Pritchett Canyon – rating 10 (escorted)
Pritchett Canyon is becoming more difficult every year and even a well-equipped machine may have great difficulty in completing the trail. Rollovers and broken parts are very common, and there are no easy bypasses.
Good spotting, experienced drivers with modified machines are required as even they will be tested.
Pritchett Canyon driver and machine requirements are:
It is highly recommended that you bring a spare belt, front and rear spare axle, and two spare ball joints.
If you can take your eyes off the obstacles long enough, you’ll find a splendidly beautiful narrow canyon.
While in the canyon, the views are of the steep canyon walls, large side-canyon pour-offs, and a pool-speckled creek bottom. Pritchett Arch, Window Arch, and some smaller spans are visible from the trail.
The trail follows the bouldery creek bottom at first but then climbs onto ledge routes on a mixture of rock layers and dirt. The major obstacles are several forms of bedrock now exposed after erosion of the early roadway.
Obstacle 1: Just a few hundred yards into the trail there is a ledgy downhill that got so bad Grand County graded it with heavy equipment a few years ago. It is starting to deteriorate again, so care should be taken on the descent.
Obstacle 2: After passing a small mud hole caused by a seasonal spring the trail drops into the drainage. The “Brickyard” is the name of the climb back out. Several options are available, none of which are easy.
Obstacle 3: Chewy Hill is the next challenge. Once a graded dugway, it has eroded to become a major challenge. It is slippery and very off-camber, with numerous medium to large ledges that must be driven up.
Obstacle 4: Approaching Rocker Knocker, there is a sizable slickrock area. There is an optional obstacle, to the right called “The Waterfall” that can be tricky if it is wet.
Obstacle 5: Next up is Rocker Knocker. This double ledge requires the perfect line, and a successful climb will usually push a rig to the brink of tipping over. It is next to impossible if wet. Broken parts and tip-overs are common here.
Obstacle 6: Next up is an unnamed hill that resembles a 30-foot wide staircase. A bypass to the left can be easier, but there is a large rock that must be driven over.
Obstacle 7: Axle Hill waits just a few yards up the trail. This hill starts in the wash bottom and climbs out in two stages. The first part is very slippery and is the site of many rollovers. The second part is very steep, as well as ledgy and off-camber.
Obstacle 8: The famous Rock Pile is next. It is an 8′ ledge that at once had rocks stacked 2/3 of the way up. The rocks are all gone now, and the ledge regularly triumphs over some of the best rigs. A bypass we began calling Son of Rock Pile requires constant rock stacking and even then may require a winch line.
Obstacle 9: the last obstacle is Yellow Hill.
Additional Notes: Pritchett Canyon was named a B.F. Goodrich Outstanding Trail in 2008, and is noted for its spectacular scenery as well as the hardcore challenges. Due to its popularity and difficulty, the trail has seen more than its fair share of damage over the years. Many hours are spent performing maintenance every year, but the thoughtless actions of some users that create significant abuse adds to this maintenance burden. Help us keep this trail open by staying on the trail, and never create new bypasses or obstacles.