High Desert, Moonshine Arch
22 mile loop
3,179 total gain
We took 5.5 hours with four ATV's with plenty of stops to look at the scenery as well as lunch and climbing around at Moonshine Arch.
Bring plenty of water. There will be none along the way and the area can get very hot on sunny days.
Spring, Summer, Fall
Very little shade is available. At the top of Red Mountain you will be in some trees if you need a shade break.
This trail is a fairly rough 4x4 trail that has several ledges and areas that would not be good for beginning riders or drivers
At trail head
Nearby at Steinaker State Park
Yes as passengers. The trail is not suitable for beginning riders.
Red Mountain Trail Head:40.51091 N, 109.57448 W
Moonshine Arch:40.55603 N, 109.54599W
Red Mountain is a great off road trail located just outside of Vernal, Utah. This is open to anyone but is most popular with ATV’s, UTV’s, and Jeepers. The area makes a great half day to full day ride. The trail head has a large parking lot with a bathroom.
Be sure to pick up a map of the area in Vernal. We went in a clockwise direction. The trail starts out in the wide open desert and isn’t overly scenic for the first few miles. Don’t worry though, it gets much better.
There are a few sandy steep hills that can present problems but they are all very doable.
As the trail begins to climb you will begin to enter the junipers.
The trail progressively gets worse the further you go.
You will soon reach the highest part of the trail that is also about the half way point. There is a good view point across the valley that is a great spot for lunch.
Shortly after the view point you will come to an old cabin that is cool to see.
If you have been overly nervous getting to the cabin this would be a good spot to return the way you came. the worst parts of the trail come up very soon. They are a lot of fun but definitely not for beginner riders. There are several ledges where on an ATV having a little partner assistance can be helpful and there are some drops that are also turns. Go slow and be safe and you should be just fine. The video at the end of the trek will show these a little better than a photo can.
There are some very interesting mushroom formations right on the trail.
As you drop off the back side of the mountain you will get great views of the valley below you and Steinaker Reservoir.
You will see the signs marking the short side road to see Moonshine Arch that is located in the sandstone across the valley.
The arch is also a popular hiking destination so be respectful of others you run in to. The arch is 85 feet long and 40 feet tall. You can also easily hike to the top.
From here you will want to return to the main road and complete the loop back to your vehicle.
Here is a video of our ride at Red Mountain.
This is a really fun trail that offers some good variety of terrain and scenery. Its well worth a trip to ride this area coupled with other trails in the nearby Uinta Mountains.