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The Flint Trail
(Hans Flat Ranger Station to Waterhole Flat)
The Flint Trail is described as one of the 'most difficult regularly travelled roads in Utah'. I can't speak to that statement directly, but I can report that the Flint Trail, while quite scenic, is not quite as rough as the reports I had read described. At least not in my opinion. Perhaps a recent grading helped....

The Flint Trail is described here from north to south. It leaves from the Hans Flat Ranger Station and heads south, descending through the Orange Cliffs at the famous 'switchbacks' section, and then continuing south and down until it terminates at Waterhole Flat. The hardest part of the route is at the switchbacks.
Start of the Flint Trail
The Flint trail starts just after the Hans Flat Ranger Station. [enlarge]
Upper Flint Trail
A view of the road as it leads south above the Orange Cliffs not far from the Hans Flat Ranger Station. [enlarge]
From the Hans Flat Ranger Station, the road starts out mostly on the level. It is a somewhat narrow road, but can still allow oncoming traffic to pass. The road drives through tree-dotted benchlands. There are a few rough-ish spots, but a moderate to high clearance 2wd vehicle can make this part.
Along Gordon Flats
Driving southwards on the Flint Trail through Gordon Flats. [enlarge]
Not too far from Hans Flat (maybe 5 to 6 miles -- 10-km), the road nears the edge of the Orange Cliffs, and there are several excellent lookouts. The views east down into Elaterite Basin are great. Big sky stuff, with large buttes and grand vistas.
the Orange Cliffs
An overlook on the Flint Trail. The Orange Cliffs, comprised of Wingate Sandstone, form the edge of the tableland above. Elaterite Basin stretches away below the cliffs [enlarge]
Flint Trail Overlook
The sign marking the overlook of the switchbacks on the Flint Trail. This overlook is a little ways north of the actual switchbacks. [enlarge]
Shortly thereafter one comes to the Flint Trail Overlook, where you can get out and survey the interesting part of the road - the Flint Trail Switchbacks. This is where the Flint trail descends steeply through a weakness in the Orange Cliffs. You can see a fair bit (but not all) of the switchbacks from this viewpoint.

The conventional wisdom is to go to the overlook and see if any opposing traffic is coming up. However, after doing it, I find that this is not absolutely necessary. At each of the switchbacks is a fairly sizeable graded turnaround area that will allow vehicles to get by each other. I've noticed many accounts of this trail don't describe these graded spots -- perhaps they are something new?
Flint Trail Overlook
From a spot further north on the Flint trail is this view of the Flint Trail Switchbacks. The Switchbacks are where the Flint trail winds its way down the Orange Cliffs into Elaterite Basin. [enlarge]
A Flint Trail Switchback
One of the narrow and sharp corners on the Flint Trail Switchbacks. Although many guidebooks and descriptions say otherwise, there are pullouts in various locations to allow opposing traffic by. You can see here how this switchback has a graded area next to it that can accommodate several vehicles. [enlarge]
Lower Flint Trail Switchbacks
A view down to the lower section of the Switchbacks. [enlarge]
The Distant Maze
The convoluted, rounded stone of the Maze, as seen from the Flint Trail Overlook. [enlarge]
Distant Land of Standing Rocks
A distant view of the Land of Standing Rocks, our destination in the Maze. [enlarge]
Start of the Switchbacks
Ewart walks ahead to examine the state of the top of the Flint trail switchbacks. Beyond Ewart, the road drops down very steeply. [enlarge]
A few minutes later, one reaches the top of the switchbacks. Here things get narrower, down to one-lane only (except for the aforementioned wide spots at the turns). The grade is fairly steep, and the track is somewhat rough. A high-clearance 2wd vehicle could make it down, I am fairly sure.

One needs to take this part slow, but overall it is not very difficult, technically (at least I didn't think so). It is steep briefly in a few spots. If coming up this route, I believe 4wd is probably needed, although I do not think a vehicle with a separate set of low-range gears is needed).

I've also read about how the switchbacks are so narrow in places, that you need to do a multi-point turn to get around. This is true in one spot, mostly, and again there is a wide graded area to assist you.

