Summary: The 9+ rated Pritchett Canyon trail is one of the toughest in the Moab area. Most of its most difficult obstacles have no bypasses and the trail is getting even more difficult every year. Pritchett Canyon is deep, steep walled and beautiful.
Location: Pritchett Canyon is just a short drive southwest of Moab along the east bank of the Colorado River. It lies south of the Moab Rim trail with the Behind the Rocks Wilderness Study Area between it and the Moab Rim face that dominates the Moab landscape to the southwest of town. The trail head is about a 4.5 mile drive down Kane Creek Road from it’s intersection with Highway 191 near McDonald’s. The trail head is inside a campground.
Scenery: Colorful, deep, sculptured canyon walls provide picturesque views throughout the Canyon.
The Trail: The trail is only about 3 miles long but another 17 miles of driving on the rough County road will be required to get back to Highway 191 at a point about 13 miles southeast of Moab. The trail stays near the usually dry creek bottom and crosses it several times. Years of erosion of the original roadway have exposed bedrock steps that compose the major obstacles. This erosion continues and the trail gets even more challenging each year. A drop off a rock ledge on the way in requires a careful line to avoid laying your rig on its side. Next is a double rock step which is the only major obstacle with a bypass. Farther up an optional obstacle in the rock floor has been eroded out by millennia of water flows. Just after that is the broken rock steps of Rocker Knocker where some vehicles will need a strap or winch as there is no bypass. Just before the Rock Pile is another unnamed obstacle which is getting more and more challenging each year. The Rock Pile is a ledge that is so steep and tall that a pile of rocks is required just to be able to get your tires on it. Most side x sides including those with large tires and lots of ground clearance will be looking for something to strap or winch to, to get up this obstacle. The trick is to get someone up so the rest can winch or strap to them. Yellow Hill at the top of the Canyon completes the Pritchett Canyon trail. Yellow Hill is rugged and uneven with lots of yellow but many other colors too. Just above Yellow Hill you start down again on progressively easier road until Highway 191 is reached about 17 miles later.