Eagle Canyon, Utah Offroad FAIL

I had a weekend trip planned in Utah’s San Rafael Swell. Three days of some of the most scenic offroad trails on earth and three nights camping and photographing the Milky Way.

I was going to enter the Swell on Temple Mountain Road and go to Swasey’s Cabin, then take Eagle Canyon Trail to Eva Connover Trail and from there to a huge network of trails through deep canyons, around large red mesas, and past abandoned mines and ghost towns.

As I drove I-70 from Denver to the San Rafael Swell, there was snow from the Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado all the way to Green River in Utah. As soon as I got off of Interstate 70 and onto Temple Mountain Road there was snow. Everything was covered with a couple of inches of snow. The snow was no problem for my FJ, but it made a light coating of slick mud that covered everything. I explored the historic Swasey Cabin a little bit and then headed down through the snow into Eagle Canyon.

I got about halfway down the shelf road into the canyon when I was stopped by a large bolder that fell in a recent landslide. I probably could have slipped around the boulder or moved it out of the way with my winch or a tow strap, but I was worried that if I got right on the edge of the shelf the trail would give way there and I’d create a new landslide as I rolled into the canyon below. Just ahead of the large boulder in the trail was a washed-out, eroded section of trail that had already given way to the right of me, which was downhill. I decided to play it safe and turn around. The area I was in was filled with amazing trails, I didn’t have to risk everything on this one.

What do you think – did I make the right decision to bail out, or did I wuss out? Let me know in the comments below.

Snow at the Copper Mountain Ski Resort in Colorado.
Snow in Glenwood Canyon, Colorado.
The Swasey Cabin
The boulder that blocked the Eagle Canyon Trail.