Fins and Things is almost entirely on slickrock or very sandy dirt. A few of the climbs are aggravated by a loose sand approach, with the sand being deep or shallow. Please remember to stay on the marked route and follow the one-way signs, as vehicles are allowed only on designated roads within the Sand Flats Recreation Area. This trail can be accomplished by most 4x4 vehicles, and most more challenging obstacles have a bypass.
Following the trail:
Fins and Things is a two-stage trail. Stage 1 is on the south side of Sand Flats Road and is one-way travel, whereas stage 2 is on the north side of Sand Flats Road. Once finishing stage 1, you will travel east on Sand Flats Road for a short distance to reach the stage 2 trailhead. The entrances and exits do change from time to time but are well-signed. Always follow the signage versus the GPX in the event of trail alignment changes. The trail is marked with painted dinosaur (stegosaur) symbols or stripes. If you are uncertain about the direction of the trail on slickrock, follow the black marks and white paint.
Fins and Things is located within the Sand Flats Recreations Area and managed through a partnership between Grand County and the BLM. All 4X4s, ATVs, motorcycles, and bikes must remain on designated roads and trails. There are no open play areas within Sand Flats. Penalties for violations of trail use can include, among other things, forfeiture of vehicle. Please Stay on the trail! Remember, indiscriminate vehicle tracks represent the theft of beauty that you came here to see.
There is a fee to use this recreation area. The fee is $5.00 a day or $10.00 a week per vehicle. You can also purchase an annual pass for $25.00. There is a pay station at the Sand Flats Recreation Area entrance.
Avoid when ice and or snow are present.
1. Fins and Things Trailhead (0 mi)
Stay on the Sand Flats Road for two more miles, and turn right into Campsite Cluster E. The trail starts to the right of campsite #6. You will find the start of the trail easily, and it is well marked.
You are forced to climb your first slickrock formation almost immediately, and it seems a little daunting. Just follow the black marks from past vehicles to the top. Note: If you don't air down your tires to between 8-15 lbs. you may experience some tire yelping as you climb the fins on this trail. Using your 4x4 low range and aired-down tires will make this seem effortless, and your vehicle will thank you.
Another steep climb with a couple of different bypasses.
4. Steep Climb with Bypass (0.9 mi)
This more minor obstacle is made a little trickier with uneven shelving thrown in. There is a bypass to the left.
This uphill section is the steepest yet/with about a 55-degree incline. It helps the driver have a spotter as seeing where you are going is almost impossible at this angle. Slow and steady on the gas, let the tires find their traction points; you might encounter some tire yelping. There is a bypass to the right, but give it a try if you have a ground guide.
6. Another Hill Climb (2.6 mi)
This one is fun, a little longer than the last, but navigable without a guide. You will then proceed down into a Campground called "Loop H" and then out to "Sand Hill Flats Road" to head for stage 2 of this trail.
7. Sand Flats Road - Turn Right (2.7 mi)
Here you will intersect back further up "Sand Hill Flats Road." Make a right turn and go about .6 miles to continue. The trail starts again on the left.
Note: This is a "one-way" trail system; you cannot go back the way you came.
8. Trail Entrance - Stage II (3.1 mi)
This is the entrance to continue on Fins and Things, Stage II.
9. Very Mini Lion's Back (3.2 mi)
Here you will be on top of a "Mini Lions-back" with a 50-degree downgrade and very steep 60-70 degree side drops. The key here is just to follow the tire tracks, be in Low-1 and allow the transmission and braking to bring you down. For those with "Descent Assist," this is a perfect place to use this feature and relieve some anxious feelings.
10. Porcupine Rim Trailhead (4.2 mi)
Here you will encounter a T - intersection. The trail coming in from the left is another entrance to Fins and Things from the Porcupine Rim 4x4 trail. Turn left here to stay on the trail.
This spot was given a Waypoint for its spectacular views in all directions. Stretch the legs and grab your photographs!
12. Tricky Descent (5 mi)
This obstacle is made a little scary with a 1- 2-foot ledge at the end. Careful braking at the drop makes it pretty easy. Don't forget about your rear tires; slow and cautious will keep your tail-pipe from becoming a "duck-call." There is a bypass if you stay to the left, but come on, give her a try!
13. Intersection - Overlook Spur (5.5 mi)
This intersection is with an interior trail that leads out to an overlook for pictures. Stay to the right and up the hill.
14. Early Exit to Sand Flats Road (5.6 mi)
This trail intersection takes you back out onto Sand Flats Road if you want an early bail-out point. For the brave…..stay right.
15. Hill Climb/Elbow Right (5.7 mi)
This hill climb is long and steep, with an elbow turn to the right. It looks more challenging than it really is. Stay on the tracks that have been made on the rock and hang on. Again slow and steady on the gas.
16. Scenic Overlook (5.7 mi)
This Waypoint was put in for its beauty in all directions—another excellent place for pictures of the area.
17. Hill Climb with Shelves on Top (5.8 mi)
This hill climb seems tough but no worse than what you've already accomplished. Keep gentle and even pressure on the gas and let the tires and gearing work for you.
18. Brontosaurus Rock (6.6 mi)
Brontosaurus Rock is a rock formation that looks like a dinosaur; it is very interesting, to say the least. There are other beautiful gully pics, and the possibility to explore on foot is always there.
19. Optional Hill Climb (6.9 mi)
This hill climb has a slight ledge. The trick to this is to keep momentum, so your back wheels bump up and over in a smooth fashion. If your back tires get caught on the ledge and do not go over, your fronts will pull you to the left or right: which is what you do not want to happen. Just back down and try again with a little more even and steady momentum to get the rears up and over safely.
The bypass is to the left if you don't want to chance it.
20. Steep Descent (7.3 mi)
This hill descent has about a 2-foot drop at the end. Just carefully let yourself down, and don't forget to be gentle to the back wheels as well.
21. Scenic Overlook (7.4 mi)
Another place for the spectacular views.
22. Scenic Descent (7.7 mi)
This is a long slow descent over several fins and makes a perfect picture if you are following others down this section.
23. Skinny Bridge (7.8 mi)
This section looks scary until you realize that the rock is not loose on either side of the bridge-looking formation. Just stay centered and go slow. If you are driving a vehicle with a wider stance, this might be a little tougher because your tires will go low on both sides of this narrow bridge. Please use a ground guide and be careful.
24. Kenny's Climb (8.2 mi)
This is the last steep climb on the trail and is known as Kenny's Climb. The bypass is straight ahead and loops around to the top of this climb. It looks a lot steeper than it is.
25. Fins and Things End (9.2 mi)
This is the end of the trail. Turn right back onto Sand Flats Road; It's just a few miles back to where you started.