RR: 700 miles of Scenic Utah Backcountry

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by RideFreak, Sep 12, 2013.

  1. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junkie

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    For the last couple of years I've wanted to do dualsport ride across the central part of southern Utah, starting somewhere near Canyonlands and riding over to Brice, preferably on a loop. The goal was to pack in as much amazing scenery as possible into 4 days of riding. Since it's really hard to turn around in Southern Utah and not bump into a great view it wasn't very tough to plan.

    I tried to recruit a gaggle of Chile Eaters for this but only 2 took the bait,
    AKASY
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    And NMDAVE7
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    MTech had planned to go but had to bail out at the last min, we rode the missing man formation for about 40 feet in his honor :lol3

    Just to show this was truly a Rockies kinda ride I talked DMAC1 into driving over from CO.

    DMAC1
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    The route took the four of us along some of the well known backroads; Notam, Burr Trail, Hells Backbone.

    Here's the track.
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    On the way out we passed Hite Marina, the water was at record lows. That was soon to change a bit.
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    The ride based out of Hanksville, we stayed at the Wispering Pines Motel, nice rooms and free breakfast. Good folks, they let us stage the trucks there during the ride :clap
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    #1
  2. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junkie

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    The plan was to ride over the Henry Mountains, then down Notam road, up the Burr trail through Long Canyon then across Hells Backbone to Escalante with a gas stop in Boulder.

    The Henrys are quite a contrast the rest of the area, 10K' Alpine Forests surrounded by the San Rafael desert to the North:

    The ride south out of Hanksville.
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    Canyonlands to the East and the Waterpocket Fold to the West:
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    Two National Parks (possibly 3 on a clear day) are visible from the summit.
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    Notam Road = fast dirt.
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    The Waterpocket Fold at the Burr Trail
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    #2
  3. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junkie

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    Don't forget to select HiDef :deal

    <iframe width="1280" height="720" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/kCU05memfHM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #3
  4. AtomicGeo

    AtomicGeo Chile Eater

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    Wow! Fantastic. I missed an epic ride. :cry


    :clap


    More please.
    :lurk
    #4
  5. papa_j

    papa_j Long timer

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    Nice!
    #5
  6. tuna101

    tuna101 Been here awhile

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    Very cool, the road looked pretty good and dry, I guess the rains didn't hit that area much. Thanks for sharing.
    #6
  7. Pariahtize

    Pariahtize Miscategorized

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    That is an awesome loop! I may contact you for details:D
    #7
  8. dmac1

    dmac1 Desert SW Luvr

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    Technically, some of our route was closed due to rains from the week before. It had been sunny since and the graders had been working so some of it was repaired.

    Then the rain hit us after day 2. Day 3 had lots of slippery mud on the OHV trails around Bryce. We had to skip some of the planned dirt on day 4 due to mud, but we got in some super scenic slab miles in lieu of it.

    We think the southern part of our route began washing out on our last 2 days and within a day after we left, I think the entire ride was flooded because all of SE Utah was in flood stage for all dry washes, slots, rivers, etc.

    Stay tuned for more pics!
    #8
  9. dmac1

    dmac1 Desert SW Luvr

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    Pics up through Burr Trail switchbacks:

    L-R: Dmac1, NMDave7, RideFreak, AKASY

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    On the way to the Henrys:

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    #9
  10. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junkie

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    We got really lucky with the weather, most of the route was still listed as CLOSED by the BLM but they had gotten a grader out on allot of it so the conditions were actually really nice, smooth, moist dirt an fairly cool temps so there was very little dust. As Dave mentioned, Day 3s ride was a interesting to say the least. Even still the rain wasn't a downpour, mostly some light drizzles so we knocked out 100mi. The day we drove home the skies opened up and it hasn't stopped as far as I can tell. This ride is better done in May like Todd and his crew did it.
    #10
  11. wbbnm

    wbbnm Long timer

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    Looks like another gread ride in southern Utah. Thanks for the pics and the report.

    I need to reread some of this. It is not clear what was open and what was not.

    Did you do Casto Canyon near Panguitch? If so how was it.
    We had planned to do that on our Grand Canyon trip in May but had to bail due to rain and mud.

    Also how was the road down from Cathedral Valley into Torrey? We planned to do that last fall, but one of the guys felt he wasn't up to it.
    Countdown had noted it was pretty rocky in his Great Western Trail tracks.


    As of now we are still planning on heading out that way this Wednesday to do some DS loops out of Blanding including the Elephant Hill area of Canyonlands.
    #11
  12. AKASY

    AKASY Noob

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    Here is a look at various parts of the ride. It is rocky down into Torrey--I'm working on a video, we when up that section. Don't recall Castro Canyon.
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    #12
  13. Blakebird

    Blakebird r-u-n-n-o-f-t

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    fantastic pics and great video, Chris - that looks like a great loop.

    been on a small part of it before, but never up into the Henry mtns - nice!
    #13
  14. dmac1

    dmac1 Desert SW Luvr

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    Heres a couple more from day 1:

    View along Devils Backbone:

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    Getting ready for a Death Ridge side trip:

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    #14
  15. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junkie

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    We drove right through there tues and it's pretty wet, rained the whole way, the valley at Comb Ridge was socked in with fog. All the washes were running strong, lots of standing water across the dez. You might want a backup plan :nod :deal
    #15
  16. selaznog

    selaznog Avoiding pavement

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    WOW :clap
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  17. AKASY

    AKASY Noob

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    <iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/i-A_qOq0-Fc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
    #17
  18. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junkie

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    Good thing you didn't bring the DR :huh
    #18
  19. RideFreak

    RideFreak Torque Junkie

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    Got the title wrong, this is the second half of day one.

    This place is called the Box-Death Hollow Wilderness. I heard it got that name from the livestock, once they wandered in, they were never seen again, no wonder.

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    The road and bridge were built in the '30s by the CCC to provide another way into Escalante.
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    Hells Backbone was easy forest roads.
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    The southern edge of the wilderness just before you get into Escalante.
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    Escalante
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    We shacked up at the Prospector. Decent place, nice folks.
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    Next Up: Smokey Mountain Road
    #19
  20. AtomicGeo

    AtomicGeo Chile Eater

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    Pack light when RF says it's a DS ride. :lol3

    #20