Fairfield, Utah (Tooele) Technical Rating: 4-6
Last Updated: 12-17-2016
BLM 5 Mile Recreation Area
This is a gorgeous trail in western Utah that gives you some incredible views as well as some old mines to look down into. You also get to walk across the top of the grates that cover the closed-off mines. Just make sure you don't bring anything over them unless you have a firm grip! Being so close to Salt Lake City, you will often come across other off-roaders no matter the time of day or day of the week. Many people even do night runs in the area. There are many spurs around that can take you to different areas of the mountain so be sure you remember where you came from.
Technical rating: (4-6) Easy-Moderate
Quite rocky or deep ruts. Rocks to 12" and frequent. Water crossings may exceed hub depth with strong currents. Shelves to 6". Mud may require checking before proceeding. Moderate grades to 20 degrees. Sidehill may approach 30 degrees. 4WD necessary and second attempts may be required with stock vehicles. Caution may be required with wider vehicles.
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Directions to Trailhead
From the Salt Lake Valley, head south on I15 until exit 282 in Lehi for 2100 N. Turn west and follow until you run into Utah 68. Turn south on 68 and follow a short distance until you intersect Utah 73 (Sunshine Canyon Road). Turn west on 73 and continue for 23.1 miles until the turnoff for the air down lot on the right.
From the Provo Valley, take I15 north until exit 279 for Utah 73 (Sunshine Canyon Road) and follow 27.4 miles until the turnoff for the air down lot on the right.
From Tooele, take Utah 36 south out of town for about 11 miles, until you turn left (east) on Utah 73 (Sunshine Canyon Road). Continue east for 13.5 miles until the turnoff for the air down lot on the left.
One of many trails in Tooele County, this trail offers something for every level of wheeler. It is short and often traveled so if breakage does occur, you will likely get help. This trail takes you into the Oquirrh Mountains in eastern Utah. The area is mostly desert, but the mountains are scattered with juniper trees that do provide some shade from the dry heat. This region gets very little rain so the trail is dusty, however, heavy rains do cause flash floods down these narrow canyons. Throughout the trail, you will see rabbits and lizards running around. Once at the top, you are rewarded with incredible views across both side of the mountain range. The abandoned mines are also a unique feature to this area because you can walk right over the top of the grates that cover them, or drive if you dare. If your lucky, you can spot an old J1000 at the bottom of one of them.
1: Trailhead (0.0mi)
This is where you can start to see the interesting yellow dirt from the mines. There is a sign on trail right. From the start, there will be some large whoop dee doo's that you can get your suspension warmed up on.
2: Warmup (0.3mi)
This is just a little 1-1.5 foot shelf off to trail left. This will give you an idea of the kind of rock you will be rolling over for the next little bit. Also, this won't be the first slanted rock like this. A good majority of the ledges and obstacles are slanted faces of this dark slick rock.
3: Larger Boulder (0.4mi)
The trail will fork around a tree and this boulder will be on the driver's side of the right fork. It's nothing too big, but can be a fun little flex spot for the stockers that hit this trail. The highest part of the slant hit about 1.5 feet tall.
4: Slickrock (0.4mi)
This is probably the biggest slant of slick rock along this trail. You can pick your line, but many people will struggle a little bit somewhere along this ledge. The rock is often covered with small "shale" type gravel mixed with dry dusty dirt. This combination is very slick to any tire. When it rains, the dirt turns to mud and the slick rock turns to imitation ice making any line nearly impossible without some heavy momentum behind you. The further uphill you go, the higher the risk of sliding into an unwanted position. Due to the dirt at the bottom, the line straight ahead as you approach gets dug deeper and deeper. There is a bypass around to trail right.
5: Rock Garden (0.5mi)
There is a small ledge to start off this little rock garden. You can make it as easy or hard as you wish, however, if you were to struggle on the first warm-up ledge, this might prove a challenge. You will bob and weave around rocks and ledges with up to a three-foot straight face. Following the easiest line, you will see rocks around 1.5 feet tall.
6: Optional Challenge (0.5mi)
Shortly after the rock garden, there will be an option 25-yard challenge on trail right against the mini cliffs. This is a gnarly little area due to the holes being dug before each of the rocks. You can pick your line to make it more difficult, but the easiest way through you will face rocks around 2-3 feet tall one after another. To make it extreme on the passenger side, there is a four foot face if you choose.
