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Old Yesterday, 01:02 PM   #1
laklr650 OP
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Question on Lower San Rafael Road

I tried several searches here to get some info on Lower San Rafael Road in UT and found only a reference in a section on the Maze. I'm planning a trip for the last week of April and am looking at riding Lower San Rafael from Green River to Hans Flat Road and out to the 24 near Goblin Valley. Google Earth shows a bridge across the river so that seems OK. Anybody have any insight on this route? What is the general road condition? Is it big bike friendly? (KLR) Any idea about how long to get from Green River to the 24? Is it worth riding, is there much to see?

Thanks,
LAKLR650
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Old Yesterday, 03:17 PM   #2
Colorado Uli
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I know this road quite well. The only bridge on that road goes over the San Rafael River and it's a perfect concrete/steel bridge that you can race over at high speed.

Conditions:
--This road IS maintained and usually perfectly fine for a rider on a KLR (even with street(ish) tires) -- I used to ride it on my old BMW 650 Dakar with no issues at all.
***Warning***: After heavy rains or winds the southern section of the road near Horseshoe Canyon and a few miles to the West, can get washed out and/or have deep sands for short sections (several hundred feet long at a time). You can still get through those on a KLR, but be aware of their possibility so you don't end up riding 60 MPH into a torn-up beach (like a buddy of mine did who ended up cartwheeling followed by a fun crash into the beach).
-- Sometimes, when the grader hasn't been on it in a while, you might encounter sections of washboard that will try to unscrew every nut and bolt on your bike - but that's not the normal state of the road.
-- Keep an eye open for sand dunes that (in the most southern part of the road) attempt to creep across the road. They sometimes partially succeed and you'll have to either ride around them, skillfully over them, or just paddle walk the few feet through them.

What's to see?:
-- A couple hundred feet before the aforementioned bridge, there is a jeep/ranch road going off to the east. Follow it for something like a quarter mile, open and go through the cattle gate and you'll end up at the old Chaffin ranch. Who the hell cares? Well, it's got one of Utah's (no-so) famous cold-water geysers on it that, if you're lucky, will erupt while you're there. It's a pretty damn cool site to visit. Google "Chaffin Ranch Geyser".
-- Horseshoe Canyon. A half mile off the road (about halfway through your route) look for a trailhead that allows you to hike down to a native American wall-art site. you have to hike down into a canyon, but I hear it's worth it. Otherwise, it's a good place to stop for lunch and a photo op.
-- Cool looking and fast desert riding. Neat rock formations in some places, fast straight stretches of sandy grass areas. All types of different terrain.

How long?: Without any stops at all, Google says it would take you about 4 hours. Me? With some stops to smell the flowers, and going as fast as my 950 will allow, about three hours. It all depends how often/long you'll stop and how crazy you are. I'm sure you CAN strech it out to six hours if you really tried.

Hope that helps.
Uli
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Old Yesterday, 03:43 PM   #3
splatte
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I've only been into Horseshoe canyon/bluejohn/robbers roost from Hwy 24 north of Hanksville on Lower San Rafael Rd. and it was washboarded but otherwise mellow.

Uli, Have you ever been down the Flint Trail? That one's high on the list.
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Old Yesterday, 04:40 PM   #4
Slickhorn
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its a breeze on a big bike could take a few hours or all day depending on how much you want to explore. Recent rains have trashed a lot of the Swell roads but most the damage is manageable...this is from last week, there was a road where the wash is now...

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Old Yesterday, 05:58 PM   #5
laklr650 OP
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Thanks for the help and picture (scary!!)

That helps a lot, I appreciate the information. When on a trip I always make it a point to ask locals, or people coming from the other direction, about the road conditions so I get a heads up to recent changes. As always, the people on this site are awesome.

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Old Today, 12:05 PM   #6
Slickhorn
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here's that road this spring...most if not all is in this condition or better most the time...

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Old Today, 02:58 PM   #7
Colorado Uli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splatte View Post
Uli, Have you ever been down the Flint Trail? That one's high on the list.
Sure. It's normally pretty darn easy on a big bike. But recent intel says that it's pretty washed out as well - although a local rider took her 950 down it a few weeks ago (got much more rain there since then).
Call up the Hans Flat Ranger Station for most up to date info. They'll know for sure.
Oh, and have fun!
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Old Today, 03:00 PM   #8
Colorado Uli
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slickhorn View Post
there was a road where the wash is now...

Dunno what you mean. Looks like a perfect newly created trail to me. Let it dry out a bit and take your little bike.
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