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
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
Here's the fork where Fire Sale
branches off of Retail Sale at mile 1.1. Not looking too awesome so far.
||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 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
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
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
toward the end of Fire Sale as we dodge boulders on the descent.
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
Bathroom: At trailhead
Water: Bring your own.
Bike services, maps, trail conditions:
Altitude Cycle, 580 East Main, Vernal. 435-781-2595