Arsons Wash

Rating: 
Round Trip Distance: 1.4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Elevation: 4509 - 4650 feet
Cellphone: 0 bars
Time: 2 hrs.
Trailhead: Arsons Wash
Fee: none
Attractions: Scenic canyon




Arsons Wash is located between Three Fingers Canyon and Greasewood Draw in the San Rafael Swell west of Green River, Utah. The trail begins 4.5 miles from UT-24 at the end of an old jeep road where it follows Arsons Wash through a gap in the reef. An appropriate turn around spot comes up after a little over a half mile where there is a small scenic spillover.


To get to the trailhead go south on Utah Highway 24 from Interstate 70 for 7.4 miles and turn west just past mile marker 153.


After crossing the cattleguard the dirt road is as straight as an arrow for the first 3/4 of a mile where it then bends to the right and heads north parallel with the reef. Near the 2.5 mile point from the highway there is a faint double track that branches off on the left.


The double track heads toward the reef and turns up an expanse of red slickrock just before reaching a somewhat secluded stock pond or tank as they call them in these here parts. The route over the slickrock is very faint but a keen eye can pick out some cairns in the distance beyond which a short section of road can be seen making a climb up to the flats. If the route seems unsure we recommend parking your vehicle and walking about until you are more certain of the course to follow.


The road comes to an end atop a small ridge 2 miles from the last turnoff or 4.5 miles from the highway. There are several primitive campsites at this spot where there is also a commanding view up and down the front of the reef.


From the end of the road the route works its way around the contours of the landscape until it eventually ends up down in the wash.


After weaving a route through the rocks and small boulders and scrambling up some short sections of slickrock the trail enters the gap in the reef.


Some stretches of the wash have quite a few rocks to find your way around.


There are also a couple of places where water cascades down the slickrock through crystal clear potholes, some of which look deep enough that they would never completely dry out were the trickling stream to dry up.


About 3/4 of a mile from the trailhead the wash reaches a scenic spillover with 2 or 3 more pools of clear cool water. Continuing past the spillover requires scrambling up its left side which is made somewhat precarious by loose and crumbly rocks.


The scramble will earn you a different view of the spillover but after a short distance the boulder filled wash becomes very unpleasant to hike with little that is apparent to reward all the effort. It is interesting though that while scrambling up the left side of the spillover there is a spot at the top where someone packed a crevice with enough rocks and fill to make it so a horse or mule could handle it. The strange thing about it is that there is no obvious route that they could have followed past all the boulders.


With its unobvious access road Arsons Wash doesn't get a lot of traffic. Those that don't want to drive it should find it easy to hike or mountain bike. Whether you will then find the short hike worth all that extra effort is hard to say. We debated whether to hike over to Greasewood Draw from the Arsons Wash trailhead since it is closer from here than from the main road but we ended up going somewhere else instead. We hiked Arsons Wash for the simple thrill of exploring yet another route through the reef of the San Rafael Swell. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is 'Take a hike'.