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Old 04-15-2014, 02:09 PM   #1
StG OP
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Pre-Moab/South UTBDR ride

On the way to Moab, I decided to take a leisurely few days & ride sections of the southern UTBDR. Slabbed it from St George to the UT/AZ border south of Mexican Hat. Even though I'd crossed the UT/AZ border 4 times already on the way there, I stopped to take a pic at the 'official' border start.


I had passed Lake Powell on the way, & it looked a little different than in the billboard - wahweep marina still near record low water levels.


Only got about a mile before I crossed back into AZ for a detour to Monument Valley. A couple pics from the visitor center...




...before dropping down on the 17 mile loop road.



Wait at John Ford's Point for the tour bus to roll in if you want to get a classic pic of the cowboy in MV.




Artists Point.


I really wanted to climb to the base of Mexican Hat rock but it was getting late in the day.


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Old 04-15-2014, 03:03 PM   #2
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Following along. Looks like you had the WRR packed up well for the 10-day camping trip. Beautiful colors in those pics!

Assume that Mrs. StG recognized you after you got home (after a shower) . . . or was she wondering about the strange man that was now wandering about looking for food?
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Old 04-15-2014, 04:27 PM   #3
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I'm down...

Looks like a great ride so far! Where'd ya sleep?
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Old 04-15-2014, 07:31 PM   #4
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Set up camp after dark at Goosenecks State Park. It's fee-free, but apparently can get real windy. Lucky my tent didn't blow away in the 40+mph wind gusts...I guess you get what you pay for.


It does have amazing views of several goosenecks of the San Juan river. Unfortunately, the lighting isn't the best in the AM.






The UTBDR next takes you through the valley of the gods - a mini version of Monument Valley with many interesting pinnacles & buttes. Supposedly, there are 7 sailors, a battleship, a sitting hen & rooster, & other characters hiding among the rock formations.










But I didn't see anything


From there, you head up the moki dugway to the top of cedar mesa. You get some great views looking down on the valley of the gods.


Would this qualify as a decreasing radius turn?


The moki dugway is also on the cover of the Utah benchmark map atlas - this is the closest I could get to replicating it.


And IMHO an improved version of it.
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Old 04-15-2014, 08:11 PM   #5
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Very cool. Love that place and can't wait to get back out there soon. Were you out there this past Sunday, 4/13? I was driving back from Grand Junction heading through Cortez and the weather was, well, a lot like winter.
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:33 PM   #6
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Very cool. Love that place and can't wait to get back out there soon. Were you out there this past Sunday, 4/13? I was driving back from Grand Junction heading through Cortez and the weather was, well, a lot like winter.
No, I passed thru 2 weeks ago. Fortunately, it was mostly sunny & only a little windy.
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Old 04-15-2014, 09:57 PM   #7
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Cedar mesa is known for having lots of well preserved indian ruins. I take a short detour to the Kane Gulch ranger station & luckily get a permit to visit Moon house ruin.

The turnoff to moon house is right off the UTBDR route - left off Snow Flat road here.


I find this friendly fella on the trail waiting to say hello.


The ruins contain several cliff dwellings & take about a 2 hour round trip hike.






A close up of the pictographs over the ruins.


There's a hallway behind the outer wall with more rooms.


Snow Flat rd eventually drops down into comb wash valley & runs right into comb ridge.




Comb ridge runs north-south for many miles & was apparently a difficult obstacle for the early mormon pioneers to pass.




You can follow comb ridge all the way south to the san juan river.


The mormon pioneers were able to cross comb ridge here at san juan hill. Doesn't look much fun on dirt bikes, much less covered wagons.


A little farther down the river is River ruin. It's easily accessible from the road.








A little farther still is the butler panel wash.




Remains of a trading post. There are a lot of nice sandy camping spots to be had along the river.
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:07 AM   #8
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On the way to Bluff, you pass by Sand Island state park. They have some interesting petroglyph panels, but not really worth the stop (unless you have an annual Utah state park pass, & want to get your money's worth).


The turnoff for butler wash road outside Bluff.


