A Beginner’s Guide to Offroading near Salt Lake City

October 8, 2018
Categories: Beginners Guide
Tags: Utah

Time and time again, the question is asked: Where can I off-road near Salt Lake City? For those of you that have been in Salt Lake City long enough, these trail names are household phrases. There are more trails than you may think located just a short drive away from the valley. Difficulty can range anywhere from flyin’ down a dirt road to buggy obstacles. The scenery has just as wide of a range, as well. Whether you are in for the extreme moments or the endless views, here are the top picks for 4wd trails near Salt Lake City.

Fivemile Pass – All Year


 For the thrill-seeker, you’ll want to try out The Snakes located out by the Fivemile Pass Recreation Area.

Just about an hour drive away from the valley, this trail system has some roads to suit anybody. A parking lot at the trailhead leaves room for towed vehicles as well. The common trails in this system include Rattlesnake, Constrictor, Sidewinder, and Winter Solstice Road, with other options like The Climb and the Sidewinder Exit Trail.


Rattlesnake and Constrictor are the common “moderate” routes until you reach Eagles Nest, which is only completed by seasoned wheelers or well-built rigs. Sidewinder and its exit trail are for the more experienced as well, while Winter Solstice Road and The Climb can be done in less modified rigs. Also nearby is the famous Pony Express, a mild dirt road with incredible history. These trails are all open year-round. However, they can become next to impossible with any snow on the ground.

Little Moab/Tintic Mountains – All Year

Just south of Fivemile Recreation Area lies another popular playground called Little Moab. In these hills, west of Utah Lake sits a random crop of rock resembling the iconic slick rock found in Moab.


A short distance from Little Moab is another playground called The Great Wall. Both of these areas allow drivers to test their rigs at their own accord. This is a great place to come if you are looking to see what your vehicle is capable of without trekking hours away from home.


Aside from Little Moab and The Great Wall, Allen’s Ranch Road, Broad Canyon, and Black Rock Canyon will take you a bit further towards the Tintic Mountain Range, home to a large number of trails. Or, you can head south to drive through the famous Tintic Range Railroad Tunnel #1 via Elberta Slant Road! All of the areas listed above are open throughout the year and can provide some good snow wheeling opportunities.


American Fork Canyon – Seasonal

In another area, forest roads cut through lush vegetation, providing breathtaking views of valleys below. American Fork Canyon is open only about half of the year, but it is well worth the short trip. It is home to a variety of trails, such as Lower Mill Canyon, Mary Ellen Gulch, Baker Fork Road, Miller Hill, and the more difficult Forest Lake and Mineral Basin.


Although there are no “major” obstacles within this network, it can still provide many opportunities for entertainment alongside cool, shaded trails and incredible views. American Fork Canyon is also a popular network for camping away from the summer heat and city noise, so find yourself a good spot before someone else does! Again, these trails are only open for about half of the year. Check back for updates on seasonal closures.


All within about an hour of the Salt Lake Valley, these trails can provide an entire spectrum of wheeling. Driving just a bit further will broaden the range of choices to nearly anything you could imagine. Utah is one of the greatest states for wheeling, so be sure to get out there!

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TJ Bosworth
Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, he's only been off-roading since he was 16 but fell in love immediately. He attended college in Denver for Culinary Arts and Restaurant Management and wheeled in Colorado for 4 years, but ended up moving back home to Salt Lake City. He currently works in an off-road shop and spends his free time doing anything he can to stay busy, which is usually working on his jeep or playing music. Outside of off-roading, he is an avid whitewater rafter and outdoor cook. Camping at least every other weekend in any season is a normal year. The further from civilization, the better. Bring on the memories!

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