Horse Mountain - Death Ridge

Scout Route
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Horse Mountain and Death Ridge roads form the second and more challenging section of a scenic overland route through Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument from Cottonwood Canyon to Escalante, along with Four Mile Bench Road.

Though there is a sign at the southern end warning it is impassable to full-size vehicles, that is not usually the case. Full-size vehicles are allowed on the road and can usually travel it. However, much of the road passes through bentonite hills with highly erosive soils and is subject to frequent washouts. These washouts can narrow the road to the point where larger vehicles can't get through. These washouts also provide the main technical challenge on the route, which is on the hard end of moderate. The road is likely completely impassable in wet conditions.

Starting from the south, the first part of the road follows a ridgetop with scenic views of the surrounding badlands terrain. It then crosses through gulches and clay hills, gradually ascending Horse Mountain to Death Ridge. It eventually intersects and follows Death Ridge Road, a graded dirt road that descends the ridgeline to intersect with Smokey Mountain Road just outside Escalante.

There are a few campsites along the trail, and it would be a good route for overlanding. All backcountry camping in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument requires a permit.