Northeast Utah- A Snowmobilers SecretOctober 16th, 2019
By: Josh Hansen, Uintah Basin Grooming Complex Manager
Most people do not associate snowmobiling with the east end of the Uinta Mountains. Rest assured there are more than enough opportunities to explore fresh powder on the east end of the North and South Slopes of the Uinta’s. In fact, you may need to pack an extra gas can, or two, if you want to see everything in this out of the way hidden gem! , or two, if you want to see everything in this out of the way hidden gem!
With over 70 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, a rider can find any type of riding they desire. From open meadows to snow-covered peaks, we have it all! Five United States Forest Service cabins (guard stations) or yurts are available for reservation by visiting www.recreation.gov. As a safety feature, the Forest Service leaves the Carter Military Yurt open to the public as a warming hut. This neat little yurt allows riders a place to stop and eat or take a bathroom break. When making reservations, remember the Grizzly Ridge Yurt is only accessible by non-motorized travel during the winter.
If you desire a warm and convenient slumber, keep in mind Vernal offers many lodging options at a very affordable price and has multiple snowmobile dealerships in the event an unexpected repair is needed.
On the South Slope of the Uinta’s the majority of riders find the ease of access at the Red Cloud Loop trailhead to be very appealing. This trailhead is located just off of Highway 191 on the Ashley National Forest heading towards Flaming Gorge from Vernal, Utah. The Red Cloud Loop trailhead provides quick access to the Colton Guard Station and the Trout Creek Guard Station, as well as East Park and Oaks Park. These areas are perfect for the trail rider or novice, yet boondocking can be appealing to the experienced rider in the open (mostly rock-less) meadows and trees. These areas are also accessible from the Taylor Mountain and Dry Fork trailheads. can be appealing to the experienced rider in the open (mostly rock-less) meadows and trees. These areas are also accessible from the Taylor Mountain and Dry Fork trailheads.
For the more adventurous and experienced rider, the Lakeshore Basin area is the ticket. Use the Dry Fork trailhead for the quickest access to this amazing area. Riders will start at an elevation of 7,400 feet and climb to peaks and ridges as they head west, ranging from 11,000 feet to 12,000 feet! Hill climbing and open meadows as well as a few good spots to catch some air await those with a need for an adrenalin dump. Not to mention the view from 12,000 feet looking over miles and miles of snow-covered hillsides is breathtaking. Flaming Gorge can be seen in the distance when looking northeast once you reach the high ridges.
Other notable trailheads on the South Slope with quick access to high ridges and peaks blanketed in snow are the Mosby trailhead and Farm Creek trailhead. Use the Mosby trailhead to access the Paradise Lake area and use Farm Creek trailhead (near Fort Duchesne) to access the Chepeta Lake area.
On the North Slope of the Uinta’s, riders can find a vast expanse of riding opportunities if the snow conditions, for the season, are adequate from the East Mckee, Cart Creek, and Moose Ponds trailheads. Riders can access the Flaming Gorge Lodge for a hot meal or try their hand at making it to Spirit Lake. The Red Canyon Lodge near Flaming Gorge has cabins available for reservation. Reservations are available by calling the Red Canyon Lodge office directly.
Keep in mind almost any of the areas mentioned in this article are accessible from most of the identified trailheads (if you have enough fuel). Always remember to be avalanche prepared, a large portion of the snowmobiling experienced in Uintah and Daggett County is very remote. Cell service is sporadic, make sure to come prepared and ride smart. Your next sledding adventure awaits you!