Location & Directions
Good Water Rim Trail is located North of Interstate 70 in San Rafael Swell, Utah. It’s a 64 miles drive from town of Green River with half of the travel on highway and the rest on well established dirt road. To get to the trail, head on I-70 to exit #131 then exit North to Buckhorn Draw Road (Co Rd 332). The drive through the canyons is a treat in itself. You’ll experience great views, get the ideas for camping location and visit ancient petroglyphs. After exiting canyons (29 miles from I-70) turn left to Wedge Cutoff, drive for 1.8 miles then turn left to Wedge Road (Co Rd 405). In 1.2 miles continue left on Wedge Road until you see the kiosk with area information (1.1 miles from last turn). If you follow Lower Wedge Road on your left (Co Rd 407) you’ll find numerous parking options with nice desert views.
To get to the single track, hop on your bike, ride back to the kiosk and continue on the double track for 2.4 miles until you hit the overlook with stunning views of The Utah’s Little Grand Canyon. When you get your senses back take left and continue along the canyon’s rim for 1.2 miles to another left turn. If you find yourself at the next overlook with nowhere to go, then you missed the turn. While going down the rough double track, within 0.3 miles look for not so well defined start of the single track on your right. Time to salivate.
Character: The trail hugs the the rim of Good Water Canyon and follows all its little side drainages presenting the rider with great views again and again. It is a great cross-country ride, however closer to the end, when amazement wears out, the lack of challenges makes it a bit monotonous.
Length: The total length of the ride is about 20 miles with 7 miles on the double track road.
Layout: Good Water Rim Trail is a loop with the bailout option right in the middle. Done counter-clockwise as described above, the ride starts with easy uphill grade and ends with nice downhill trend on the double track.
Surface: Dirt of mineral origin and loose rock.
Technical Difficulty: Beginner. The trail is not technically challenging: there are numerous turns and several one-footer lifts. Increased speed can add to excitement where lacking.
Aerobic Difficulty: Beginner to intermediate. The canyon rim is pretty much leveled so there is practically no elevation change across all of the single track. The road has a bit of the climb, enough to warm-up, but not to get the heart rate up. On the other side, the length of the ride will make it tempting for some riders to bail mid-way.
Navigation: Good Water Rim Trail is relatively new and not very well defined in places. It is easy to miss the beginning of the single track. On the trail there are alternative lines around the trees which eventually merge. When in doubt please take time to figure out the official line instead of contributing to the problem. In some places single track merges into the old roads. Those are rather short sections so keep looking for the exit as soon as you get on the double track. In general when presented with the choice always keep right while on the rim and always keep left while on the road… or use GPS track below.
Dangers: Exposure – there’s always a healthy distance from the trail to the cliffs, but nothing prevents riders from getting closer. Watch your step while taking those pictures. Weather – check the forecast and be prepared for surprises. San Rafael Swell has impressive lightning storms that can bring more excitement than most are comfortable with. Getting out of the area can also be problematic if it starts raining. Flash floods are real danger. If it rained recently give it a day or two, the mud can get very sticky and ruin your fun. And the usual: make sure you have plenty of water, food, layers, tools and parts.
Bike: I wouldn’t ride hard tail on anything but pavement, but Good Water Rim is not as punishing for the “suspension challenged” as some other rides. Also single-speed folk will enjoy this one. Bottom line is: bring what you have.
Crowds: San Rafael Swell is too remote to be crowded. You’ll see some touristy types on Suburbans connecting with the nature at the overlook. Also there are several camping grounds on the trail where double track gets close to the rim. Those can be occupied, otherwise it’s quiet all the way.
There are several BLM camping grounds up the Buckhorn Draw road and countless alternatives. If you choose to camp outside of established places pay attention to signage be and respectful to the desert.
The weather is best in spring and fall. Summers are quite hot. Winter may be okay for cold weather riding enthusiast. As always watch the forecast and be prepared.
The first GPS track is for getting from Interstate I-70 to the parking area.
The track below for the actual ride including double track to and from the rim and single track around the rim.
Please post your questions and comments about Good Water Rim Trail in the section below: