Off-Roading near Loa, Utah

Off-Roading near Loa, Utah

Loa and the surrounding areas have a number of excellent off-roading opportunities for you to enjoy. We've listed a few of them below. Note that "near" is a relative term (southern Utah is a big area), and distances from Fremont River RV are approximate. In addition, the condition of these routes are very dependent on recent weather conditions.

Cathedral Valley Loop

  • Nearby Town: Torrey, Utah
  • Distance from us: 16 miles

Located in Capitol Reef, is a 58-mile dirt road that winds through the Cathedral Valley area of the park. The entire trip typically takes 4-6 hours to complete. While the route can be done clockwise or counter-clockwise, most folks recommend you go clockwise. This direction will take you by the Fremont River early on, and you can see if the loop is passable there. Regardless of the direction you choose, you'll need to have a four-wheel drive vehicle with a lot of clearance to complete the loop.

Cathedral Valley Loop has a number of interesting sites along the way, including a number of overlooks, the Bentonite Hills, a 200-foot deep gypsum sinkhole, and the Temples of the Sun and Moon.

Please, note that Cathedral Valley Loop is a desolate dirt road. Very few people visit the Cathedral Valley part of Capitol Reef. If something goes wrong, you could be in for a long wait before help arrives.

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Notom-Bullfrog Road

  • Nearby Town: Notom, Utah
  • Distance from us: 40 miles
Notom-Bullfrog Road, located in the Capitol Reef area, starts off Utah Highway 24, about nine miles east of the Capitol Reef Visitor Center. Notom-Bullfrog Road follows along the eastern edge of the Waterpocket Fold, and offers stunning views of the surrounding backcountry.

Notom-Bullfrog Road runs 32.5 miles, with the first 15 miles being paved. The condition of the remaining unpaved portion of the road varies, depending on weather conditions. Sometimes, you can do the entire route in a passenger car; other times, even four-wheel drive won't make it through.

Cow Canyon

  • Nearby Town: Castle Dale, Utah
  • Distance from us: 74 miles

Cow Canyon, located in San Rafael Swell, is just a little ways off Buckhorn Draw Road. The road is suitable for side-by-sides and ATVs. It's a relatively small canyon that has a number of challenging obstacles, including deep sand, rocks, and wash crossings. At the end of the trail, you'll find yourself in a beautiful meadow. It's probably best to tackle this trail in the spring or fall, when no snow is on the ground.

Behind the Reef

  • Nearby Town: Hanksville, Utah
  • Distance from us: 64 miles

Behind the Reef, located in the San Rafael Swell, is a 25-mile road that is typically usesd by ATVs, but is wide enough to accommodate four-wheel drive Jeeps (not wide vehicles, however). The trail follows the San Rafael Reef (along the Swell's east wall). Behind the Reef offers fantastic views of San Rafael Swell's deserts and immense cliffs.

Bull Creek Pass

  • Nearby Town: Hanksville, Utah
  • Distance from us: 64 miles
Bull Creek Pass is located about 20 miles south of Hanksville, is a single-lane, 68-mile dirt road that snakes its way through the Henry Mountains. Along the way, you'll pass through alpine forests made up of spruce, fir, and aspens. And, you'll probably encounter a variety of wildlife. The area has numerous bear, mule deer, antelope, mountain lions, and bighorn sheep. The Henry Mountains also has one of the three herds of genetically pure buffalo found in the United States.

Be prepared to spend 6-8 hours to complete the entire route. Note that Bull Creek Pass is a fairly remote trail made for four-wheel drive vehicles only. If you break down, it could be days before anyone notices. 

Buckhorn Draw Road

  • Nearby Town: Huntington, Utah
  • Distance from us: 84 miles

Buckhorn Draw Road is a very well-maintained dirt road found in the northern half of San Rafael Swell. The road, which gets its name from the fact that part of it runs along Buckhorn Wash, is about 29 miles in length and takes about 1.5 hours to complete. Most small or medium sized vehicles will be able to handle the road.

Buckhorn Draw Road includes a number of spectacular sites. You'll definitely want to stop by the Wedge Overlook for a great view of Little Grand Canyon. The drive also passes by a number of pictographs and petroglyphs, with the Buckhorn Draw Pictograph Panel being the primary location of these attractions. Swinging Bridge is another unique attraction you'll encounter along the way (although it doesn't actually swing).

For more information on San Rafael Swell, give us a call.