North Caineville Desert, Utah, USA by Dave Noordhoff

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Factory Butte Road (also known as Coal Mine Road) runs about 29 km from the southern end (at Utah State 24) to the intersection with Wild Horse Road at the northern end (Wild Horse Road will eventually reach Goblin Valley Road if you follow it to its north-eastern end). Traveling across the North Caineville Desert, it passes the intersections of Factory Bench Road, Coal Mine Road, Skyline View Road and Coal Mine Pit Road.

Factory Butte Road gradually gets rougher (and more primitive) as you travel north, crossing more frequent and deeper washes. The initial stretch is usually fine for 4x2 low clearance vehicles. As you continue north, a higher clearance vehicle is a good idea, and then a 4x4 high clearance vehicle is often necessary. The final stretch is very rough, and you might need some experience with southwest desert roads to tackle it … but you can always turn around if you have doubts!

It goes without saying to NEVER attempt this (or any desert back road) if rain is forecast, or if precipitation has occurred recently! It’s all too easy to get stuck, and even bulldozers have to wait for the surface to dry!

But no matter how far you choose to go, Factory Butte Road gives you a chance to drive, experience and photograph a desert road quite “close” to civilization.

The image shows the road and a small wash, on the “middle” part of the route, where a high clearance vehicle, preferably with four wheel drive, is a good choice (I used my RAM 4x4). I had the road and the desert to myself on an early fall morning. Great scenery, and just wild and isolated enough (just some free range cattle) to keep you “alert”!

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