Barracks Trail - Deranged Ride Score

Posted by Garrett Wilkerson on

Ride Date - October 20th, 2018

On our latest deranged ride, we got together and hit a trail in south central Utah near the city of Mount Carmel Junction and Coral Pink Sand Dunes. We had a good group of about 15 people with multiple machines including, a mostly stock Defender Max HD10, a lifted Teryx4, RZR trail, and quad. We had a great time as a group and made it back to the truck with no breakage. Check out our Deranged Ride Score and review below.  

As part of our “Deranged Rides” series, we will review our experience, share with you our thoughts and provide a Deranged Ride Score to help you decide if you want to take this ride. Each of our ride reviews rate the experience based on the following categories; was it fun, was it interesting, was it accessible, and was it difficult. Each category is given a 1-10 score with a perfect score being 30. Difficulty will be excluded and given its own separate 1-10 rankings.

Deranged Ride Score: 22


The unloading/parking area we used for the Barracks Canyon trail is off County Road 43 and Elephant cove rd. We ran it as an out and back from there, but you could run it as a one way if you’d like, starting from either the unloading point we used, or from Mt. Carmel Junction, Utah. GPS coordinates to our unloading point are: N37° 01.478’, W112° 48.180’. From there you will stay on BLM trial #20 the entire 23.5 miles crossing the river many times.

The map below was borrowed from who also provides some great details related to the trail. Those details can be accessed here.


The Barracks trail is the perfect way to spend a day going across the lower sandy trails north of the Coral Pink Sand Dune area. The trail will take you along the White Cliffs and is made up mostly of sand, trees, and river crossings. The trail will cross the Virgin river over 20 times. (Please use caution when crossing the river, check local weather and check the USGS gauging station for water flow). The weather in Utah during October was great, but keep in mind, it can be busy due to deer hunt season.  

Was it Accessible?

Accessing the trail was super easy. Plenty of parking but come early if you have a two-wheel drive vehicle. The hard dirt parking is limited and the rest is soft sand so you may have issues getting stuck if your running radials. There should be plenty of room for off-loading.

The trails have no size restrictions and are well traveled by all types of vehicles. When you get to Mt Carmel Junction (23.5 miles) you will have options for gas and food. We hit up Thunderbird Restaurant where they have everything, including homemade pies. Just click on link for Yelp reviews.  

Our accessibility score will be higher due to the trail being easily accessible and having no vehicle width restrictions.

Accessibility Score: 8 

Was it interesting?

The scenery is great with lots of trees, rocks and river beds to cross. You can always find a great place to rest and eat lunch with plenty of shade.

The trails are nice and sandy most of the time. The overlooks are very beautiful with lots to see, from the White Cliffs to the walls and mountains of Zion National Park.

With plenty of areas to park next to the Virgin River and take in all the scenery. At this location we saw deer and mountain sheep. This was about half way through the trail.

Interesting Score: 6

Was it Fun?

The trail has some great scenery from tree lined trail and river crossings to towering cliffs, there is plenty to see. There are points in the trail where you will need to traverse small rock formations and more than 25 river crossings. The weather was mild during our ride but we are sure it would bring a new level of fun to splash through the river on a hot summer day.

Wild life is also a high point of the ride with deer, mountain goats, and other wildlife along the way. We were able to catch a herd of deer and multiple mountain goats during our ride.  

There was plenty of shade along the trail, especially near the river which provide great opportunities to let the kids out to play, have a snack, or dig squat and bury.  

With the epic scenery, multiple river crossings, and variation in terrain we would rank this trail high on the fun score.

Fun Score: 8

Was it Difficult?

In short, the ride overall was somewhat difficult in areas. We do need to make you aware of a few things.

  1. About 18 miles in, you will reach “Sand Hill”. If you have the power, and the machine, send it! If you’re running on bald tires or in a lower power machine, you’d probably be better off taking the bypass. For example, your kids Polaris 170 RZR won’t be making it to the top.
  2. The river crossing can be a challenge. Some crossings have big ruts and could be difficult to maneuver or require higher ground clearance. Also, the higher the water, the more difficult the crossing. We did find multiply ways to cross the river though, just use cation. (Check the USGS gauging station for water flow). The rock portions on the trail can be a little intimidating, but with an intermediate driver they should not be a problem.

Difficulty Score: 5-8 (depending on water levels)


Was this trail worth it? The answer is yes, and we will be heading out on it again soon. It is just an hour and half drive from St. George Utah to the staging point of the trail. The sand trails, scenery, rock formations, and water crossings make this trail a must do. Kids will enjoy time by the river, so plan on stopping a lot for little hikes, pictures, and of course snack time. The trail is popular and can be busy at times. You will likely encounter full size vehicles, multiply UTV’s and other off-road vehicles. The ideal time to hit this trail is on a weekday not during deer season.  

Here's a video of the trail ride that day.

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  • Thanks. Great post with lots of info.

    Ken Rubio on
  • This is a great trail to ride. I can’t wait to get back on it.

    Garrett on

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