Overview

Located in Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, this adventurous route follows the Wolverine Loop 4WD road offering a great opportunity for a family mountain biking adventure with vehicle support. Much like the famous White Rim Trail in nearby Canyonlands National Park, the Wolverine Loop offers outstanding desert scenery along with excellent camping opportunities, but with far more solitude. With vehicle support, this trail is suitable for mountain bikers of all ages and skill levels.

Trailhead

The Wolverine Loop begins on the Burr Trail. To reach the Wolverine Loop from Highway 12 in Boulder, Utah:

  1. Turn east onto the Burr Trail and continue 18.4 miles to the signed junction with the Wolverine Road on the right.
  2. Turn right onto the Wolverine Road.

There is room near the junction to park and unload bicycles before continuing south on the Wolverine Road. If you are doing a vehicle-supported trip, you can leave any extra vehicles at this junction. If you are parking vehicles and riding the trail without support, you may choose to shuttle a vehicle to the east end of the Wolverine Road before starting the ride. To do so, continue 10.5 miles east on the Burr Trail to the signed junction with the east end of the Wolverine Road. You may also choose to simply ride the 10.5 miles back on the paved road to complete the loop.

The Wolverine Road often becomes impassable during and after storms. Do not attempt this route if significant precipitation is in the forecast or if flooding has recently occurred. Check with the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center at 755 W Main Street in Escalante, or call (435) 826-5499 for current road conditions before beginning your trip.

The Route

Begin riding south on the Wolverine Road. The road is typically fast and smooth throughout the first section, however conditions may vary depending on recent storms and when the road was last graded. After approximately 4.0 miles, the road begins to cross through the bottom of the wash in Horse Canyon. Unless the road was just graded, expect steep cut banks and rougher terrain where the road drops into and exits the wash bottom.

After approximately 5.3 miles, the road turns southeast out of Horse Canyon (37.85056,-111.22352). There may be tracks continuing down Horse Canyon, but you should not follow them. The correct route leaves the wash on the left and is usually clear and easy to follow, but after storms the track may be less clear. Use a GPS and map to ensure you are on the right track.

Keep riding as the trail winds through the desert offering stunning views of the Circle Cliffs ahead. After approximately 10.0 miles, a junction is encountered for Wolverine Canyon. This is the elevation low point of the route and a good place to stop and take a break before starting the next climb. If you have the time and energy, a trailhead here provides access to the Wolverine Petrified Wood area where you can see a plethora of ancient petrified wood, including large sections of ancient tree trunks. The entire area is well-known for being rich in petrified wood so even if you don’t take the hike, you may still see some along the way.

Continue riding on the road as it begins to climb out of Wolverine Canyon. The next 2.5 miles are some of the most scenic and interesting of the route. This is also one of the better areas to find a primitive campsite if you are spending the night in the area. As you climb the trail, several small slot canyons become visible on the left. If you have the time, hop off the bike and do some exploring in this interesting area.

Soon the road turns back downhill for a fast, flowing ride down to the junction with Little Death Hollow, another great slot canyon hike. Keep riding as the trail turns east. Stay right at a minor junction and then continue following the trail as it turns south, skirting along the base of the Circle Cliffs.

After approximately 16.5 miles from the start of the ride, the road begins to ascend through a ledgy area with expansive views of the area. Use caution as the road has sheer drops on one side as you work your way through the convoluted desert landscape.

At 19.3 miles the road intersects with the Moody Road. Turn left toward the Burr Trail and continue riding. For the next 8.2 miles, the road heads north through a pinyon and juniper forest. After approximately 27.5 miles, the Wolverine Loop ends at the paved Burr Trail. If you have vehicle support or shuttled a vehicle, the ride ends here, otherwise turn left and ride an additional 10.5 miles on the Burr Trail to return to the start of the Wolverine Road.

Rules & Regulations

Stay on designated trails.

Clean up after pets.

Pack out all trash.

Special Considerations

Mountain biking can be a dangerous activity. Ensure your equipment is properly maintained and appropriate for the terrain. Be sure to wear appropriate safety gear including a helmet.

Credits

This trail guide is provided by Backcountry Post.