Utah's four wheel drive roads

Discussion in 'Americas' started by topazdog, Oct 27, 2010.

  1. topazdog

    topazdog Adventurer

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    I thought I had posted this already but didn't see it. Let me try it again...

    I just bought a 2009 vstrom 1000. I'm really interested in getting into adventure riding and want to tour the parks and monuments of utah next summer. I'd like to try out some of the four wheel drive roads like "Hole in the Rocks Road" and others. Have any of you ridden this road or others in the area? Can a vstrom 1000 navigate these roads (with yourself as the rider)?

    Thanks ahead of time,

    topazdog
    #1
  2. Hektoglider

    Hektoglider One with Life

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    theres a book written about all the 4 wheel drive roads through Utah and it covers level of difficulty, what there is to see along the routes as well as other pertinent advice. If you can get your hands on this book it would really benefit your planning. There is also one for Colorado. very good books.---- Rider skill.............----
    #2
  3. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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  4. Lone Rider

    Lone Rider Registered User

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    Tony Huegel , the author of Utah Byways, is on this site. I think he goes by the name 'byways'. Or something very close to that.
    He has an extensive series of Byways guidebooks.

    Using 4WD guides for bike travel - and vice versa - doesn't always work well. What may be a difficult section of trail for one type of machine, isn't necessarly difficult for the other.

    A 'V' notch might be a breeze for a 4-wheeled vehicle, but very dangerous for a big dual sport bike.
    A section of ledges might pose real problems for a 4WD, but the 2' wide path on one left could a smooth highway surface for a moto. Etc...

    Some guide books offer excellent descriptions of expected obstacles, with recommended lines.
    #4
  5. GOZFST

    GOZFST Gozfst

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    I rode a few of the trails out there on my F650 single a few years ago.My wife was on her TW200. It was TOUGH going on some of them. My buddy and his wife were on their ATV's.My biggest problem was the 650's first gear was too tall and I coudn't ride as slow as I wanted or needed to. I ended up bouncing over things I would have ridden around. The toghest was "Chicken Corner" I think that's the name. With the high heat and struggling with the speed I gave up and turned around. The Vstrom would not be my bike of choice, but I'm old and short. There is very little traffic on some of them and if you crash it might be quite a while before some one comes along. I would want company. Just my .02
    #5
  6. twoweels_mj

    twoweels_mj Twoweels_mj

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    http://www.treknow.com/

    I'm goning to try this for next years trip to Moab.

    It's really nice program.

    It has trails mapped and has rated them by difficulty and mileage etc.
    #6
  7. TwoShots

    TwoShots Vagabond

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    Best advice in the thread.

    The "Byways" book is useful if you're in a comfy 4WD. It's not wise to use it as a dualsporting guide. Least not in UT. At the very least the photos are misleading (all nice day photos on the most groomed sections of road). The author doesn't tell you those perfect conditions exist in very few spots and then only for about 3-4 weeks out of a year at best. You're suppose to read his disclaimers.

    I've lost count of how many HDs, Stroms, GSes, etc have come back from Hole In The Rock road in the back of a local pickup truck. Same for other area roads... Smokey Mountain road, Skutumpah road to name a couple.

    To answer your question, Topaz... YES a Strom can navigate these roads slowly and with a seasoned rider. Best with aired-down knobbies. Anticipate everything: Hellatious washboard, occasional sandy sections 2-4" deep and a quarter mile in length, water/flood washouts, etc.

    Going alone? Have a backup plan for getting out. It's a long walk back and help doesn't always come the same day you break down. The local BLM guys would tell you having 2-3 days worth of food and water is smart.
    #7
  8. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    I've wanted to ride that road sometime.

    What is it about Hole in the Rock Road that so many bikes have to be hauled out???

    :ear
    #8
  9. twoweels_mj

    twoweels_mj Twoweels_mj

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    Thanks for the good advise.
    Do you have any good suggestions on any roads/trails you really enjoyed that that you'd like to share?
    #9
  10. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    Burr Trail is fun... It runs from Boulder Utah to Bullfrog Marina on Lake Powell...

    Notom-Bullfrog Road is scenic, running through The Waterpocket Fold, but can be pretty sandy...

    Map of the area: http://www.nps.gov/carto/PDF/CAREmap1.pdf
    #10
  11. twoweels_mj

    twoweels_mj Twoweels_mj

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    Rocker59! Thanks for the info!

    Really appreciate it.

    We will try it in Late July/Aug 2011!

