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Slippery When Wet

Slippery When Wet is an advanced technical singletrack loop in the McCoy Flat trail system west of Vernal. The shortest route is just under 6 miles, but the trail can be incorporated into longer rides by adding Retail Sale and Fire Sale or More Hoes.

Steve Winters cranks across the desert early in the Slippery When Wet Loop. Photos May 26, 2010 by Jake Weber, Gene Poncelet, Steve Winters, and Bruce.

The McCoy Flat trail system is managed by the BLM. Although there's no water at the trailhead, there's a toilet, a large fenced parking lot, a shaded picnic area, and well-developed trail signage.

Looking west from the bathroom. There's a large picnic pavilion and plenty of parking.

Trails exit the parking area on the east and the west. The Slippery When Wet ride starts on the west side -- important if you don't want to be immediately lost. Consult the trail map and follow the signs.

Exit from the parking area westbound. Trail maps are found only at the trailhead, but there are plenty of marking signs.

Absolute elevation change is about 300 feet, starting at 5300. Up-and-down riding brings total climbing to 700. Although considered an expert-level mountain biking trail, intermediates can ride Slippery When Wet with a few short hikes past tricky sections.

Gene Poncelet drops down the mountain, with the continuing trail tiny in the distance. The ride gains and loses elevation a few times.

The ride starts by crossing the McCoy Flat road from the parking area. Follow the trail signs and veer to the right to the combined Got Milk and Retail Sale trails.

Steve pops the bike up over a sandstone ledge.

Options: To do a longer ride, head right instead. Follow Retail Sale west. Do Fire Sale and continue on Retail Sale to the Slippery When Wet fork. Or take Got Milk to More Hoes, and do More Hoes before following Retail Sale to the Slippery When Wet loop.

Gene Poncelet and Jake Weber are caught by Steve's camera -- in the act of trying to catch a photo of Bruce going rubber-side-up on this tricky little stunt.

Shortly after branching off Retail Sale, the loop splits. Keep right. This is a one-way loop. The trail will climb into an area of sandstone and mudstone. There are a couple of short technical areas.

Gene follows Bruce around the sandstone ledges. 

There are views in every direction as the trail tracks along the edge of a sharp little hill. At one viewpoint, check out the cool kokopelli.

For a longer ride: When you get back to Retail Sale, flip the bike around. Ride the last 5 miles of Retail Sale trail back to the trailhead.

View north from a high point late in the loop.

Riding notes, Slippery When Wet, short loop:
0.0  From corral parking, cross road
0.1  Keep R N40 20.994 W109 34.939
       (L = Return from Retail Sale)
0.4  Fork L on Retail Sale N40 20.759 W109 35.083
0.5  Fork R on Slippery When Wet
       N40 20.679 W109 35.064
0.6  Fork R for outgoing loop N40 20.615 W109 35.142
5.0  Back at fork, loop finished
5.1  Keep L for return N40 20.679 W109 35.064
       (Option R for Retail Sale)
5.2  R on return trail  N40 20.759 W109 35.083
5.5  R and cross road
5.6  Back at trailhead

Getting there:  
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 sites.
At trailhead
Bring your own.
Bike services, maps, trail conditions:

Altitude Cycle, 580 East Main, Vernal. 435-781-2595

Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
    GPX Slippery      McCoy Flats area trails
Topo McCoy area map for printing:   View map
Lodging, camping, shops:   Links to Vernal area resources

Copyright 2010 Mad Scientist Software Inc
Topo map updated 2016