Sid's Mountain
San Rafael Swell Trail Guide created by Udink
  • Overview

    Sid's Mountain is a relatively flat mesa, surrounded on all sides by deep canyons--it's bordered on the north by North Salt Wash and the San Rafael River Gorge (Little Grand Canyon), on the east by Virgin Spring Canyon and Cane Wash, and on the southwest by Saddle Horse Canyon.

    These canyon systems make the mesa relatively inaccessible, though there are a couple of established routes leading to the top of Sid's Mountain. This guide covers the northwestern route which descends into North Salt Wash and then climbs up onto the mesa, passing by a couple of old cabins and ascending to a local high point.

    Sid's Mountain is contained within the Sid's Mountain Wilderness Study Area, which comprises more than 80,000 acres of BLM land that stretches from the Wedge on the north to I-70 on the south. There is immense opportunity for solitude, fantastic views, and even some old homestead ruins and prehistoric relics on the mesa.


    The trailhead is accessed from Ferron via 20 miles of paved, gravel, and dirt roads. The first 15 miles are on maintained gravel/dirt roads and are usually passable by most vehicles in dry conditions. Wet conditions can make the road difficult or impassible even to 4WD vehicles due to clay on certain portions of the road. The last five miles are on unmaintained dirt roads where high-clearance 2WD is recommended and 4WD may be required when wet or snowy. On this last five miles there are a few wash crossings that may become flooded or washed out during periods of rain.

    Beginning in Ferron on UT-10 (State Street) (39.088327,-111.131848), turn east onto Molen Road (100 South) and continue for three miles until you reach an intersection (39.088327,-111.075028) beyond which the road narrows. Turn right (south) at this intersection and follow the road for 12 miles. After 12 miles there is a Y-intersection and a wide, flat spot with a BLM kiosk which is a popular OHV staging area (39.042049,-110.926799). Take the left (north) fork in the road and continue for about 5.3 miles to the trailhead, staying on the main track and veering right at one minor intersection. The trailhead (39.066408,-110.855068) consists of a pull-out on the right (south) side of the road with a wooden fence blocking vehicular access into the WSA.

    Driving Map:
    Directions from Ferron to the trailhead

    The Hike

    The first part of the hike follows an old road to the rim of North Salt Wash. Hike along the road south from the wooden fence at the trailhead--the road passes through a drainage and reaches the rim of the canyon at 39.060679,-110.848312. Follow the cairns to the bottom of North Salt Wash then follow the canyon downstream (north). There are two varations for the next part of the hike: (1--the shorter option) climb up the ridge starting at 39.064298,-110.845769 and follow the ridge cross-country to the top of the mesa, joining the trail at 39.058667,-110.826473, or (2--a longer option that requires less route-finding) continue downstream in North Salt Wash to 39.064794,-110.840222, where a trail leaves the canyon and zig-zags to the top of the mesa at 39.065227,-110.834858 (this is a popular and well-used horse trail). For a change of scenery, one can take one trail up the mesa and the other down on the return trip. Once either route reaches the trail at the top of the mesa, follow the trail southeast. The trail is very well-defined from frequent horse use.

    Route into North Salt Wash

    The trail curves to the east at 39.036645,-110.805058 then continues to an old homestead at 39.038003,-110.794297. Here you'll find a small corral, the ruins of an old cabin, and a relatively newer cabin built in the 1930s. This newer cabin is elevated on cedar posts and contains many historic artifacts: an old stove, pots and pans, cans, and tools. Continuing east from the homestead there is little or no defined trail leading to the local high point. Hike east cross-country until reaching the base of the sandstone knoll at 39.042003,-110.781042. Zig-zag up the Navajo Sandstone layers until reaching the high point and the USGS survey marker stamped SWAZY 1952 at 39.041059,-110.778411. From there you can see far to the south to the center of the San Rafael Swell. Also visible are the upper reaches of Virgin Spring Canyon and Cedar Mountain to the east, No Man's Mountain and the La Sals to the southeast, the San Rafael Knob (highest point in the Swell) to the south, the Fish Lake Plateau to the southwest, and the Wasatch Plateau to the west.

    Route to the high point

    Permits & Regulations

    No permits are required for day or overnight trips. The entirety of this hike is in a BLM Wilderness Study Area and all WSA regulations apply (e.g., no bicycles or motor vehicles). Leave No Trace ethics are recommended: use only existing campsites, stay on trails where they exist, pack out everything you pack in.
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