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FR018 summit(u): Red Cloud Loop

As Utah skylines go, the Uinta Mountains seen from Vernal are inconspicuous. You have to look closely to see a pancake like layer of rock and snow reach above the treeline on the horizon. It is nothing like the massive billowing rock outcrops and layered cliffs near Dinosaur Canyon, just a little to the east. But the Uinta Mountains are a much larger landform than the cliffs of Dinosaur Canyon, and a ride around Red Cloud Loop will confirm this.

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01.(5310ft,mile00) START-END SOUTH-WEST: Vernal: jct: Ut121-Ut44
02.(5630ft,mile04) turn right, following Red Cloud Loop signs
03.(6500ft,mile12) stay right up Dry Fork Canyon
04.(7400ft,mile20) stay right up Brownie Canyon
05.(8260ft,mile23) stay right, climbing above Brownie Canyon
06.(9975ft,mile32) TOP: turnoff to trail towards Simms Peak is on right
07.(9300ft,mile37) profile continues right
08.(8750ft,mile48) stay left
09.(8600ft,mile49) turn right onto paved road to East Park Reservoir. Jct wit Ut44 follows after 2 miles
10.(5310ft,mile72) START-END SOUTH-EAST: same as point 1


From East. The various turnoffs from US40 onto the Red Cloud Loop road are signed. The first step in the staircase is Dry Canyon. Occasional farms and vacation houses are interspersed between crème colored cliffs. The road emerges onto a sweeping grass landscape and climbs onto a second step, a forested canyon. The pavement turns to gravel, near the junction with FR051. After a section of gravel, the surface improves to a hard dirt, that is perfect for fast aerobic mountain biking (road conditions Jun/07). A long gradual climb leads closer and closer to the eastern terminus of the rocky high Uinta ridge. The road remains in a cultivated needle forest. The part of highest elevation is near the turnoff to Sim's Peak onto FR037.

from West. (described downwards) The road makes a loop over the plateau. It crosses the same, shallow divide again twice in the same process. This way the road descends on the same side of the water divide as the ascent. A long rolling way down leads through countless meadows. On one of these I surprised a whole herd of elk during mid day, and they surprised me even more. There are a few unexpected uphills along the way. About three miles before the junction with Ut301 (Uinta Summit), the surface becomes paved for a quick descent.


Dayrides. A loop around the described approaches measured 74 miles with 6300ft of climbing in 6:4 hours, (VDO MC1.0 m3:7.06.15).

FR018 Red Cloud Loop s(u)

Highest Point:
South-Western Approach:

from Vernal, jct Ut121-Ut44 via Brownie Canyon (5310ft)
31+1/5miles ~400ft
South-Eastern Approach:

from Vernal, jct Ut121-Ut44 via Ut44 (5310ft)
40miles ~1200ft


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