    MJ
    #11
  12. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    That's a pretty cool area...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Check out this old ride report of mine for more info on SE Utah: 2005 UT/CO/NM Ride Report
    #12
  13. fullmonte

    fullmonte Reformed Kneedragger

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    If you don't have experience riding a big bike in sand, things could turn out nasty for you. I struggled through and made it but would NOT do that again alone. It can go from shallow to deep in a hurry at the worst possible time, like going downhill into a corner, where you can't just pin it to lift the front tire.:eek1 Lesson learned with a dose of fight or flight adrenaline rush.:lol3

    edit: Here's my Moab RR from 2008. Skip to post #54 on page 4 to learn about which dirt roads are easy or not on a beasty bike.
    http://www.easttnriders.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23683&highlight=moab
    #13
  14. twoweels_mj

    twoweels_mj Twoweels_mj

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    Thanks for that!
    Yes, not that experienced in the sand.
    I took my wife with me last weeked and found some mini trails close to the Railroad tracks by our house
    That rock they use around the tracks was nasty!
    I was following the trail to where it met that stuff. Was 2 inch sized rock and was squishyer than heck! The wife was chattering like a squirrel on the back of the bike, we are going to fall!! We are going to fall!!
    We made it just fine for the 200 feet or so in that stuff.
    LOL
    #14
  15. eakins

    eakins Butler Maps

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    massey's book atleast gives rating on the trails so pick an easy one if that's the concern...
    it's the best thing out there until we release our dual-sport maps which will show if it's a big gs road.

    it's the rider at fault not the book or the bike.

    #15
  16. TwoShots

    TwoShots Vagabond

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    Slideouts on loose gravel leaving a rider with broken bones or other injuries. They can't ride the bike back to civilization because they're too busy trying to get medical attention, usually over 120 miles away if it's serious. Local recovery guys get the bike.

    According to local law enforcement and towing guys the primary cause of slideouts is too much speed. Most accidents occur within the first 10 miles... an area that is maintained under BLM contract to accommodate tourists in 2WDs heading to Devil's Garden at mile 18.

    Check the pic below. Looks easy, eh? It's graded, wide and ready for Devil's Garden traffic. It gets so much traffic that washboard is the norm. Then -and this is the bike killer- they dump jelly bean sized gravel on it twice a year. A lot of it. So, it becomes beans-on-washboard.

    [​IMG]

    A rider heads out for a 108 mile roundtrip, builds confidence and speed in the first few miles and suddenly dumps when hitting a thick patch of jelly beans in what looks like a harmless corner or sweep. Done deal.

    2nd most common cause for haul outs: Flats/bent rims.

    After getting medical attention, riders often find their bikes parked behind a gas station in Escalante or at The Desert Doctor's house.
    Meet Desert Doc. Heck of nice guy.
    He isn't a real doctor. He helps stranded or ill prepared motorcyclists.

    [​IMG]


    On the bright side-
    At mile 19 the road narrows signficantly and there is very little traffic until you reach the end. A mix of light sand, hard rock and maybe butter patches (mud) if it rained recently.

    Obstacle-
    This is near mile 49. The steepness and depth of the hill and rut doesn't come through in the picture. Best to walk it first. If you make it past this you'll be fine until the end at mile 54.

    [​IMG]


    Of course coming back down is always fun. :wink:

    [​IMG]

    Getting help-
    There is a good chance you'll be completely alone out there if it's a weekday. If you don't use a SPOT messenger, the BLM office in Escalante will be really happy if you check in and out with them. Second one down this page. They'll have a daily road conditons report and real-time weather. Very accurate.

    FWIW-
    I've done the road on a 12GS, KLR and DRZ-400. The DRZ is preferred.


    Sure do. Check back on Sunday. I have to find the pics.
    #16
  17. rocker59

    rocker59 diplomatico di moto

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    Thanks TS !!! :thumb
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  18. twoweels_mj

    twoweels_mj Twoweels_mj

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    Thanks for all the advise! Greatly appreciate it.
    Is there any link on the ADVrider site that might be of help when traveling in those areas. Safety measures etc. Safety plan etc.
    What's a Spot Messenger?
    #18
  19. TwoShots

    TwoShots Vagabond

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    Kind of scattered. Search the Trip Planning forums with patience and you'll find bits n' pieces. Good place to start.

    A true life saver...

    Company site.
    ADV SPOT threads.
    #19
  20. scarysharkface

    scarysharkface Imbecile

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    Thanks for posting all of that. Quite useful. :thumb

    As mentioned earlier, Burr Trail looks good. I've driven it in the Jeep and would love to ride it on the bike.

    John
    #20