Wolf Creek, as the locals refer to it, is on the south side of the Uinta mountains between Duchesne and Heber City in Utah. It gets its name from a the nearby peak and campground near the summit of the main groomed trail that runs through the area. As always, we are always pursuing the best information about the areas we ride. Please add information about your knowledge and experience in the comments at the bottom of this post.
On our second trip of the year we were excited to travel to Duchesne, Utah to explore this little known area with seemingly endless miles of area to check out.
Location: Uinta Mountains in the Ashley National Forest near Duchesne, Tabiona, and Heber City, Utah.
Trail-head: From this side of the mountains, the Wolf Creek parking area/trail-head is the most notable. There are others, but from my understanding, they are not nearly as convenient. This area can also be accessed from the west side near Heber City. We will post about that in the future, but wanted to start with the side that gets less traffic.
The trail-head is where the plows stop just up the road from Tabiona on highway 35. Parking is free of charge.
Directions to the Trail-head: There are two directions that you may come from, Provo/Heber or Vernal/Western Colorado.
From Provo/Heber you will travel east on highway 40 over Daniel’s Summit, past Strawberry Reservoir and through Fruitland before turning north (left) on highway 208 toward Tabiona. You will not make it to Duchesne when coming from Heber, so make sure not to miss the turn onto highway 208 from highway 40. Highway 208 then intersects with highway 35. You will turn left on 35 toward Tabiona/Hanna once again. Once
on highway 35 you drive until you are in the Wolf Creek parking lot…you can’t miss it.
From Vernal/Western Colorado you travel west on highway 191 to Duchesne, Utah. Once in Duchesne, turn north (right) onto highway 87.
You will drive on 87 for a few miles out of town until turning left onto highway 35. Once on highway 35 you drive through Tabiona and Hanna and then continue until you are in the Wolf Creek parking lot…you can’t miss it.
Here are the distances between some notable locations in the area.
Vernal to Duchesne: 57.9 mi
Duchesne to Wolf Creek parking lot: ~40 mi
Heber to Wolf Creek parking lot: 7~9.3 mi
Provo to Wolf Creek parking lot: ~105 mi
Terrain/Ride Details: To view a trail map of the area click here. Refer to the trail legend below.
- A. Mirror Lake 34.3 Miles
- B. Whitney 7.4 Miles
- C. Soapstone 22 Miles
- D. Wolf Creek 10.2 Miles
- E. Nobletts 2.9 Miles
- H. North Slope 45 Miles
After checking Snotel constantly over the preceding week, we really didn’t know what to expect for snow conditions. We sped up the trail with much anticipation. While we did have to do a little searching for untracked snow, the reward was well worth the pursuit. It certainly outperformed our expectations.
After a 10-15 minute trail ride, we began our day in the first open play area on the right side of the D trail. This play area is called Pipeline.
It has two hills that are separated by a small canyon. If you look closely, if there isn’t too much snow, you’ll see markers indicating that a pipeline is buried underneath this riding area…hence the name.
Sidenote: You may be interested in the ungroomed trail that heads toward the Soapstone area. It branches off of D to the north (right) a few miles before Pipeline. It is marked with a dashed line on the trail map. Many of the locals take off in this direction.
After riding the untracked pow on both sides of the road, we found a couple of somewhat hidden play areas/meadows to the south of the trail.
I will let you work to discover these stashes, but…they are both very close to the campground area. These areas were so impressive and enjoyable, they occupied our group for most of the remainder of the day.
We barely scratched the surface of this area. What an awesome place!
Nearest Snotel: Beaver Divide, click here to view. If you are new to Snotel, simply select Daily or Hourly in the “Time Series” box toward the bottom and then choose last 30 days, last 7 days, or last 24 hours in the yellow box. Now, click on the “View Current” button. Enjoy the joys of modern weather technology!
Snowmobile Registration: From the utah.gov website, “owners of snowmobiles, brought into Utah by non-residents, must obtain a non-resident permit for their machine. To obtain a non-resident permit, you must provide proof of out-of-state residency and that the OHV is not owned by a Utah resident. The cost for a 12-month permit is $30.”
