Fairfield, Utah (Tooele) Technical Rating: 6-9
Last Updated: 12-05-2015
Constrictor, Bullsnake, The Climb, The Pony Express (Fairfield to Ibapah)
BLM 5 Mile Recreation Area
Sidewinder Exit Highlights
Looking for some excitement near Five Mile Recreation Area and Fairfield, Utah? Look no further than the area known as "The Snakes". This trail in particular was created to serve as an exit for the extreme trail known as Sidewinder, however it is not for the faint of heart. With obstacles such as Buggy Bouncer and The Gauntlet, you are sure to not be bored. This offroad trail takes you quickly into the south end of the Oquirrh Mountain Range, rising in elevation with every inch traveled. Though it is a fairly new "established" trail, it is well used and changes often, providing newer challenges every weekend. Due to its proximity to Rattlesnake and Constrictor, as well as Five Mile Recreation Area, you will probably not be alone along this trail. Be sure to bring plenty of food and water as there are hundreds of miles to explore in the mountains just west of Utah Lake.
Technical rating: (6-9) Moderate-Difficult
Severe rock over 15". Frequent deep holes over 15". Shelves over 15". Mud bog conditions (long, deep, no form bottom). Over 30" water crossings with strong currents. Steep grades over 30 degrees. Sidehill over 30 degrees. May not be passable by stock vehicles. Experience essential. Body damage, mechanical breakdown, rollover probable. Extreme caution required.
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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.
This trail was created as the exit for Sidewinder comp trail running from the top down (uphill east to downhill west), however due to its running path, it is often run uphill as a harder start to the Rattlesnake trail just over in the next canyon to the south. There are a number of very large obstacles ranging from 2 foot boulders and lips up to 5-6 foot cliffs. The majority of the trail is very loose rock and dirt. Dust is almost always present. This trail climbs fast with a gain of almost 500 feet in about one mile. Once at the top, you have incredible views of Utah Lake to the southeast and the mine tailings to the east, as well as back down the canyon to the west. This is a very fun trail to challenge those running Rattlesnake and Constrictor.
Due to the layout, the guide will be written as uphill (east).
1: Sidewinder Exit Trailhead (0.0mi)
The trailhead starts just north of the canyon where Rattlesnake runs. You will reach a meadow with a Y, with the left (western) spur continuing along the foothills of the mountains, and the right (eastern) spur being the trailhead.
2: Rock in Wash (0.2mi)
After running through the wash briefly, you will meet a decent-sized rock in the middle of the trail. Working your way across it, you are likely to lift a tire if you do not have a good amount of flex.
3: Welcome Hill (0.4mi)
This little hill consists of very loose and sharp slickrock. There is a good foundation of stone, but much of it has been chunked away causing it to be a little tricky, especially if wet.
4: Buggy Bouncer (0.5mi)
The first of the major obstacles, Buggy Bouncer, consists of two parts. The "gatekeeper" is a rock pile with bowling ball-sized stones that you must crawl over. Having a spotter helps to not tap an axle. The second part is the "big boy". There will be a 5-foot tall rock right in the middle, causing you to either take it far right or far left. The left (north) side has been dug out over the years, but still proves a challenge with its ruts and a not-so-forgiving tree that you may brush against. The right (south) side is the harder line, causing you to climb a slick dirt mound on your passenger side while your driver's side is climbing the big rock in the middle. After you get your front end up, it will be greeted by two more large rocks with vertical faces, wanting to push your front end hard to the driver's side once you hit. Lockers are almost a necessity on the right side, however the left side may be navigated carefully with a spotter.
5: Hammered Tree Hill (0.5mi)
Hammered Tree Hill consists of two lines. The left (north) is the bypass and is nothing other than steep and loose. The right (south) line is a mess of 1-3 foot rocks scattered between ruts and a few "hammered" trees, hence the name. Again, lockers will help on the right due to the loose dirt and rock combined with the off-camber terrain.
6: Big Rock In Middle (0.6mi)
As you round a corner to the right (east), you are greeted with a rock right in the middle of the trail. It stands about one foot tall (vertical face) with another foot above rounding out to the top. The bottom is very dug out, so approaching at an angle might help. You can also move a little more to the right (south) to make the line a little bit easier.
7: The Gauntlet (0.7mi)
The Gauntlet is a mess of a hill. You are able to pick a number of lines from steep but easy, to rock faces and trees on your side. Staying left (north) is the easiest route being steep and loose but is void of any large boulders or rock obstacles. If you take a right to the south, it is the beginning of the hard lines. It starts with step after step until you are at a double step with large holes below and a tree on your passenger rear tire. After the double step, you open up to a large shelf spanning about 12 yards. At this ledge, the further left (north) you go, the bigger and harder it is. If you don't have the wheelbase, you can scoot over to the right (south) as far as necessary to get up and over. You can also head all the way to the right for a simple bypass to this ledge.
8: Scenic (0.7mi)
Just after The Gauntlet, you reach the top of the climb and are treated to quite the stunning view. To the west, you can see the Rush Valley and the beginning of The Pony Express.
9: Sidewinder Intersection (0.8mi)
At this point, you intersect with the end of Sidewinder. Continue straight downhill to finish the trail.
Camping and Lodging
There are many scattered adventurist-made sites with rock fire rings. Fires are usually permitted but refer to the board at the air down lot where you turned off of Highway 73. As with any area, please do not create your own new sites, and be very careful when having fires in such a dry area. Clean up and be responsible. Pack it in, pack it out.
Questions & AnswersNo questions have been submitted.
Offroaded on 12-05-2015
Conditions: Partially Cloudy
Low Temperature: 35° F
High Temperature: 42° F
This is always a fun trail to do around winter time. We had very minimal snow, so the trail was only slick in the shaded spots. New paths have been made around the harder obstacles so the lower rating on the trail is a little bit easier, but don't think it is just a walk in the park!
We decided to run this trail in reverse (Uphill) so: From the end (mouth of the canyon), it is easier to see that there is actually a trail here now. The brush has been run over more so the two wheel tracks have made way to an unmaintained full dirt path. The path until you start to climb is a v shape about half of the time, so your suspension will constantly be twisting. The rock hill is still a fun little test for what is about to come.
The rocks at the base of Buggy Bouncer have been moved around greatly, causing as much of a headache at Buggy Bouncer itself. You must pick high points or you will scrape a few points. The dirt at the base and in between the rocks of Buggy Bouncer has been slowly eaten away creating holes that make it a new challenge. Your chances of making it up greatly depend on your wheelbase and stance.
Throughout the trail new rocks and holes have appeared, as have new side routes around the harder obstacles. Once you reach the final climb with The Gauntlet, each shelf has increased in size since summer. This trail will continually change, but due to it growing in popularity, there will be easier routes created.