Fairfield, Utah (Tooele) Technical Rating: 2-4
Last Updated: 01-27-2018
Constrictor, Sidewinder Exit, Sidewinder, The Climb, The Pony Express (Fairfield to Ibapah)
BLM 5 Mile Recreation Area
This is a gorgeous trail just west of Utah Lake. You gain elevation quickly and get rewarded with great views. It is a relatively mild trail allowing SUV's of all sorts to reach the mines and enjoy a day away from the city. This trail also serves as a quick emergency exit to the more challenging trails in the network in case you have any breakages, injuries, or other emergencies. Although there are no major obstacles, it is a nice trail to cruise up or down if you are in the area.
Technical rating: (2-4) Easy
Rutted and/or rocky road. No shelves but rocks to 9". Water crossings usually less than hub deep. Passable mud. Grades moderate, up to 15 degrees. Side hill moderate up to 15 degrees. 4WD under most conditions. No width problems, vehicle passing spots frequently available if less than two vehicles wide.
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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, then 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 is a bypass for Rattlesnake to get you up to the mines. It is a fairly easy drive up in a little wash with the occasional rock or mini shelf. The trail is short and direct and you still get all of the good scenery of the area. Once you reach the top, there are a number of mines to explore. They have all been covered with a grate but you can see down most of them. This trail can also be run in the winter as long as the snow doesn't get too deep. There is no risk of sliding off of the trail and it's not too steep if you take the easier routes. For an option challenge, try out the mud pit at the trailhead. It does dry up in the summer heat, but from winter until about the beginning of May, it is up to 2 feet of very slick clay-like mud followed by a steep climb.
1: Trailhead (0.0mi)
The trail starts about half a mile from the air down lot where the road forks. You will know you are on the right path when you pass a large pond/mud pit/dried mud pit (depending on the time of year) on the right (south) side of the trail.
2: Sludge Pit (0.1mi)
The sludge pits are a bit like sour apple candies. To some, it's just awesome. To many, they will avoid it at all costs. If you dare to try this out, make sure you get a good oomph up the hill or you will just slide back down. This is some slick stuff. The reason so many people avoid it however is due to the smell and its stubbornness to be washed off.
3: Fun Little Hill (0.9mi)
This is just a little dirt mount on the right (southeast) side of the trail that you can climb up and over. Its a little intimidating not being able to see the other side when you reach the top!
4: End (1.5mi)
This is where Bullsnake intersects with Rattlesnake. There are a number of paths to take, but the 3 paths to the uphill/right all meet back up and take you up to Constrictor or toward The Climb, and the trails to the left all meet at the base of the tailings to continue down Rattlesnake.
Camping and Lodging
There are many scattered adventurist-made sites with rock fire rings. Fires are usually permitted but refer to the kiosk 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. Clean up and be responsible.