Pritchett Canyon Trail

Behind The Rocks Wilderness Study Area, Utah

Elevation Gain2,550ft
Trailhead Elevation3,975ft
Elevation Min/Max3974/4808ft
Elevation Start/End3975/3975ft

Pritchett Canyon Trail

Pritchett Canyon Trail is a hiking, biking, and horse trail in Grand County and San Juan County, Utah. It is within Behind The Rocks Wilderness Study Area. It is 5.8 miles long and begins at 3,975 feet altitude. Traveling the entire trail is 11.7 miles with a total elevation gain of 2,550 feet. This trail connects with the following: Behind The Rocks Trail.

Pritchett Canyon Trail Professional Reviews and Guides

"You get a little bit of everything on the Pritchett Canyon tour, including a generous amount of descending. Located 13 miles south of Moab, this route circles around the Behind the Rocks Wilderness Study Area and then descends a rock-walled canyon to the Colorado River. Early on, you’ll cross grass pastures and pass seductive Prostitute Butte and showy Picture Frame Arch. Spur roads lead you to overlooks of Kane Springs Canyon and distant Hurrah Pass before a rollicking descent takes you to the WSA boundary bordering Pritchett Canyon.

A short hike leads to spacious seating at the Pritchett Arch bistro where you can enjoy a mid-route snack among deep canyons and sandstone domes that bubble up all over. The route culminates with a wide-eyed descent through a notch in upper Pritchett Canyon called White Knuckle Hill, followed by miles of an old Euro-style cobblestone track through lower Pritchett to the Colorado River corridor. The route begins with 11 miles of sand and gravel roads that are best suited for high-clearance vehicles. Thereafter, the road degrades to sand, rock, cobble, and bedrock doubletracks that can stymie even the most resolute four wheel drive."

"This trail is best known for its toughest obstacle—The Rock Pile—a gigantic ledge with no bypass. It gets its name from rocks piled at its base to make it easier. Unfortunately, the rocks get thrown out quickly by spinning tires. Vehicles with very large tires and a long wheel base have the best chance of getting up unaided. Most vehicles require a winch. Broken axles are common, usually the result of macho drivers who refuse to give up. Considered by many to be the toughest four miles in all of Moab. (Other trails have more difficult individual obstacles—Behind the Rocks’ White Knuckle Hill and High Dive are two that come to mind.)

I’ve driven Pritchett Canyon several times, always with a large group. It’s rare not to have at least one or two vehicles with major breakdowns. If you have any weak points in your vehicle, this trail will likely expose them. Differential lockers and/or winches are basic requirements. Surprisingly, route-finding is not too difficult. The canyon is narrow so you can’t stray far. Spur roads dead end quickly. Once out of the canyon, roads are fairly well-defined, although you have to follow directions carefully because there are many spurs."

"Pritchett Canyon, lined with cottonwoods, winds between towering sandstone walls through a region beset with geologic wonders and prehistoric relics. Technical treasures lie in wait beneath a picturesque veil for riders to discover. Tears of joy will flow when you think back on every facet of this jewel."

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Trail Information

Behind The Rocks Wilderness Study Area
Nearby City
Behind The Rocks Wilderness Study Area
USGS Moab, Trough Springs
Local Maps

Activity Feed

Sep 2018