S. Utah - 276, Wilson Mesa, Hole in the Rock Road to Escalante

Discussion in 'West – California, the desert southwest and whatev' started by tommybender, Sep 28, 2004.

  1. tommybender

    tommybender Down Stroke

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    Has anyone ridden the Hole in the Rock Road in Southern Utah along the South-side of the Escalante River? I was thinking of riding 276 and cutting off across Grey and Wilson Mesa, across Lake Powell and on up to Escalante. I was curious as to road conditions along this route.

    Thanks
    #1
  2. 40MileDesertRat

    40MileDesertRat Born Again Pagan

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    I am leaving Las Vegas for the Four Corners area and down to Sedona, starting on Oct 9th. I had planned to travel Utah SR 12 with a second day stop at Hanksville, UT. SR 95 South to the Natural Bridges seemed to be the best road on my map.

    I like your route on 276 better. Ditto, is the road paved?
    #2
  3. 40MileDesertRat

    40MileDesertRat Born Again Pagan

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  4. tommybender

    tommybender Down Stroke

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    Sounds like a great ride, wish I could meet up in the desert with you. Here's a link from some 4x4 folks that drove to the Hole-in-the-Rock on Lake Powell from 276. The lower stretch of Rec Road 450 looks pretty rough. I was hoping there was some way to get across Lake Powell here and to continue up toward Escalante along Hole-in-the-Rock Road. It does not appear that it is possible to make it across Lake Powell here.

    Another option is to cross Lake Powell at Bull Frog and to ride the Burr Trail (70 miles) through the water pocket fold in southern Capital Reef and on up to Boulder, Utah. I've done this in my 2WD van. A great deal of it is paved, but they have left some dirt ( ~20 miles ), leaving it somewhat primitive.

    I have ridden 12 through Escalante --> Boulder (nice twisty road on top of canyon ridge) --> Torrey (beautiful) --> Hanksville (begin desolation > 100mph recommended on up to Green)

    4x4 pics of 276, Rec Road 450 and the Burr Trail

    http://abell.as.arizona.edu/~hill/4...h02/utah02.html

    Enjoy the ride and bring a camera!
    #4
  5. four-up

    four-up Distracted

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    Been a while, but if I understand what you're asking- 276 approaches Powell from the south. And the "South" Hole in the Rock" road splits off from 276 towards Grey Mesa about 10 miles before Hall's Crossing. It's about 30 miles in, and a serious 4-wheel road. You cannot cross Lake Powell there, in fact, just getting down to the Lake is not really an option with a vehicle, especially at current water levels (I just took out another prop last Friday in Bullfrog :cry ).

    You'll have to come back out the same way you went in, go to Hall's, take the ferry, then go up the Burr Trail road to Boulder, then 12 to Escalante. The "North" Hole in the Rock road is much more mellow except the very end. The decent to Lake Powell at the end of the road is scary for most even on foot. It's basically a slick rock gorge that they lowered wagons down via rope. There are side trips off the north road that take you to 12 or 89, but the terrain isn't as interesting. I'd recommend 12 pavement, Hell's Backbone over Boulder Mountain (watch for snow this time of year) for DS, and the Burr Trail for scenery. Have fun!
    #5
  6. 40MileDesertRat

    40MileDesertRat Born Again Pagan

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    It’s great to have the benefit of local knowledge from the membership. It’s hard to study a map and make the best planning decisions. The pictures of the 4 X 4's definitely takes the Hole in the Rock option off the table for me.
    What I am trying to do is to get a 7-day sampler of Southern Utah and the Four Corners area. The plan was to get to Hanksville from Escalante via SR-12 and SR-24. Then continuing from Hanksville, down SR-95 to Mexican Hat for a night on the town. I will be riding two-up with the wife on the trip. So, dirt is out and paved and scenic roads are in

    Given all that, what are your opinions on the most scenic and wife friendly route from Escalante to Mexican Hat.

    Also, plan to be in Escalante on Oct 12th. If you are in the area and headed the same way, let me know.
    #6
  7. dieter von hexhead

    dieter von hexhead I made a doodie...

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    Four up is right on the money, the hole in the rock road on the north side of the canyon is very mellow only the last 6 or 7 miles are tough (total length 56 miles) the actual "hole in the rock" is a tough hiking trail, (even tougher now that the lake is so much lower) lots of rock scrambling. Second his suggestion for a trip over hells backbone, really amazing. I'll try to round up some pics.
    #7
  8. four-up

    four-up Distracted

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    From Escalante (the locals say "Escalaant") take 12 to Boulder. First choice would be to take the Burr Trail, which, while not entirely paved, may as well be. I wouldn't hesitate taking it two-up, especially on a big dual-sport. The scenery will be worth it. That will dump you onto 276 near Bullfrog. There's a decent hotel (Defiance House Lodge) that overlooks Bullfrog. There's also a decent motel at Ticaboo, just a few miles north on 276. Take 276 north to 95, hang a right and head south. Both 276 and this stretch of 95 will be great tarmac :evil ! Hike around Natural Bridges for a bit. Unless you know something I don't, there's not a lot happening in Mexican Hat. If it were me with the wife, I'd stay on 95 to 163, then go north to Moab. Plenty of great places to stay, etc.

    And it sets you up for another awesome stretch of riding. From just North of Moab take 128 to Castleton Road. This will take you up the shoulder of the La Sal mtns. You can then take a graded road east through the La Sals, high but not to high, which drops you down John Brown Canyon and ultimately on 141 in Colorado. I've done that stretch two-up on the GS with no worries (slow down for cattle guards). 141 follows the Dolores and is absolutely awesome. Perfect turns and incredible scenery. As good as Utah 12 IMHO. Following 141 south will hook you up on 666 and down to Cortez & Mesa Verde. From there you can hit 4 corners, Monument Valley, etc, then come back up 95 or 276 (via the ferry at Halls) up to Hanksville. Take 24 through Capitol Reef to Torrey (check out the Red River Lodge for an awesome place to stay $$$). From there, you can take 12 south back to Boulder and Escalante, or head west on 24, then south on 62 to Antimony, UT, then 22 south to Ruby's Inn (also a great place to stay and good value). And if the weather's good, consider 14 from 89 to Cedar City.

    The recommendations above keep the graded to a minimum, and the scenery and privacy will more than make up for any dust (not a problem this time of year) or occasional washboards. And anything above 7K can easily get snow this time of year, so watch the forecast.
    #8
  9. 40MileDesertRat

    40MileDesertRat Born Again Pagan

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    I looked at the map and the Moab detour looks very look good. Adds a few miles to the trip, but I think that it will be worth it. Thanks.

    I'll defer my night-out in Mexican Hat for some other time. I thought that this was the place that they invented the dance by the same name. I guess I was wrong.

    Really, the only reason for going to M. H., was that I had very little information on motels in the area around the Natural Bridges. Mexican Hat looked interesting on the web, but I'll shorten the stage from SR-12 and stay near Bullfrog. This will leave time to visit the Natural Bridges.

    The entire trip is 1520 miles and I have some detour options if it snows north of Moab. I think that this is it for me.

    Bruce
    #9
  10. tommybender

    tommybender Down Stroke

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    Bummer on the prop and thanks for the info! I've never ventured down Rec Road 450 at all, so I'll plan a short down-and-back before venturing across Halls/Bull Frog. Burr Trail is always fun, even though they've paved way to many miles. Wish I had a chance to ride the 70 miles of dirt!
    Again, thanks for the insight. I'll have to check into the details around this Hell's Backbone portion of the ride. Many miles to explore ... :thumb
    #10