||Red Butte - Red Slot Loop
This little loop lies in the desert about 15 miles southeast of Green
River. It offers a mix of beautiful slickrock, undulating red desert, and
a slot canyon downhill run. The area is primarily a motorcycle paradise,
but there's good stuff for mountain bikes here too. You can also do most
of this loop as a variation to the east end of Mary's
Handlebar view northbound as we
approach Red Butte. Photos and trail review by Bruce on November 14, 2013.
|The area is remote. This ride is for adventurous and
experienced riders who are looking for new territory. It will take 10 miles of dirt road to
reach the Red Butte Trail; 12 miles if you plan to park on the slickrock
at the bottom end. The reward is sandstone that's probably the most
beautiful in all of Utah, and a nice mix of riding challenges.
Parking askew on the side of the road
at the start of the Red Butte Trail. Middle of nowhere. Alone. On a frosty
morning. Time for some serious exploring.
||The loop is 6 miles in length. There will be 500 vertical
feet of total climbing. 200 feet of the altitude change will be on the
dirt-road return, and 300 on breathtaking Entrada sandstone on Red Butte.
The loop uses the trails Red Butte, Red Rock, and Red Slot, then it
returns via Red Wash Road. Yeah, there's a lot of red dirt.
Looking west as we enter the slickrock
|Because of steep slopes on Red Butte, I'm recommending this
trail only for advanced riders. There's nothing that's horrifically
technical, but the steep pitches and side-slope riding on sandstone will
give intermediates a major scare.
Looking back to the east, as buttes of
Entrada sandstone rise above the desert floor.
||There's no real parking at the point where Red Butte takes
off from the Red Wash Road. That's because most people arrive at this spot
by motorcycle. You can roll up onto the shoulder. Or, you can drive
another two miles and find lots of room to park on the slickrock at the
western end (just before the cattle guard where Red Slot joins the road).
Reaching the first climb. Up the ramp,
along the slope and up the next ramp. Just follow the white slashes.
|We'll assume you parked at the south end. First, pedal two
miles back up the road. If you like, you can hop onto the dirt Enduro Loop
trail when you see it. This is motorcycle singletrack, so here will be
soft spots. If you don't see it forking away from the road, you can catch
it at Red Slot, about 100 feet from the road.
A few wiggles further up the rock,
we're looking southwest.
||When you reach the Red Butte trail, fork left (if you were
on the road, cross the Enduro Trail just as you're reaching the slickrock).
It will be pretty mellow at first. Once the trail starts to climb the
butte, there will be some steep pitches and some sideslopes above
drop-offs. The trail is marked with white slashes on the rock.
Entrada is smoother than Navajo. If you step off the pedals, you'll want shoes with plenty of rubber on
them to grip the rock. And NO toe spikes.
Cruising along, westbound on the
sloping rock shoulder.
|At mile 1.5 of the Red Butte trail, the route will drop off
the rock and end on the Red Rock trail. Fork left. (Right takes you to
Mary's Trail. If you go to the right, you can loop around on the last
portion of Mary's slickrock.)
Keep right at the next fork (mile 3.9 if you started at the west end),
where the alternate climbs a steep dirt face -- if you go left, you'll
rejoin Red Rock, but it's not as much fun. The trails rejoin at mile 4.7.
The singletrack is occasionally a bit
loose. You should be comfortable surfing down (and climbing up) steep
loose slopes littered with motorcycle-derived rock chunks.
||Take a right at the next intersection (mile 4.9). You are
now on the Red Slot Trail. After bouncing along over humps of red dirt,
the trail will drop into a sandstone canyon. You're still in the Entrada
formation, just at a lower level.
Approaching the drop into the canyon
of Red Slot.
|Whoop-de-do the wash. But watch for one drop that will sneak
up on you. Straight takes you over a 5-footer. Left and uphill takes you
to a steep ramp.
When you reach the dirt road, you should see your car at the slickrock.
If you parked at the top, turn left to make the two-mile return trip.
Fun wall hits here. But if it's your
first time, watch for the big drop-off!
|Riding notes, counterclockwise loop from
west end slickrock near cattleguard:
0.0 Southbound on Red Wash Road
N38 45.194 W110 01.650
1.7 Pass Red Slot trail on L
N38 44.934 W110 00.254
1.9 Ten Mile road joins on R
2.1 L on Red Butte N38 45.103 W109 59.845
2.2 Cross Enduro Loop
|3.6 Drop off sandstone, L
(Red Rock trail) N38 45.682 W110 00.276
3.9 Fork R (stay on Red Rock)
N38 45.447 W110 00.231
4.7 Keep R (alternate rejoins)
N38 45.284 W110 00.531
4.9 R on Red Slot N38 45.156 W110 00.651
6.0 At cattleguard, L to parking
On I-70, drive about 13 miles east of Green River. Take the Floy (175)
exit. Turn right (south). The pavement rapidly turns to dirt. This is the
Ruby Ranch Road At mile 4.2, turn left to Blue Hills Road. Go 3.7 miles,
then turn right (south) toward Ten Mile Point. The Enduro Loop will cross
a bit later, then will cross again. Drive past the sandy east entry to
Mary's trail at mile 8.5 from the highway. At mile 14.1, you reach the
entry to Red Butte. Park here at N38 45.194 W110 01.650, or continue to
mile 16 and park in the slickrock area, retracing your vehicle's path back
to Red Butte.
Camping: Primitive, White Wash area.
Nearest bike services: Moab
|From the west: If you're camping in the White
Wash sand dunes area (reached via Ruby Ranch Road), you may wonder if
you can bike directly to this trail. Well, yes. But even by the most
rock-and-dirt intensive path, you'll push your bike through about 1/10
mile of sand as you cross White Wash. I do NOT recommend trying to drive
down and through the wash. I've done it; it's not pretty. Navigate to the
far south end, where the connector drops from the bluff after the last
parking zone. When you reach sand, hoof straight across bearing straight
south. You'll encounter a (still sandy-sloppy but sometimes rideable) road
along the fence. Continue on Red Wash Road until 4.2 miles since you
dropped off the bluff. Here you'll find the cattleguard that marks the far
west end of the loop. Continue 2 miles on the road to reach Red Butte.