Mineral Bottom is a 16 miles trail, located in Grand County, Utah (USA), driveable all year round. On August 19th, 2010, severe storms caused flash flooding and rock falls that blocked or washed away roads throughout the Canyonlands area. There is little room for error on this road. It's normal for your palms to sweat looking at those photos.
Suitable for high-clearance two-wheel-drive vehicles when dry, the unpaved sections of the road can be impassable when wet. In any case, driving 4WD is recommended due to uneven surface. When is wet, the road can be impassable, especially on the switchbacks that descend into the river valley. Avoid this road if it's wet. If it rains while you’re at the bottom, wait an hour or two until the road dries. Route-finding is extremely easy.
The road is in dreadful condition and requires strong nerves to negotiate it. It's a wide county road that drops rapidly to the Green River on spectacular switchbacks to a pleasant drive along the river’s edge. Mineral Bottom road provides access to the western half of the White Rim Trail inside Canyonlands National Park.
This track can get very muddy and slippery after rain making it challenging to get through. During and after a storm the road may be impassable, even with a four-wheel-drive vehicle. One of the more dramatic washouts occurred on the Mineral Bottom Road switchbacks, where significant portions of the road were obliterated. This damage caused the closure of the road, affecting anyone attempting to travel the White Rim Road in a loop or planning river trips that launch or take-out at Mineral Bottom. On March 29, 2011, the Mineral Bottom road was open and passable again, making a full White Rim loop possible again.
Do not travel this pass in severe weather conditions. Avalanches, heavy snowfalls and landslides can occur anytime, being extremely dangerous due to frequent patches of ice. It has a well-deserved reputation for being dangerous because of unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards, and driving under these conditions, can be extremely challenging. Though this is a fairly easy trail when dry, it can be very dangerous if the trail is wet. The switchbacks are steep and near the edge, and the road gets slick if it has been raining or snowing. Conditions can change quickly and be harsh.
Your wheels will be astounded at the wonderful views of the mountains spread out before you! They are terrible for drivers who are prone to vertigo. In many places the road is bordered by a drop of hundreds of meters (many hundreds of feet) unprotected by guardrails.
Pic: J Calvert