Sidewinder Exit

Fairfield, Utah (Tooele County)
Last Updated: 02/23/2018
Nearby Trails
Status: Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 5-6
Length: 1 miles
Highest Elevation: 6088 feet
Duration: About 2 hours
Shape of Trail: Straight Through
Best Direction to Travel: East
Nearest Town: Fairfield
Nearest Town w/ Services: Cedar Fort
Official Road Name: Sidewinder Exit Trail
Management Agency: Bureau of Land Management
District: 5 Mile Recreation Area
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Highlight: Sidewinder Exit

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.


Route Information

Technical Rating: (5-6)

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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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 two-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. ***This guide is written as running the trail uphill (east).***

Seasonal Information

Spring:Trail is usually dry. This is a good time of year to run this trail.
Summer:Trail can get hot in the summer months, however there is shade along this route.
Fall:This is another good time of year to run this trail, however, you will likely not be alone.
Winter:Trail may be impassable due to snow.


1. Trailhead

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 (0.2 mi)

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 (0.4 mi)

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 (0.5 mi)

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 (0.5 mi)

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 (0.6 mi)

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 (0.7 mi)

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 (0.7 mi)

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 (0.8 mi)

At this point, you intersect with the end of Sidewinder. Continue straight downhill to finish the trail.

10. End (1 mi)

This is the end of the trail (for this writeup) where it meets up with Rattlesnake and the beginning of Sidewinder.

Directions to Trailhead

Trailhead Coordinates: 40.263741, -112.212381

Starting Point: Lehi, Utah

Begin heading west on 2100 N. Follow until you run into Utah 68. Turn south on 68 and follow a short distance until you intersect Utah 73 (Main St.). Turn west on Utah 73 and drive just under a mile, where you will veer right to continue on Utah 73. Continue for 22.4 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.


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.
Camping: Sidewinder Exit

Writer Information

TJ Bosworth

Crew Leader - Utah
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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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Trail Reviews (1)

Author: Official Crew
Status: Open
Offroaded on:
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.