You now head back north on the other side of the comb ridge


A short 15 minute hike into butler wash to see the wolfman petroglyphs


...named after this guy.




There are many more ruin sites off of Butler wash road. Unfortunately, I somehow failed to load all the TH waypoints (& UTBDR route) from my laptop to my gps. So I keep riding on & enjoy the scenic views.




You pass by this large alcove, called fishmouth cave & supposedly the site of many ruins.


At the end of Butler wash rd, I detour off the UTBDR, as I hear the next section is most likely impassable with snow & mud. I take Hwy 191 from Blanding to Monticello, instead, but first stop by Edge of the Cedars state park.

It's got a small but impressive museum of well preserved indian artifacts, and a kiva you can climb down into. Well worth the time & visit.






At Monticello I rejoin the UTBDR heading north on Harts draw Rd, a scenic paved road that runs along the abajo mountains.




It descends towards canyonlands & joins the main road near newspaper rock.




Approaching canyonlands...


A ranger had mentioned that a 4x4 may have made it into beef basin recently, so I decide to give it a shot.


Heading toward bridger jack mesa.






You pass by cathedral butte.


Looking down into Salt Creek canyon, a popular backpacking area.


I eventually run into this. Unfortunately, I didn't realize at the time that I had missed the turnoff for Beef basin, & probably could have made it in. Next time.


Instead, I backtrack & take a fun spur trail that zig zags out to an overlook of salt creek & lavender canyons.


Weather moving in. I think that might be kirk's arch visible in the distance??


Lavender canyon


I make camp under cathedral butte, & fall asleep during an eerily quiet night. No wind, no birds, no insects, no mice scurrying around. No noise at all - at least until a big jet decides to fly overhead.
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:35 AM   #9
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I am planning to do UTBDR some time this year.
Thanks for a lot of good info.
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:38 AM   #10
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Thanks for posting the pics. I'll be in this area in late September and I you've given me a few landmarks to see.

Keep em comin!!
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:55 AM   #11
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Amazing!
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Old 04-16-2014, 11:46 AM   #12
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Thanks

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Amazing!
Greats Shots thanks for posting
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:25 PM   #13
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The next morning is chilly, but returning down towards canyonlands it starts to warm up again.


The granary at the Roadside Ruin stop inside the park


I ditch some luggage & decide to give elephant hill a go.


It looks steep but has been concreted over in many spots








Dropping down the other side I get to this short steep spot. Going down looks okay, but coming back up might be a little tricky (for me). Just as I'm about to try it, I start hearing voices in my head - my wife reminding me 'don't do anything stupid'. WTF - I decide to turn around here


The needles of canyonlands




This one's for my wife - wooden shoe arch


I gas up at the needles outpost before heading off down lockhart basin


Not what I expected, but probably one of the most scenic/challenging/fun roads I've been on!




Up ahead the road starts to climb & then continues on along a shelf


Looking back from the turnout for the short hike to the airplane wreckage


It looks so neatly laid out in the wash & surprisingly shiny.




Cliffs towering above you on one side...


...and endless canyons/washes dropping down from the other






I don't see anyone else on the road all day..


...until the very end. Looking back up the canyon where the most difficult spots of the ride are. No pics as I was too busy hanging on


The end of lockhart & intersection with Kane creek is just ahead


Finally in Moab. Find a nice grassy shady spot along the creek at Pack Creek CG. Now for the fun stuff!!!
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:39 PM   #14
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Great report- thanks for sharing. I wanted to ride Lockhart Basin when I was there in early March, and ran out of time. Is it as good as it looks? Difficulty level, is it as easy as WRT or more difficult like Porcipine Rim?
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Old 04-16-2014, 01:53 PM   #15
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Great report- thanks for sharing. I wanted to ride Lockhart Basin when I was there in early March, and ran out of time. Is it as good as it looks? Difficulty level, is it as easy as WRT or more difficult like Porcipine Rim?
Lockhart basin was eye candy. It's definitely more difficult than WRT, but can't comment on porc rim, as I haven't ridden it on a MC. I did it the easier direction (S to N) but it still crossed a number of dry ledgy washes. Nothing crazy, but some spots were challenging for me.
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