Burr Trail

Burr Trail is an unforgettable scenic drive in Utah

Burr Trail is the name of a very scenic drive in the Capitol Reef National Park of Utah, in USA. Although in dry weather it's easily accessible to passenger cars, wet weather may make the road impassable even for 4WD vehicles. It’s one of the famous hairpinned roads in the world.

How long is the Burr Trail in Utah?

Tucked away in Garfield County, in south central Utah, the road is 106km (66.2 miles) long, running from Bullfrog (Highway 276), at the north end of Lake Powell, to Boulder (Highway 12). It is typically quiet, with little or no traffic. From Boulder to the west boundary of Capitol Reef, the road is paved. Inside the park it remains a graded dirt road, which can be very washboardy and rough. Get gas before you drive it (in Bullfrog, Ticaboo or Boulder).

Is Burr Trail Road scary?

Originally a cattle trail, the route is named after John Atlantic Burr (a 19th century Mormon settler). Although from spring to fall during dry conditions is easily accessible to passenger cars, wet weather may make the road impassable even for 4WD vehicles. Check with rangers or local officials for weather and road conditions. Recreational vehicles and trailers are not recommended. Be sure to pack plenty of water and the supplies you’ll need for the trip, because despite the road’s beauty, it’s fairly remote and access to cell phone service is unlikely. Flash floods happen in an instant here. A storm can appear out of nowhere, sending water flooding into a canyon. One of the highlights of the trip is the Burr Trail Switchbacks, a very steep series of switchbacks over the far side of the Waterpocket Fold that may be quite testing for some, rising some 800 feet (244 m) in only one-half mile (0.8 km).

When is the best time to drive the Burr Trail?

Spring and fall are ideal times to explore this area. Temperatures are mild and hiking is pleasant. Daytime temperatures can become very hot during summer. Winter days are often mild. Wet weather can close this road during any month of the year. There are many dispersed camping areas along the road.

How long does it take to drive the Burr Trail?

Plan about 2.5 to 3 hours to complete the drive without any stop. However, the drive will take longer as the entire route is very scenic. It passes through the painted rock country of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, Capitol Reef National Park, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument land. It takes the traveller into some of Utah's most beautiful and extraordinary country. It affords extraordinary views of the Henry Mountains and lower Capital Reef country. It provides access to incredible hikes in contorted landscape like The Gulch, The Circle Cliffs and the Waterpocket Fold. Views of the Henry Mountains, the colorfully contorted Waterpocket Fold, red Circle Cliffs, and Long Canyon all await the traveler who wishes to drive this interesting back road. Numerous hikes and side trips are available for those with the time and inclination.
Pic: Kevin Matejovsky

 

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