Courthouse Rock aka Buttes and Towers

Moab, Utah (Grand County)

Last Updated: 03/30/2022
5 / 5 ( 2 reviews )
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Status:
Open
Typically Open: Year Round
Difficulty: 3-3
( MODERATE )
Length: 11.09 miles
Highest Elevation: 5073 feet
Duration: About 4 hours
Shape of Trail: Connector
Best Direction to Travel: N/A
Nearest Town: Moab
Nearest Town w/ Services: Moab
Official Road Name: D2388, D2393, D2417, D2414
Management Agency: Bureau of Land Management
District: Moab Field Office

Highlights

Highlight: Courthouse Rock aka Buttes and Towers
Simply amazing is an appropriate description for this iconic Easter Jeep Safari route. Buttes and Towers follows an easy but rocky route around the most majestic landscapes in the Moab area. The trail offers very mild rock-crawling challenges for stock-type 4x4s on its massive stretches of sandstone. You will climb up and around the towering Courthouse Rock circle around the ledge at Pasture Butte before ending near the famous Determination Towers. The trail has numerous points where you'll want to stop, get out and soak it all in. For the lesser experienced offroaders, this is a great way to get the complete experience of a Moab adventure.

Video

Route Information

Advanced Rating System

Recommended Vehicle:
Stock SUV with High Clearance and 4 Low
Concerns:
Summary:
The route has continuous rock ledges to maneuver over.

Technical Rating

MANDATORY
3
MODERATE
OPTIONAL
3
MODERATE
Typically, more rock or undulated road surface. Potential rocks and/or tree stumps less than 12" tall and/or vertical ledges less than 12" tall and/or near vertical ledges or waterfalls less than 24" inches. Tire placement becomes more difficult. Can be steep.
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Description

Buttes and Towers is a scenic 11-mile cliff-lined trail with a few challenges for stock-type vehicles. It's an ideal trail for someone looking to get their feet wet in Moab or has a vehicle without lockers. It is bumpy and rocky for the first half; there are countless rocky ledges to climb up and down. The later sections, after Waypoint 10, are where the soft sand begins. The route is easily accessible and can be completed by stock high clearance 4x4 vehicles equipped with durable off-road tires. The trail has a couple of rocky sections where spotting may be necessary for low clearance vehicles. There can be stray boulders at various times that can require careful navigation. Watch your speed and look for oncoming traffic. There is a maze of roads and trails in this area. This route will utilize a few of them and bypass others. Unless on Sevenmile Rim all of the roads will be roughly the same technical rating as this one.
Do not stray off the designated route. Stay the trail, and please follow the trail markers closely.