You can purchase permits at the following locations:
Duchesne: Starvation State Park-Old Hwy 40, (435) 738 -2326
Heber: Maverik-435 North Main, (435) 654 -4421 -OR- Mountainland Onestop-1175 South Main, (435) 654 -5530
Vernal: Maverik-951 West Hwy 40, (43) 789-5787
Roosevelt: Maverik-1025 East 200 North, (435) 722 -4862
Fuel: Ethanol-free fuel is found less commonly in Utah than some other states we’ve visited, especially if you’re looking for 91 octane. If you find a place with ethanol-free 91 octane anywhere along the way, you may want to take advantage. Here are your fuel options.
Heber City: Silver Eagle-1590 Us Hwy 40 w/88 octane
Kamas: Sinclair/Food Town-146 West 200 South w/91 octane
Vernal: Maverik-951 Us Hwy 40 w/88 octane
Regular 91 Octane: There are plenty of gas stations in Vernal or Roosevelt if you are coming from the east or Heber City if you are coming from the west. If you are looking for fuel close to the trail-head or where you are staying, there are a few options.
Fruitland: There is a gas station called The Big G a few miles before the turnoff toward Tabiona.
Duchesne: There is a Sinclair and a Phillips 66 in Duchesne. A Chevron is soon to be built as well.
Hanna: I believe there is a gas station here, but we’ve never used it.
Hotel/Accommodations: If you are planning to ride for a few days (which you should!), the nearest town of note is Duchesne. Duchesne has a few accommodations including the Motel 6/Studio 6, Duchesne River Inns, and the Harrison Inn which both have very reasonable rates, though I can’t personally confirm the quality of the rooms nor the level of service.
Another option is to find a cabin rental (or something similar) near Tabiona or Hanna. They are available, but you’ll have to do some internet searching to find what you are looking for.
Otherwise, you are looking at heading back to Heber City or Vernal. A hefty daily drive…
Groceries: We don’t normally detail this, but in this case it needs to be noted that the last “real” grocery store is in Duchesne, Al’s Food Town. Stock up here if you need food.
Nearby Snowmobile Shops: Unfortunately, there is not much without driving a fair distance. Come as prepared as you can.
Fast Track Powersports, 1740 S Highway 40, Heber City, Hours: 9a-6p/closed Sunday
Plaza Powersports, 345 N Main St, Heber City, 9a-6p/closed Sunday
Ridgeline Motorsports (Ski-Doo/BRP), 543 E Main St, Vernal, Hours: 9a-6p/closed Sunday
Beers-Harley Davidson (Polaris and Arctic Cat), 2029 US-40, Vernal, Hours: 9a-6p/closed Sunday-Monday
More Area Information: For more information about sledding in this area, including grooming reports, click here.
Final Review of Wolf Creek, Utah: We really didn’t have the time needed to come close to fully documenting this area. We will be back very soon to continue our exploration.
For now, here are our thoughts. The trail-head is in a pretty desolate area, not near much. This obviously has its advantages and drawbacks. One drawback is the lack of snowmobile shops and other conveniences in close proximity. While there are many cabins that may be rented, the area generally lacks accommodations and other services. On the flip side, you won’t have to deal with a bustling parking lot either.
The snow was great, especially in consideration of the time of year (apparently the license plates aren’t lying). While there were a few people roaming around and many areas were tracked out, it didn’t take too much effort to find your own corner of fresh snow. There was a great variety of riding here. From wide open mountains with hill climbs to sprawling meadows and ample tree riding areas in between, everyone was able to find their preferred terrain. You could easily ride for weeks without crossing your own path.
If you are looking for a snow chasing trip off the beaten path, I would definitely recommend giving Wolf Creek a shot. If you happen to show up shortly after a storm, you won’t ride another’s trail all day. Don’t forget to send us some pics and video of your rocky mtn pursuit!
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