Rose Garden Hill

This trail evolved from a longer trip that went up Cottonwood Canyon to visit sites on Sevenmile and Waring Mesas. Weather and travel took its toll, so now the trip has become a stand alone full day trip just to reach and conquer the hill itself. 

How best to explain the hill to an experienced 4 wheeler? Well, how often do you encounter a hill so mean you can get stuck going downhill? If you are familiar with that concept, then focus on the reality of first having to ascend this mean, long hill, then after lunch, having to descend this same hill. Lines change, and it becomes a new ball game going back down. Lots of stuff in Moab involves slickrock shelves that have solid bases, letting vehicles climb crazy steep angles. Very seldom is an ascent so strewn with very seriously sized rocks on loose soil that dictate the approaches to really tall exposed shelves. Still fewer trails feature so long an ascent. Lately nature has been adding some serious ruts caused by water drainage from several wet winters and springs.

The driver has to continually pick a good "line" up this nearly 1/2 mile hill. This usually results in a serpentine path as the vehicle ascends the hill, depending upon the vehicle's size, equipment and capabilities. The choices get narrowed to a very narrow path during the upper third of the hill. The nastiness of the hill severely restrict the ability of a buddy to assist via a tug. Its not uncommon to have four vehicles stuck on this hill at the same time.  Bring all your toys(high lift jacks, snatch straps, winches, pulley blocks) and a few friends to help use them when you choose to run this trail.


The road up Onion Creek offers scenery that seems straight out of a Disney theme park. The passenger is usually the beneficiary of this, however, as the driver is usually busy watching for oncoming traffic on the twisty road. The Top of the World overlook is directly above at one point. Fisher Valley offers a panoramic view of the LaSal Mountains, Fisher Mesa, North and South Beaver Mesas, Polar Mesa, Sevenmile Mesa, and Waring Mesa. The trail itself offers beautiful scenery in Cottonwood Canyon as it twists along the approach to Rose Garden, and then views down into Cottonwood once atop the hill itself.


 The Onion Creek county road can be graded smooth dirt to 4WD bumpy depending upon recent storms and flooding. The trail itself offers some dusty dirt sections, then some slickrock with small shelves adding some bumpiness. Drainages off the mesa top above add constant changes at their crossings. Rose Garden Hill has already been described.

Trail Details

The constant scenery changes make this trip a delight, and then there is the fun at the hill itself.


Trail Rating


Trail Notes

Length: 81 miles with 37 miles off highway
Min Tire Size: 35+ inches
Winch: No
Front Locker: Yes
Rear Locker: Yes

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