Mineral Bottom

Mineral Bottom, a wild road in Utah

Mineral Bottom is a 16 miles trail, located in Grand County, Utah (USA), drivable 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.

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. 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. 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.

The road is also known as Horse Thief Trail. It has some steep sections, with a maximum gradient of 21%. 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. July and August are the hottest months and afternoon thunderstorms are common during this period. Best to avoid riding up this road midday in summer. Bring all the water you need.
Pic: J Calvert