Southwest Utah: Dual Sport Riding from St. George

Discussion in 'Day Trippin'' started by RedRockRider, Sep 16, 2011.

  1. bfilk

    bfilk Bfilk

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    RRR, Conditions were great, We saw small melting patches of snow on the south side of Mt Trumbull (BLM road #5) but on the north side (BLM road #717) it was totally dry. As for the ride back from Whitmore Canyon, didn't start back until 5:30 so the headlight got used plenty. The ride out of Whitmore was rugged and slower but made it back to StG before 8pm with 260 miles clocked. Riding back with a questionable headlight and tinted goggles was interesting. Beautiful country, definately worth the ride.
  2. eveRide

    eveRide ADV

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    Hi again, guru of the red rock! I have a few friends who may be flying out from Maui to ride dual sports around southwest Utah. First of all, I was wondering if you'd like to join us. Second, of all of your amazing rides, what rides would you recommend most to show off the area down here? So far I've found time to explore the area off of Navajo Road and ended up in Santa Clara, but for many of the other trails I haven't had a wing man and questioned the range of my bike.
    Oh, and I promise if we ride together I won't be wearing such bold attire :evil No promises on the dancing. :rilla
  3. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Hey eveRide - Friends coming in from Hawaii to ride. Very nice. Let me know when this is all happening. If I'm around I'll try and get free. I'll be leaving town for about 10 days (school break). Back in later March. Typically, my easiest days for riding are weekdays, about 10 am after kid is to school. Some rides on weekends, but this is usually family time.

    So, good areas to ride . . .
    1) Toroweap. It is a long ride (all day) and you need to plan for gas. But, the view of the Grand Canyon is first class. Riding to and from is lots of fast dirt. Scenic, but not overwhelmingly interesting. On page one I have an index of rides. Post #92, page 7. This will at least give you an idea.

    Toroweap is more a "destination" for your buddies from out of town who probably haven't been there before.

    2) Anything leaving Navajo Drive in Bloomington and gaining elevation. Best is to look over the Virgin River Gorge, then drop down onto the Mojave Desert Scenic Backway (dirt). Exit to pavement on old Highway #91, either by Shivwits Indian Reservation or on backside of Utah Hill near AZ. Post #44 on page 3.

    You can make the Navajo Drive rides anywhere from 2 hours to most of the day. Lots of loops and variations possible. Generally no need for gas. Good views and good riding. No threat of mud. Toroweap ride near Mount Trumbull likely still quite muddy.

    I was on the AZ Strip near Oak Grove yesterday and it was very muddy. :cry Burned up too much time. Couldn't get out to Twin Points without running up against the clock.

    3) Last area is probably still too early in the season. Major mud threat (possible snow banks on north slopes). Area around Upper Enterprise Reservoir. Post #443, page 30. Pinnacles. Good variety of dirt road/tracks in this area. Better in Spring, Summer or Fall.

    We should be looking to organize a few St. George area inmate rides . . . April and May are good riding months!
  4. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Big ride yesterday. My KLR buddy couldn't make it, but the weather was nice (but windy). I was set to go by 10:30 am. Intended destination was Twin Points, a Grand Canyon Overlook. 110 miles from St. George.

    I came up about 5 miles short. Too much mud and the clock was starting to work against me. Needed to be back to St. George by 6 pm. So when I hit my turn around time, that was it. Twin Points will be there for the next time.

    Here's the AZ Benchmark Map. Left this on the counter so my wife would know where to look . . . had my SPOT with me if this would become necessary. SPOT is a good idea for the AZ Strip.

    St. George is ~25 miles north of Wolf Hole, off the top of the map. River Road exit from the new Southern Parkway.

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    I didn't make the detour to Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse. Just stayed on the Mount Dellenbaugh Road south from Diamond Butte. Saw one truck on the road all day. That's it. No help out here. Hit serious mud in Oak Grove. Continued south on #1019 into Grand Canyon National Park. Probably turned around just south of the 1019 mark on the map. No views. :cry

    Total round trip mileage from St. George was just over 200. Didn't get great gas mileage on the WRR. Too heavy on the throttle on the dirt highways, too much spinning in the mud, and very strong winds most of the day. Carried lots of extra fuel. Probably averaged about 70 mpg, perhaps a bit less. Good to have extra fuel.


    First pic on the road. Wolf Hole. At the turn west to Black Rock Mountain (Elbow Canyon) and Rt #101 (Mud Mountain Road). My route continues straight south. High speed mileage at this point.

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    New gear for the bike. Long overdue. Should help with that tiny bet of extra speed or traction, whatever is needed. :clap

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    The main dirt highway through MainStreet Valley. Starts as #1069 leaving the River Road exit. Same road. The signage on the ground doesn't correspond with Benchmark. The Grand Canyon-Parachant Map from the BLM is better with road numbers, but lacks detail. Both maps are worth having. :deal

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    Mirror shot. Southbound through MainStreet Valley.

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    Turning on to #103 the Mount Dellenbough Road. This is about 12 miles before the Mount Trumbull Schoolhouse. Once you leave the main dirt highway you are pretty much on your own. The main road sees some traffic to and from Toroweap and the Bar 10 Ranch. Help would probably come along at least a few times a day. Not so once you make the turn. Check your SPOT.

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    Still a very good road. Just a few more turns and elevation changes to keep things interesting. Scenic and vast!

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    Probably crossed 25 cattle guards. Every one had the Bicycle warning sign. Really?? Our tax dollars . . . Most of these are 50-100 miles deep into the Strip with no water for miles. There just can't be that many cyclists out here. And you'd think by the time they crossed the 10th gate they'd be good to go for all that followed . . .

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    The mighty WRR crosses the gate without problem. I actually have seen cyclists out on the Strip, but only the roads to/from Toroweap.

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    More miles and you enter the National Monument. Impressive sign. Road is still fast and smooth, but gradually deteriorating. Common theme on the Strip. Further south you go . . . road conditions decline. Also further south is generally higher elevation and more prone to snow and mud. And rockier depending on the area. The fastest miles on the Strip are closer to St. George, Kanab, and Mesquite.

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    Good signs. Never been through Hidden Canyon. Have to check it out on a future ride. Also called the Nutter Twists Road.

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    Road starting to have soft spots and show lots of ruts. Some like tank traps. Have to slow down and pick the right line. No rut jumping at speed out here.

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    Beautiful alpine lake, AZ-Strip style. Lots of the water holes looked low.

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    Cool road markers. Still on #103 heading south towards Oak Grove.

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    Getting closer. Getting deeper into the Strip. This would be 140+ mile roundtrip, beyond the tank range of my stock WRR without extra gas onboard. Beautiful blue skies, but still windy.

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    Typical section of road. If you like riding these types of roads then the AZ Strip is for you. :clap

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    Only one gate. Very nice latch. Reasonable rules.

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    Another intersection with a dirt road heading west towards the Grand Wash Cliffs area. Still no significant mud, but I passed one truck returning from Oak Grove. Said he couldn't make it through to the small seasonal fire station. Was afraid of getting stuck. Nice guy. So I knew the mud was coming.

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    I made good time to this point. Left fork goes to Mount Dellenbaugh and eventually to Kelly Point. This is a long, slow road. Never been there, but read the jeeper reports online. My road to Twin Point is to the right.

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    Road is now #1019. #103 continue to Kelly Point.

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    Once you are in the big trees with lots of shade, the snow and mud start. Here's the beginning of it. This is about 6,000 ft elevation, at least 3,000 feet higher than St. George. Lots of shade = lots of mud.

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    Here's my new front tire. Everything was passable (with care), but time started to disappear. You wouldn't want to drive the bike into a mud bog out here. Solo. No buddy to help you drag it out. Sticking the bike here would likely mean a cold night, even if the SPOT did bring help. It wouldn't arrive until the next am. Have a nice sleep. :eek1

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    Cool sign. Lots to explore. Never knew about Snap Point. Is it reachable? Have to come back with more time and gas.

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    Entering Grand Canyon National Park or Lake Mead National Recreation Area, not sure which one. New rules, although I'm not sure who's around to enforce them. Perhaps its different in summer. Right now it's no man's land. Road keeps declining. Perfect for inmates on ADV bikes. This is no longer road bike territory we left that a while back.

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    More and more mud. And some snow. I did a bit of cross country work to avoid the worst of it. But, time had run out. I know I was close . . . but also didn't want to be late getting back home. Darling wifey had a girls night out and I had kid duty including a pick-up from a karate class. Back-up plans were all in place, but I didn't want them to have to kick into gear.

    Plus I knew that if I pressed on to Twin Point I'd kill at least a few more minutes with the camera before leaving. Didn't want the temptation. Time to turn. So I did.

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    Here's what I missed. Ride report from 413-45, a local inmate. Thanks, 413-45. :wave

    http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=587588


    While I'm grabbing links, here's the BLM page: http://www.blm.gov/az/st/en/prog/recreation/ohv/gc_overlook.html

    One BLM guy I know described the route to Twin Point as a "dirt highway" the whole way. Most of it sure, but not the last part south of Oak Grove. Mud is a stopper. Even in dry conditions there's going to be some slower bits close to the rim. Plan on a full day for this roundtrip.


    Big tree starting back. Some nice two track. A dry section with direct exposure to the sun.

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    Once you hit the large trees again, it is swamp city. Creative route finding helped avoid the worst of it.

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    Here's what the tires looked like. Not so good for steering or traction. :lol3

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    Once I got out of the mud it was 82 relatively fast miles back to St. George.

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    Look inside my bags. Extra gas. 5 liter bottles in my side bag plus a gallon in the tailbag. Probably had an extra gallon uneeded. But you don't want to be limping back to St. George on reserve coasting on all the downhills and nursing the throttle to make it. That's no way to live. Carry extra gas when going deep on the Strip. Extra water is a good move also. You can live for a long time without food. :D

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    Back to the intersection at Diamond Butte with Rt. #5, the main dirt highway. Still 47 miles to St. George. But at least here you might get help from a passerby if necessary. Of course, it might not be until morning . . .

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    The bumps and speed and washboard had knocked a lot of the dirt off my bike, but I was still sporting a bit of that Oak Grove Mud, complete with pine needles. Wife noticed some on my pants also. :wink:

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    Coming back into Wolf Hole. This small pass has the same names as my son and wife. I'll ask them if this pass was named for them. I'm sure they be pleased . . . Son says: "Daddy is chasing cows on his motorcycle on the AZ Strip again." Wife says: "Yes, it's boy time. Just like Mommy goes to book club with her girlfriends." All is right with world.

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    Last pic of bike just before descending to asphalt at River Road. Beautiful late afternoon light, about 5:30 pm. About 6 hours, 200 miles. Great trip, even though Twin Point will have to wait for another day.

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    Thanks for riding along. And thanks for all the positive comments and PMs. Be safe out there! :D
  5. ringokelly

    ringokelly Adventurer

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    RRR awesome report! I have headed out there many times solo but never far enough to matter. Now I bought my SPOT I am a bit more gutsy. Next time I am down maybe we can head out there again...love to tag along. Thanks for the report! See you in a few weeks...:clap
  6. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Hey Kelly - Yeah. Toroweap is probably the first place we should ride if going "deep" on the Strip. Threat of mud should be gone in a few weeks. Round trip is over 150 miles. Need to think about carrying extra gas. See you around --- RRR.

  7. ringokelly

    ringokelly Adventurer

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    Speaking of which, what containers do you use for fuel?? I don't have bags as you know but thinking of throwing some bottles or ? in my backpack..??
  8. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Backpack with a few bottles will work. I use MSR bottles or a simple 1 gallon plastic jug. A few pics in the last post. I've got you covered if need be. Lots of options. :D San Francisco bound with the family via cage . . . :wave
  9. ringokelly

    ringokelly Adventurer

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    Cool....Enjoy San Fran and I'll check with you in a couple of weeks....
  10. Bob

    Bob Formerly H20Pumper

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    Hey RRR, great time to hit the Bay Area, weather is supposed to be great!
    Have fun.
  11. BigDogAdventures

    BigDogAdventures Fart Letter

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    Mr. Red Rock Rider----------if you think I've not still been riding along with you ???

    You'd be wrong :D:D:D:D:D

    BigDog
  12. NSFW

    NSFW ktm's "the tourist"

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    finally caught up. thanks rrr.

    there's a very good chance we will be in your back yard again on may 24-30. similar ride we did last year. from mesquite to elbow canyon ? to toroweap. then to kaibab and north rim.

    i know, there are at least 3 ways to get to cr5 from mesquite.

    if we decide not to do elbow canyon, 2 routes in mind. gold butte or this one near black rock
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    most likely you already did both. any preference?. we will all be loaded with camping gear and fuel.

    if you're free, let's hook up.
  13. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Hey Joel,

    Thanks for invite. I'll be on a cruise in late May. Next time. Keep in touch when you head this way.

    Five ways to get to AZ Strip from Mesquite:
    1) Gold Butte Road via Whitney Pockets and Whitney Pass.
    2) Lime Kiln Canyon - direct from Mesquite.
    3) Elbow Canyon - steep and loose.
    4) Black Rock Road Exit (1-15), Gypsum Mine, Maple Canyon -- this is your photo
    5) River Road and south on BLM #1069 or County Highway 5. This is the main route south from St. George to Mt. Trumbull Schoolhouse.

    If coming from So Cal and staying in Mesquite, I would opt for Gold Butte or Lime Kiln. :D Both are scenic and completely doable on loaded bikes. Elbow Canyon is tough as you know. :eek1

    Choice 4) Maple Canyon is nice, but the problem is you have to ride I-15 up through the Gorge. Not bad as interstate goes, but certainly not dirt. Same for choice 5). Ride I-15 to new Airport Road exit on south edge of St. George. Both 4) and 5) require about 30 miles of I-15 through the Virgin River Gorge. You can avoid some of it by using frontage roads and a bit of dirt, but there is no work-around for the section of I-15 from Cedar Pockets north to the Black Rock Road exit. About 10 miles of I-15 that can't be avoided. :deal

    Check out Post #279 on Page 19 for good detail and maps of Choice 4) Maple Canyon.
    Post #391 on top of Page 27 shows Lime Kiln Canyon and Rt. #101 past Mud Mountain. Map also shows dirt on north side of I-15 to Cedar Pockets.

    I rode #101 from Wolf Hole over Whitney Pass and exited via Whitney Pocket onto Gold Butte Road earlier today. I'll post up pics shortly.

    If you haven't done Whitney Pockets / Whitney Pass (this is Gold Butte Road), I'd opt for this route. Road is in good repair the entire way. Some sandy patches near Mud Mountain. Plan on taking some time, perhaps 4-5 hours from Gold Butte to Wolf Hole via Whitney Pass and #101.
  14. Desertwater

    Desertwater whaler

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    Red rock. I do not mean to hijack your thread but you have such a large following I figured this was a good place to redirect people to the Rocky Mountain regional forum for a weekly DS ride out of Hurricane on Saturdays. Check it out. It would be great to meet you and you're dad as well as some of your post readers.
  15. NSFW

    NSFW ktm's "the tourist"

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    :thumb

    lots of helpful info. 2 years back, we tried limekiln and hit a section filled with rocks (storm erosion) have to turn around. we were loaded with gear on big bikes. we will have camping gear again, and maybe this time it will be a lot better.

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    thanks rrr.

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  16. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    All inmates and lurkers welcome to join. :D

    Dual Sport Ride to Toroweap, Thursday, April 4th. Leaving St. George about 10 am.

    Ride out past Mount Trumbull Schoolhouse, continue over to Toroweap Overlook, probably return via Colorado City (gas). Bring food, water, and gas. Need 180-200 mile range. Toroweap is by far the most spectacular overlook point on the North Rim. Easy dirt, most of it quite fast and smooth. Nothing technical. Still not good for road bikes. :deal

    Plan to spend most/all of the day. Bike must be street legal to enter Grand Canyon National Park and see overlook. No fees.

    Post up or pm if interested. :ear

    Detailed info in Post #92 near top of page 7. http://advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=725976&page=7


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  17. Questor

    Questor More Undestructable

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    Wow.
    I just found this thread. :clap
    I love the SW corner of Utah and have only just begun to explore it.
    This thread is going to be a fantastic resource.
    Thank you for taking the time to post all this.
    You wouldn't have GPS files for all this would you?

    I'm going to be spending many days tracing these routes on a map.
    This is going to be great!
    Q~
  18. RedRockRider

    RedRockRider Long timer

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    Hey Q -- Sorry, no GPS. Guess I'm just an old map guy at heart. Like looking at Benchmark at home, planning out possibilities. Then doing the exploring out in the real world. Usually I carry extra gas if I'm not sure of a route. Checking out new places is always fun. Leads to some nice surprises. Dad has GPS but often hardier to navigate with it vs. old school maps and roadside signage. Lots of AZ Strip rides actually have decent markings. --- RRR.
  19. mountainfever

    mountainfever Adventurer

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    Hi RRR , been lurking through your thread for a couple years , will be in your neck of the wood from the 30th till the 6th we will be staying in Mesquite and day riding out of there , we did get to Toroweap last year , might se you there , if you are out and about stop by the Virgin river hotel , we will be near the back somewhere , about thirteen of us so should be easy to spot
    mf
  20. ram350

    ram350 Adventurer

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    Just found this post. If you are at the Virgin River I will stop by for a beer as I will be there at the same time. :rofl:rofl:rofl:evil. See you there Dal.