7: Double Threat (0.6mi)
Around the corner, there will be another optional obstacle, this time on the left called double-threat. This is a double ledge starting with a 5 footer followed by a 3.5 footer. It is always covered in loose rock and dirt making it a little slick. Short wheelbase vehicles will barely get their tires to the top of the first ledge before the rear tires will start to climb. Longer wheelbase vehicles will struggle because their front wheels will already be climbing the second face while the rears start the first. Lockers are a big help on this one.
8: Slippery Slope/Sidewinder Trailhead (0.7mi)
This is the start of the extreme trail known as Sidewinder, however many people like to try this first little obstacle on their way up Rattlesnake. This is a seemingly easy obstacle. Some vehicles can make cake work of this and others will fail. On trail left, look up the hill and you will see a rock face with a 1.5-foot ledge part way up. This will always be covered in loose rock. It's a straight shot, but due to the extreme angle of the hill, it will be very slippery. A little bump seems to help here, but be careful to keep your vehicle straight or you could rotate sideways and lose a tire off the ledge possible leading to a roll.
9: Sidewinder Exit Intersection (0.7mi)
Just after the slippery slope, you will see a road coming down and meeting rattlesnake on the left. This is the beginning to the Sidewinder Exit.
10: The Tilt (0.8mi)
This one is a paint scraper. If you have a full-size vehicle, you may want to avoid this one. There is a bypass on the left. Down the driver's side of this obstacle, you will climb 2 faces and a boulder. As you do this, your passenger side stays flat and gets very close to the rock jutting out of the side of the hill. You can see a sampler of the colors of vehicles before you on this rock.
11: Pick Your Line (0.9mi)
These are the first mine tailings you will see along this trail. You can pick a number of different ways up them but they all meet at the top. If you stay left you will encounter the steepest slope. Make sure to keep momentum or you will slide! If you do choose this far left line, be careful at the top. Just after you come over the peak, there is a large dip on the driver's side that can roll you if you are not paying attention.
12: Intersection - Bullsnake (1.0mi)
Throwing distance from the top of these tailings, you will see the next set. This is where you will intersect with the top of Bullsnake. If you take the far right path, you will be starting Bullsnake backward (heading downhill). Every other line will meet at the top to continue up rattlesnake. Bullsnake is also a good emergency exit for Rattlesnake. Since it is an easier trail, you can cruise down a little bit faster for emergencies or easier/less bumpy if you have any breakages.
13: Side Mine (1.2mi)
This is one of the many mines up in the area. Just off of trail left you will see the grate. You cannot see the bottom of this one, but it is not the deepest one.
14: Intersection - Continue Straight (1.3mi)
Here is another large intersection of trails. Down to trail left is a trail that will take you to the top of the frontage road. Trail hard right is a short trail that leads to another, very deep mine. Trail medium right is a spur that leads to spurs. There is a whole network in that direction. This will also lead to The Climb. Straight ahead you will see two paths that both continue up. They will both meet at the base of the mine tailings.
15: Mine Tailings Turnoff (1.5mi)
Here is a turnoff to the road that goes up the side of the tailings and to the top.
16: 2 Mines (1.5mi)
At the top of the tailings, there is a little hill opposite the tailings that has 2 more mines.
17: End (1.6mi)
Here is the end of Rattlesnake and the start of Constrictor.
Camping and Lodging
There are many scattered adventurist made sites with fire rings made with rocks. Fires are usually permitted but refer to the board at the air down lot for any restrictions. As with any area, please try not to make your own new sites and be very careful when having fires in such a dry area. Due to the heavy traffic, always try to leave the sites cleaner than when you arrived. This area is under threat of closure so every little bit you can do to help is appreciated!
Questions & AnswersNo questions have been submitted.
Offroaded on 12-17-2016
Low Temperature: 19° F
High Temperature: 27° F
Took a trip out to Five Mile Pass with T.J. and Chris B. for a run up Rattlesnake this last Saturday. Other drivers were pretty scarce on the trail, which was strange for this area on a Saturday. This was probably due to the snow received the night before. Apart from being a bit cold, the weather was great! Made for some spectacular views at the top of the trail. Even with a decent amount of snow cover, the trail was easily passable and a blast to drive up. The Rock Garden proved a little difficult in my stock Frontier, but made it through surprisingly unscathed with some guidance from T.J. and Chris. Make sure to keep up your momentum on obstacle 11, that's a sketchy one to go sliding down backwards on in the snow!