“An exciting downhill ride on a 4x4 trail with the Black Dragon petroglyph near the end of the ride.”
— Trevor Timmons
Black Dragon Wash is a downhill shuttle ride, starting on the San Rafael Swell plateau and dropping into the Black Dragon Wash.
This ride can be done as an out-and-back from the bottom, but the climb is quite steep. The description assumes a shuttle ride from the top.
To access the bottom parking area from westbound I-70, turn right onto a gravel access road immediately after mile marker 147. There is a gate a few hundred feet from the road -- you'll need to get out to open the gate (be sure to close it again behind you).
Follow the gravel road approximately 800 feet through the dry river bed. A protected area with short bluffs surrounding three sides will be in front of you. Park your shuttle car here. Alternatively, for an out-and-back ride, park here and start riding.
To access the trailhead from I-70 exit 131, proceed east along the gravel frontage road for 3.5 miles until the road pulls away from I-70, and you reach an intersection. Your ride starts here.
Follow the gravel road keeping I-70 at your right. At the 0.25-mile mark, stay on the gravel road and do not cross under I-70 to the right (south).
Next, at the 2.25-mile mark, you'll come to a T-intersection with Jerry Flat Road (unmarked), turn left (north) to continue the descent (right/south heads to I-70).
After three miles, you'll come to another intersection. Turn right onto the Black Dragon wash on the Swazy's Leap 4X4 trail.
At 5.8 miles, stay right at the Y intersection onto Jackass Benches
. After 7.5 miles, there's a faint jeep trail to the right - make sure to stay on the main road.
Next, at 8.25 miles, you'll come to another Y intersection. Turn right to continue into Black Dragon wash on the Black Dragon Canyon
trail. After 12.5 miles, the trail enters the bottom of the wash. The trail can be quite sandy here in some spots.
At the 14.8-mile mark, the Black Dragon petroglyphs are protected by a fenced-off area and then within another mile you exit the Black Dragon Wash. Turn right at the gravel road to head south to the final parking area and the end of the ride.