Harris Wash and V Road

Scout Route
4/5 (1 reviews)

Every trail guide in full detail for $0.80/week*

Get access to thousands of Trails Offroad™ Trail Guides with
  • Detailed Waypoints
  • Photos and video on the trail
  • Comprehensive list of concerns
  • Community trail reviews
  • PLUS Trails Offroad™ Scout Routes
Check out a nearby All-Access Preview trail guide:
*Billed annually at $39.99/year
Hero: Harris Wash and V Road
small-sr Icon

Harris Wash Road and V Road are technically two different roads, though they appear on the ground as one. The road leads from Hole in the Rock Road deep into a wilderness study area in the Red Breaks area of Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument. It provides the closest hiking access to the Cosmic Ashtray, one of the most famous geological features within the monument. The road is worth driving even without the hike for the spectacular views of the large Red Breaks petrified sand dunes.

The first half, Harris Wash Road, is graded dirt, usually passable in any vehicle as far as the Harris Wash trailhead. After crossing Harris Wash, the road name changes to V Road. The original Grand Staircase management plan technically closed the V Road portion. However, it continued to be regularly driven and was officially reopened in the monument management plan adopted in 2020 after the monument was downsized under President Trump. It is now proposed for re-closure in the current management planning process that started after President Biden re-enlarged it. Offroaders need to advocate to keep it open.

The first three miles of the V Road are a slightly rougher but still easy dirt road with several scenic campsites. The road then crosses a wash and proceeds through an area of deep sand. A sign just before the sandy section warning that four-wheel drive is needed past that point. This sign also marks the best place to park to hike to the Cosmic Ashtray, which you can reach by hiking north up the wash and climbing the petrified sand dunes. While there is no marked trail, the approximately 1-mile route is shown on Gaia GPS and is easy to follow. Past the sandy section, the road gets rougher and rockier as it passes through a gap between petrified dunes before dead-ending at a turnaround with signs marking the WSA boundary.

There are several excellent dispersed campsites to be found along this road. All backcountry camping in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument requires a permit, which can be obtained at the visitor center in Escalante.