Pucker Pass, a steep unpaved road in Utah
Pucker Pass is a high mountain pass at an elevation of 1.783m (5,849ft) above the sea level, located in Grand County, in eastern Utah, in the western United States. The road to the summit is truly dangerous. High-clearance 4WDs are recommended, but any high-clearance vehicle is acceptable.
Located in the Sky district of the Canyonlands National Park, just north of Moab, the road to the summit is unpaved. It’s called Long Canyon Road. Expect a rough road surface; mud and sand are possible but will be easily passable. The majority of this trail is pretty smooth, however, there are a few bumpy sections; especially when you head through Pucker Pass where it gets both narrow and bumpy. It’s a wide gravel road except through Pucker Pass where it is narrow and steep. Except when damaged by heavy rain, this road is suitable for stock 4-wheel-drive vehicles. Expect outstanding views from top to bottom.
The drive is pretty steep. Starting from UT-279, the ascent is 6.9km (4,3 miles) long. Over this distance the elevation gain is 577 meters. The average gradient is 8.36%. The drive offers great views of Long Canyon and the La Sal Mountains. Open all year weather permitting, do not travel this road in severe weather conditions. Best done when dry. After heavy rainstorms, Pucker Pass may be more difficult. Uphill travel has the right of way, but not everyone knows this. Use common sense and caution when passing other vehicles. It was named Pucker Pass by some imaginative Jeepers back in the days when a drive down the canyon was a lot more hair-raising than it is now. You may encounter rocks up to 6 inches in diameter, a loose road surface, and shelf roads, though these will be wide enough for passing or will have adequate pull-offs.
Pic: John Carter