Waypoints

1. Trailhead (0 mi)
The trail branches off of Cotter Mine Road toward the massive rock cliffs. You will drive up a dirt trail to the slab rocks below Courthouse Rock.
2. Scenic and First Rock Ledge (0.65 mi)
The first rock ledge you'll encounter is an introduction to what is to come along this route. Slow and steady, one tire at a time, then congratulate everyone while soaking in the views. You will soon circle uphill and around to the backside of this giant rock wall.
3. MM Intersection - Turn Right (0.9 mi)
After the ascent below Courthouse Rock, turn right to travel along the backside. Staying straight continues to Waypoint 12 on this route. The junction has wooden signs pointing the way. This is your first glimpse of the Courthouse Pasture area and all its splendor.
4. No Vehicles, Hike and Bike (1.8 mi)
Once you cross over the small creek, stay straight. The trail to the right is closed to all vehicles. Hike and bike only.
5. Intersection - Stay Left (2.34 mi)
At the fork, stay to the left to continue around Pasture Butte. To shorten the route, turn right to reach Waypoint 9 on this route.
6. Pasture Butte (2.69 mi)
As you approach Pasture Butte, you will have to drive along a narrow off chamber ledge. It's wide enough for all vehicles and only about a 15° angle. This section of the route is fun and very scenic.
7. Around the Butte (3.18 mi)
Turn right, driving around the point of the butte to the south. You will need to follow the white lines painted on the rock and watch for blind holes and ledges.
8. Narrow Ledge and Rocks (3.48 mi)
This obstacle is a blind ledge squeeze point. You must hug the rocks to avoid dropping off the 8-inch ledge on the drivers' side. Then navigate through the off-camber squeeze. Full-width vehicles may want to utilize a spotter.
9. Mill Canyon Hike and Bike - Hard Left (4.36 mi)
This tight turn to the left can be tricky for full-size trucks or SUVs—plan for a three-point turn in most vehicles. The drop-down is pretty steep, and the rocks at the bottom of the hill mess with your steering. The trail to the right is closed to vehicles; hiking or biking leads you to Mill Canyon.
10. Stay Straight (5.65 mi)
Stay straight at the intersection. The trail to the right is a short connector trail leading to Sevenmile Rim Trail at WP 24. Note: The official Easter Jeep Safari Buttes and Towers route exits out this way and onto Sevenmile Rim.
11. Turn Left (6.04 mi)
Turn left at the tree. You will return to this point at the end of the route, Waypoint 18. Staying straight leads to Wipe Out Hill.
12. Hard Right - Right Uranium Arch (7.91 mi)
At the large intersection, there are multiple turns. The hard right will continue the Buttes and Towers route. The soft right leads to Uranium Arch and Sevenmile Rim Trail.. Turning left will lead back to Waypoint 03 of this route.
13. Stay Left (8.92 mi)
At the fork, stay to the left. To the right, will shortcut to Waypoint 17 on this route.
14. Stay Right (9.51 mi)
At the large sandy intersection, stay to the right.
15. Sevenmile Rim (9.88 mi)
Two junctions are close to each other. First, turn right, and 2nd, stay straight at the following intersection. This section overlaps withSevenmile Rim Trail. at Waypoint 20 for a very short distance.
16. Stay Right (10.2 mi)
This section can get a little confusing. Stay to the right, away from the slab rock and the butte. Following the track closely will help preserve the delicate vegetation in the area.
17. Wipe Out Hill Trailhead - Stay Left (10.55 mi)
At the intersection, stay to the right. To the left leads to Wipe Out Hill. It's a short but challenging way to exit the area. You will need a capable 4x4 and rock crawling experience to leave that way safely.
18. Trail End (11.07 mi)
The trail ends back at the tree and Waypoint 11 of this route. The most common exit is to travel to Waypoint 10 and connect it with Sevenmile Rim Trail. at Waypoint 24. Sevenmile can be taken out to Mill Canyon Road.

Directions to Trailhead

Starting Point: Highway 191, 100 E Main St. Moab, Utah

Head north on E Main Street, 191. Continue to follow US-191 N 11.6 miles. Turn left onto Cotter Mine Road. There is a large dirt shoulder for trailer parking and airing down at the turn-off. Travel 2.8 miles on the dirt road, along the tracks, and eventually to the trailhead on the left.

Camping

Not allowed
Camping is not allowed within the Courthouse Pasture area to help preserve the landscape. You can find free primitive camping along Cotter Mine Road and Mill Canyon. The sites are level hard-pack dirt, and most have rock fire circles. Certain areas have designated sites marked with a tent trail marker. There are numerous established campgrounds with tables and restrooms along route 313 to the south. You cannot gather firewood in this area; you must purchase it in town.
Camping: Courthouse Rock aka Buttes and Towers

Trail Reviews (2)

Questions & Answers (0)

Writer Information

Bobby Nelson

Mapping Crew - Arizona

While living in the Midwest, I developed a passion for searching out new trails and hidden spots. That passion continues to this day in the beautiful southwestern United States. My wife and I are full-time RVers who travel from region to region, exploring every nook and cranny we can find. While we're getting to know the locals, we gain insight into these areas then pass on that knowledge to our subscribers. We truly enjoy traversing long, beautiful back-country routes with epic campsites, but we equally enjoy pushing the limits on challenging rock crawling trails. Our rig was built to do everything, and that's what we hope to share with our subscribers. Please visit our website https://www.xploremor.net to follow us and for opportunities to join us on our adventures. You can also view our vast video library on YouTube. Xploremor YouTube
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