Again, all of this may be the result of some recent grading, so please take in mind that these are my opinions of the road conditions as of the writing of this text (April 2007). Overall, this is a scenic and fun part of the road.
A view even from within
Even from inside the Jeep, one gets a fantastic view (while descending the Flint trail switchbacks). [enlarge]
Descent through the Wingate
Descending steeply through the Wingate sandstone on the Flint Trail Switchbacks. [enlarge]
courtesy LWard
Down the Flint Trail
Descending the Flint Trail Switchbacks. [enlarge]
Waiting below
Another 4wd vehicle at the bottom of the switchbacks waits for us to complete our descent. [enlarge]
Driver's view of switchbacks
Here's the driver's view of the Flint Trail Switchbacks. [enlarge]
Once at the bottom, the road becomes gentle and wider again, and heads off to the east and south. You'll shortly arrive at the junction with the road to the Maze Overlook.
At the bottom
The Flint trail becomes a straightforward, graded route below the Flint Trail Switchbacks. Bagpipe Butte is visible in the distance. [enlarge]
Below the Orange Cliffs
Driving south on the Flint Trail towards Waterhole Flats. The Orange Cliffs rise above the trail. [enlarge]
Junction to Maze Overlook
The well-signed junction on the Flint Trail with the jeep trail leading to the Maze Overlook. [enlarge]
Differential Erosion
A bit of Wingate Sandstone protects some softer Chinle Formation rock. [enlarge]
Looking into Red Cove
Looking into an arm of Red Cove from the Flint Trail. The land of standing rocks and the Maze are in the far distance. [enlarge]
Mother and Child in distance
A more zoomed-in view of the Land of Standing Rocks, as seen from the Flint Trail above Red Cove. [enlarge]
Heading south from the Junction, the road traverses on an undulating bench underneath the Orange Cliffs and above some lower Moenkopi cliffs. This is a very scenic section of road, and the road itself is in good shape. It looked recently graded.
Red Cove
A wide-angle view of an arm of Red Cove, from the Flint Trail. [enlarge]
Scenic Drive
Driving south along the scenic Flint Trail towards Waterhole Flat [enlarge]
Red Cove and the Maze
Another view over Red Cove from the Flint Trail, with the distant Maze in the background. [enlarge]
Driving beneath the Orange Cliffs
The Flint trail is winds scenically along a bench between the Orange Cliffs above and some lower cliffs (Moenkopi Formation Cliffs, I think). [enlarge]
Standing Rocks Jeep Trail
The trail may not look rough from here, but this is a view of part of the very rough section of trail (across upper Teapot Canyon) leading to the land of Standing Rocks. (aka the Standing Rocks Jeep Trail) [enlarge]
After a bit of this bench traversing (with good views down into Upper Teapot Canyon and of the rough part of the Land of Standing Rocks Jeep Road), the Flint Trail starts its final descent to Waterhole Flat. There is some roughness here, requiring some slow driving and a bit of care. After that, the road smooths out and levels out as it reaches the wide flats of Waterhole Flat, and soon reaches a 4-way junction. Straight ahead is the road to Highway 95 / Hite. To the left is the Land of Standing Rocks Jeep Road (aka the Dollhouse Road).
Colorful Descent
The Flint Trail starts its final descent towards Waterhole Flat (Waterhole flat is in the opposite direction of this shot, behind the camera). [enlarge]
Upper Teapot Canyon from above
A view down into Upper Teapot Canyon from the Flint Trail. The very rough Land of Standing Rocks jeep trail can be seen winding its way through the canyon. This view is looking south / southwest. [enlarge]
Reaching smoother ground
The flint trail smooths out as it enters Waterhole Flat. [enlarge]
To Waterhole Flat
The southern end of the Flint Trail leads across Waterhole Flat. [enlarge]
Reaching Waterhole Flat
Reaching Waterhole Flat after traversing south on the Flint Trail. [enlarge]
Land of Standing Rocks Junction
This is the Junction with the Flint Trail, the Land of Standing Rocks Trail, and the road leading out to Hite. We're heading left, to the Land of Standing Rocks. Soon the fun Jeeping starts! [enlarge]
Below is a google-based map of the Flint Trail Jeep Road, from the Hans Flat Ranger Station to Waterhole Flat. The actual track is marked in red on the map. Double click on the map to view a larger version, with clickable icons for each picture that was taken along the drive.
Interactive Trackmap, Flint Trail - click map to view
Flint Trail - Drive Data
Start Time: 9:34a.m.
End Time: 11:57a.m.
Duration: 2h22m
Distance: 34.88 km (21.68 mi)
Average Speed: 14.7 km/hr (9.2 mph)
Start Elevation: 6597ft (2011m) *
Max Elevation: 6902ft (2104m) *
Min Elevation: 5531ft (1686m) *
End Elevation: 5531ft (1686m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain: 801ft (244m) *
Total Elevation Loss: 1861ft (567m) *
* : +/- 75 feet
Elevation Graph
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