Location & Directions
Devil’s Racetrack is located North of Interstate 70 in San Rafael Swell, Utah about 30 miles West from town of Green River. To get to the trail drive on I-70 to exit 131 and exit South to Temple Mountain Road. Follow the road for about 4 miles and take right turn. Take another right after 1.1 miles. Keep straight for 1.7 miles then turn right again. In 0.9 miles keep right, from there it’s 1.3 miles to the small tunnel under the interstate. Park somewhere in proximity. For anxiety free travel use GPS file in this post. If you choose to drive further then DON’T FORGET about bike racks or topper which you may lose to low clearance of the tunnel. And just for the record this last warning is not based on my own experience.
Length: Riding from highway to where the trail is about to turn into sandy hell and back is about 14 miles total.
Layout: Devil’s Racetrack is out and back with return surprisingly more fun than anticipated. Your experience may vary.
Surface: The part from highway to the kiosk signifying the start of the trail is double track covered with sand and chewed by ATVs. It’s not as bad if it rained recently, otherwise you’ll appreciate fatter tires and strong legs… or nice views and shoes full of sand. The core of the ride is 4×4 wide ledgy slick rock, packed dirt double track and small sand patches.
Technical Difficulty: Except for two quite challenging spots worthy of advanced skill, the ride is good for intermediate rider.
Aerobic Difficulty: The ride involves healthy accent on the way back (about 750 ft over the distance of 4.7 miles) with some technical lifts and ledge negotiations. That’s after experiencing sand on the approach and the ride down. The rider of intermediate aerobic endurance should be able to enjoy the trail at reasonable pace.
Navigation: It’s hard to get lost on this trail. In most places the alternative to following the established route is a fight with the vegetation or fall off the cliff. Still, there are signs every now and then.
Dangers: Exposure – the trail is always far enough from cliffs, but it doesn’t stop people from testing their limits. The heights are such that there will be nothing to evacuate. Weather – it changes fast. Light rain may be a good news on a hot day, but there is nowhere to hide from lightning (this one is from own experience). Also flash flood can take your 4 wheeled friend away from you or at least make road to interstate more epic than your bike ride. On the section near the bottom where high banked turns make you go fast be prepared for surprise erosion in the trail. And finally have enough water, it’s a dry country and light backpack with miles of climbing ahead makes you feel very vulnerable.
Bike: All mountain optimally, cross country will do. Hard tail or single speed for those seeking the character building experience.
Crowds: San Rafael Swell is quite remote location, but very popular with “octane assisted travelers”. You’re likely to encounter some minor ATV or motorcycle traffic especially during the weekend. You’ll hear them far ahead and usually they move slow so other trail users are not much of the nuisance.
Camping locations are plentiful in the Swell both South and North of interstate. Just take the road and look for a nice spot. There are several BLM camping grounds up the Buckhorn Draw road North off exit 131. That’s also where you’ll find more than 2000 years old Buckhorn Wash pictograph panel.
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. You don’t want to get caught in any extremes.
The GPX file below offers the tracks for getting from exit 131 to the parking location as well as track from there past Dutchman Arch and along the Devil’s Racetrack. The trail continues further at the bottom, but the person familiar with the area said that the rest of it isn’t much of interest for mountain bikers.
Please post your questions and notes about Devil’s Racetrack in comments section: