Utah Route Help

Discussion in 'The Rockies – It's all downhill from here...' started by Kodanja, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    Hey all. I'm doing a 7-8 day southern Utah "landscape photography" ride from Boise to Monument Valley mid-October riding a 1200GSA. I'll either get to Beaver or Cedar City the first day from Boise and proceed to Bryce Canyon and onward to Monument Valley. I plan on camping in the parks to catch the sunrise/sunset moments. I'm a skilled rider and dirt roads are ok.

    I'd like to take Burr Trail to Bullfrog but don't want to miss the rest of Hwy12 north of Boulder. After Monument Valley, I'd loop back through Hanksville to Torrey and visit Capitol Reef. Then start my way back to Boise north through the center of Utah.

    So, for the best photography, is the northern part of Hwy12 worth skipping to do Burr Trail?
    Is Burr Trail to Capitol Reef any good?
    Can you recommend a route north of Torrey on my way back to Boise? Hwy 31, 191, 35? I may have to slab it from SLC (at least to Snowville.)
    Any good camping spots along the way (other than the parks)

    With your help, I'll put the route together and post a route map later.

    Thanks!
    #1
  2. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    bump
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  3. FlagRS

    FlagRS Gone to the Dogs

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    Kodanja,
    12 north of Boulder is an awesome twisty mountain ride and fairly short, only 50 miles to Torrey. You could run up 12 from Boulder to the top (15 miles?) for some great photos looking east at the Henrys and south back over Boulder and Hells Backbone then back down to the Burr Trail. If it's a clear day it may be worth an hour up for some good shots.
    FlagRS
    #3
  4. rat734

    rat734 Michael 3 Lives

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    At the top of Mokie Dugway (Big cliff face with switchbacks as you drop into Mexican Hat) there is a turn off (dirt) for Muley Twist Overlook. In my opinion this overlook is one of the best of the West. You look right into the Goosenecks and can see Monument Valley. I rate it right up there with Dead Horse Point. Nice free range camping too.

    Don't miss the Valley of the Gods while you are right there.

    Enjoy your trip...:clap
    #4
  5. FatChance

    FatChance Road Captain

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    View from the top of Muley Point towards Monument Valley:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    #5
  6. KenR

    KenR Long timer

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    The Highway 12 north of Boulder is a really fun motorcycle ride, but if your main goal is landscape photography you wouldn't miss too much if you skipped it. Don't get me wrong - it's a beautiful ride on a twisty mountain road, but you wouldn't be stopping every few miles for big, scenic photo opportunities.

    The Burr Trail, on the other hand, is not only a fantastic ride, but full of photo ops. You'll have the option in Bullfrog of either taking a ferry across the lake, then riding the 276 to 95 and on into Hanksville via Natural Bridges National Monument, or skipping the boat ride and going straight to Hanksville. Personally having done both, I'd take the ferry if your schedule permits. Definitely hit Capitol Reef N.P. Torrey is a nice town to stay in - check out the Chuckwagon if you're ready for a night of no camping.

    Heading north out of Torrey, the must-do road is highway 72 from Loa to Fremont Junction. This is a road the hoons call 'Sweeper Madness' and it's a riot. The speed limit is 40 mph I think, but on the slim chance that you actually get popped by a ranger, the ticket will be worth it. I doubt you'd see a cop or even more than a car or two. Time to strap the gear down and rail this E ticket ride. A number of photo ops if you have the will power to actually stop.

    Jump on I-70 for a brief run up to the 10 - boring as hell until you get to Huntington but what follows will justify it.

    Take the 31 out of Huntington into the Manti - La Sal Forest. This is a road that's hard to keep your eyes on because the scenery is so incredible. You have the option of riding into Fairview and then to the 89 north which is nice, but I'd probably continue north on Skyline Drive to Highway 6, then into Spanish Fork and on up the Salt Lake Valley to Boise.

    Feel free to PM me if you need more information. Hope this helps.
    #6
  7. Signal

    Signal Cynical Idealist

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    Some thoughts:
    1. I 84 to Howell Ut, turn right onto hwy 83 south toward ATK/Thiokol/golden spike monument (83 becomes 102 and liks up with I 15 in Brigham City, cuts out a chunk of slab on a flat fast 2 lane)

    2. I 15 SOuth to Nephi, hwy 28 south at the south nephi exit through Gunnison/Salina/Sigurd to Hwy 24.........decent 2 lane, 70 mph more senic than slab........22 to Loa, Bicknell, Torrey Cap Reef.......down to hwy 12 etc...

    OR,
    from Sigurd head toward Fish lake Take "short cut" Hwy 62 South through Koosherm to Antimony that exits right at the North end of Bryce little to no traffic (cuts out the distance over west to Panguitch, shortens some of the Hwy 12 loop)....Salina to Bryce is 100 miles, 1.5 hrs tops....:clap
    #7
  8. monkeyman

    monkeyman Been here awhile

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    I'll second the recommendation of 72 from Loa. Absolutely amazing road. Many tar snakes this spring though, and a few cows around turns. Keep a sharp eye out.

    Here's a number of pics from Muley:

    http://grendel.smugmug.com/gallery/5536401_HJJCY#339074121_tojCJ

    You can get a great view of the valley from there:
    [​IMG]

    While you're in the Mexican Hat area, also hit Goosenecks State Park. Bring the widest frickin lens you have:
    [​IMG]

    Also, hit Valley of the Gods Rd:
    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=mexican+hat,+ut&ie=UTF8&ll=37.27296,-109.863453&spn=0.119116,0.152779&z=13

    to see stuff like this:
    [​IMG]

    while in Mexican Hat, this is a decent place to stay & eat:
    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    Thanks Guys! Some great suggestions that I'll be using and nice photos. Makes the trip more enticing.

    I'm thinking of coming down through Ely, NV (overnight) and over to Beaver, 153 to Junction, to Antimony and down to the north end of Bryce (overnight), then onward via 12 (u-turn at summit), Burr Trail to Bullfrog (take ferry) and then Monument Valley (overnight.)

    On the way back, via 95, side trip to Goblin park then Capitol Reef (overnight), Day trip through Cathedral Valley and overnight at Torrey. Take 72 to 31 into SLC (poss. overnight) and back to Boise with a stop at Golden Spike.

    Date is set for Oct. 20-26. Hope I don't run into snow. Tomorrow is a test ride to experience camping (first time from bike!) at City of Rocks, Idaho. I'd like to camp most of the nights on the Utah ride.

    Any additional comments based on this description?
    #9
  10. soewe812

    soewe812 Wag more Bark less

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    Camp at the free campground at Upper Cathedral valley for the sunset/sunrise. Even mo'betta than Torrey.
    #10
  11. rat734

    rat734 Michael 3 Lives

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    Bryce is high elevation and is already getting too cold to camp, for me anyway. I was thru there a couple of weeks ago and the night time temps were already dipping to near freezing. I went further and dropped down to Calf Creek (Boulder) for camping.

    Ruby's Inn has all types of lodging at Bryce. Just a short way past Bryce is Kodachrome Basin Park. They rent out those small cabins at a fair price.
    #11
  12. quota

    quota Been here awhile

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    City of Rocks has big goings on today. Sounds like one big party/celebration/festival to celebrate their 20th anniversary as a National Preserve.
    Have fun! I'm seeing if I can get enough things done to go camp there tonight as well.
    #12
  13. Signal

    Signal Cynical Idealist

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    "Bryce Canyon Pines"
    Excellent mod-priced hotel near Bryce (2 mi west on 12), or has camping on the other side of the road.......Also a very good cafe :gerg
    #13
  14. Signal

    Signal Cynical Idealist

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    Route will be fine :clap be safe :gerg
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  15. KenR

    KenR Long timer

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    I've got a ride planned with a small group on October 24-27th in some of the same area you'll be visiting.

    Fri. 10/24 we'll overnight in Torrey
    Sat. 10/25 Mexican Hat
    Sun. 10/26 Kanab

    Maybe we'll see you on (or off) the road.
    #15
  16. thetourist

    thetourist Just passing thru

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    There is small truck stop with food and a newer motel on hwy 50 at the Utah/Nev. line, near Baker. $50 if I remember correct. Great Basin Park is right there, also. 21 to Minersville is good. As is 131 to Cedar.

    Goosenecks, Moki Dugway, Valley of the Gods, all good.

    If you see the road to Bears Ears at least drive to the mesas (10 mi). A good overlook. There is a cool campsite, on the way up, that is on a projection over the valley.

    I really enjoyed 89a on the north rim of Grand Canyon. The cliff dwellers and Vermillion Cliffs were very scenic. Lots of variety on this road.

    Have a good trip
    #16
  17. UT Rider

    UT Rider Adventurer

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    After capital Reef, as suggested, take Highway 24 West to Loa. Then North on Highway 72 (turn toward Fremont) takes you over what is called Hogans pass. Connect up with I70, then take Highway 10 North. At Huntington Turn west again on Highway 31 (Fairview canyon). At Fairview, back track a few miles south on Highway 89 to Mt. Pleasant, then West to Highway 132. Watch for a small sign for a turn off North going West on Highway 132 that says "Nebo Loop". That will take you to payson. From Payson, go North to Provo, take Highway 189 Provo Canyon. Look for a turn off that says "Sundance". Go past sundance and over the Alpine Loop. That will drop you down Into Draper, then probaby just North on I15 the rest of the way up.

    Hopefully there won't be snow on the ground, and the leaves will still be colorfull.
    #17
  18. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    Thanks everyone! I appreciate the time you took to provide some great suggestions. A little snow would be nice (but not on the roads) so we'll see what happens. I'll follow up with a report.
    #18
  19. Hakatan

    Hakatan quality > quantity

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    Hey Kodanja. I'll be traveling some of those very roads in the middle of October (leaving Denver on the 12th)...perhaps our paths will cross out on the road.

    If you don't already own it, I strongly recommend you pick this book up before your trip:

    [​IMG]

    Photographing the Southwest Volume 1: a guide to the Natural Landmarks of Southern Utah and Southwestern Colorado by Laurent Matres. The book does a great job of identifying prime locations from which to shoot, and it is full of gorgeous photos to inspire you as well.
    This will be my first ride through Southern Utah. I can't wait.:clap
    #19
  20. Kodanja

    Kodanja Been here awhile

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    Thanks again guys for all the help!

    Hakatan - I just purchased the book! Thanks for the tip. I may be able to move my trip up a week heading out of Boise on the 13th. I'll post my final route/itinerary later on this thread. PM me if you like.
    #20