small road on your right. You should see a sign that (among
other destinations) says Pritchett Arch. GPS is N 38° 25.301' W 109°
25.995'. Park near the cattle guard and