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Thread: Clay Hills Road aka Wild Horse Road

  1. #1

    Clay Hills Road aka Wild Horse Road

    This road connects Goblin Valley with Factory Butte/North Caineville Reef on dirt. Sometimes it is called Wild Horse Road. As far as I know not that often traveled by people from outside the region. We heard about, have experienced some difficulties making it not always feasible to use it.

    This time we started at the Goblin Valley end. The road goes right a short distance before the Goblin Valley Visitor Center (at 12S 0525310 4270340). Wild Horse Butte is to the left, the road is paved for the next 5 Miles. We knew the road 20 years ago as unimproved and this was much more impressive than today. Reason for pavement are the slots from Bell and Little Wild Horse Canyon.

    Wild Horse Butte

    Skirting the base of the San Rafael Reef there is another trail down Wild Horse Canyon down to the Muddy Creek. It starts immediately west of Wild Horse Butte at 12S 0522750 4269590.

    Wild Horse Butte and Canyon where the trail mentioned above can be found.

    To the right San Rafael Reef with a number of canyons, some slot-like.

    There might be slot canyons

    Not far away from the parking lot at Bell- and Little Wild Horse Canyon

    After these Canyons the road becomes much more interesting. It is a good road but dirt. At 12S 0515520 4269610 it turns south into lower Little Wild Horse Canyon. This slotless stretch runs for several Miles down to Muddy Creek. Might be that it can be traveled by 4WD? The main road leves the Canyon after 3 Miles.

    Middle Wild Horse Mesa

    In Little Wild Horse Canyon

    Rocks with an unusual texture

    Remarkable kerf in Little Wild Horse Canyon

    At 12S 0515210 4266480 a lesser spur leads to the left following the wash. This is the wrong one, it might be a dead end even if maps show some othe spurs on top of Middle Wild Horse Mesa.

    Looking north at the intersection in LWHC. Left is the main road.

    Climbing out of LWHC onto Wittle Wild Horse Mesa

    No need for a Wrangler

    A first glimpse of the badlands yet to come


    ....and a little arch besides the road

    Clay Hills and Henry Mountains

    More clay, Skyline Rim and Factory Butte - dark as often seen

    On a spur ending after .3 Miles

    Clay Hills Road

    More flowers:

    Clay Hills

    Different colors

    Still on Clay Hills Road traveling in direction of Muddy Creek and the ford:

    Clay Hills Road

    Such V-shaped trenches are typical for clay

    Clay, Factory Butte, Henry Mountains

    Looking towards Muddy Creek

    V-shaped again

    Crazy coloring

    Clay and the San Rafael Reef

    Nearly white

    Clay Hills Road

    White kerf

    Texture of dry clay surface

    Some color banding

    The whole view

    Skyline Rim in a distance, Henry Mountains

    Badland colors

    A larger braided wash

    East of Muddy Creek

    Clay Hills and San Rafael Reef

    Spring flowers on gray soil

    Clay Hills Road is impassable whe wet, but in the vicinity of the Muddy Creek Ford things can become even more troublesome. Fording the river is not only a question of runoff at the given time it ist also depending on the level within the last days.

    There are a bunch of spurs leading to different points at the banks and most of the are not that good. An old picture example :

    The best and easiest place is driving to the west until 12S 0508368 4264597. On the left there is a place with smooth banks on both sides of Muddy Creek. Try this!

    High runoff will soak the banks making them impassable due to the fact they are clay and ashes too. Even after some days and a dry looking surface there might be trouble. Underneath the clay can be wet let a vehicle sink into it. We have had such a situation this year in in May. No chance to cross!

    Sorry, there are no good pictures out of 2013 from the river itself!

    On the southwestern clay bank

    Sometimes one needs a break

    The Cliffs of Factory Bench

    Flowers on clay

    To the north the Moroni Slopes (Part of the Reef)

    Reef, Clay and Ash?

    The road ends - by name - where it climbs up to Factory Bench. (Road on the right)

    From this point one can travel over Factory Bench to State Road 24. This stretch is called Coal Mine Road. Anothe dead end trail leads to Salt Wash north of North Caineville Reef.

  2. Likes Sandstone Addiction, oldno7, Sombeech liked this post
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  4. #2
    Cool, I've never been past Ding and Dang canyons.

  5. #3
    Nice trip report. That area continues to be a photogenic place to visit. :)

  6. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Sombeech View Post
    Cool, I've never been past Ding and Dang canyons.
    It's definitely worth a try but always keep in mind in dry conditions only due to the clay.

    Quote Originally Posted by txoutdoorx4 View Post
    Nice trip report. That area continues to be a photogenic place to visit. :)
    It is a part of a larger photogenic area too.

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