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Old December 17th, 2004, 17:33
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HA,, almost



HA!
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Old December 17th, 2004, 18:02
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Re: HA,, almost

dude thats nothin
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Old December 17th, 2004, 19:49
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Re: HA,, almost

Do you always follow me?.



Oh, thats right you do...
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Old January 16th, 2005, 19:44
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TRAIL RATING SUMMARY

3-D Trail 3 The 3-D Trail tours the vicinity of colorful Hidden Canyon and Brink Spring, northwest of Moab. It visits the canyon bottom and canyon rim, and, finally, a higher overlook of the area (hence the name 3-D). A few of the hills have been known to challenge stock vehicles, but most of the tour is pleasant, scenic, family four-wheeling. Approximate mileages: 59 total, 28 off highway.
Scenery: This canyon country looks different from Moab Valley with its sheer Wingate Sandstone rimmed cliffs. 3-D visits canyons that are a few hundred feet deep in the smooth, red-and-white layers of Entrada Sandstone, and the slickrock areas are made up of the white layer that caps the Entrada. Vistas are to the north toward the Book Cliffs.
Road Surface: There are some two-track dirt sections, a little slickrock, a sandy and maybe wet washbottom, and some rock/dirt mixtures with a few ledges.
Obstacles: Not far beyond Courthouse Rock is Airport View Hill where a few stock vehicles that still carry highway tire-pressure may try more than once. Hidden Canyon bottom is very sandy but is usually not difficult. The slickrock fields of Lunar Canyon and upper Brink Canyon are interesting but not steep. The climb out of the upper canyon first encounters The Wall, which looks like a rock wall to the uninitiated but is usually climbed easily by stock vehicles. Just past The Wall is Mean Hill, which climbs about 200 feet in two steep sections with a gentler slope in between. The first steep section has an eroded, low-traction bypass that we would rather avoid because its use is destroying the main trail where they meet. The final climb on Mean Hill looks worse than it is because it is on a "hogback" with a drop-off either right or left, but the sight of it encourages everyone to make a good running start, and it has never given much trouble.

Behind the Rocks 4+ The land "Behind the Rocks" is an elevated area south of Moab bounded roughly by the Moab Rim cliffs and the rim of Kane Springs Canyon, which is still farther south and west. The trail follows the most difficult of the several routes in this region, and gets its renown and its high rating mostly for White Knuckle Hill. Going down the hill is scary enough, but be prepared for a long wait and a good show while some see if they can climb it. It may be the most difficult hill hereabouts that is ascended with any frequency, although the frequency is diminishing as it erodes.
Scenery: The rock layers behind the Moab Rim slope downward, and a virtually impenetrable area of Navajo Sandstone domes and fins is in view most of the time. Canyons, including lovely Hunters Canyon, are cut into older layers. Balcony Arch, Picture Frame Arch, and Pritchett Arch (a distant view) may be seen; other arches and bridges are nearby.
Road Surface: Most of the road is sandy dirt with occasional rock outcrops. To get in and out of the many small canyons is to take a bumpy trip over sandstone ledges.
Obstacles: There is a warm-up hill soon after leaving the highway and numerous minor canyon crossings before reaching High-Dive Canyon. This very steep, rough descent is a short walk upstream from a "high-dive" pouroff into a lovely pool. The climb out of the small canyon can be either via a tricky ledge or the difficult "Upchuck Hill." A few interesting miles farther is White Knuckle Hill, which descends some huge steps from a plateau area to a lower bench.

Tip-Toe Behind the Rocks 3.5 This trail tours the "Behind the Rocks" country without need for a vehicle that is modified from its original condition. It avoids the very difficult and the very easy routes but passes near the hills at High Dive Canyon and White Knuckle Hill for the amazement of those who keep their driving at the 3-rated level. The tip-toe routes intersect the difficult version of Behind the Rocks, and even share a few miles of easy trail portions, but the portions that are exclusive to this trail are especially scenic. The difficulty rating was raised a half point a few years ago because of continuing erosion of some rocky descents where we usually have to re-arrange rocks every trip. Approximate mileages: 53 total, 33 off highway.
Scenery: The rock layers slope downward behind the cliffs, and the virtually impenetrable Navajo Sandstone domes and fins of the Behind the Rocks Wilderness Study Area are in view most of the time. Balcony Arch, Picture Frame Arch, and Pritchett Arch may be seen at a distance (but close-up on Monday). There is a spectacular (usually dry) pour-off of Hunters Canyon with a small natural bridge above a pool and hanging gardens that are fed by perennial dripping springs.
Road Surface: Most of the road is sandy dirt with occasional rock outcrops.
Obstacles: There are a few minor drainage crossings that have exposed rock ledges requiring a bit of technique to climb with stock equipment. The downhill route into Hunters Canyon may require some rock positioning to carry stock vehicles. Even so, the sound of metal-on-rock will be common.

Chicken Corners 2 The trail name dates from older days when only the least "chicken" passed Chicken Corners. Travel is easier, but it remains as scenic as ever. The trail follows the Colorado River downstream, squirms through lower Kane Springs Canyon, climbs and then descends the "Cane Creek Anticline" (spelling of the name is in dispute) over Hurrah Pass, and rejoins the river, a few hundred feet above it this time. The end of the vehicle trail is directly across the river from Dead Horse Point.
Scenery: Following the Colorado River canyon is a special treat in this area where it cuts deeply through a variety of rock layers. Lower Kane Springs Canyon is even deeper and much narrower. The climb to Hurrah Pass reveals another part of the Colorado River canyon - much wider than before and more than 2,000 feet below the mesa tops. The Hurrah Pass portion winds along over dark-red sandstone layers and occasionally overlooks startling precipices. There is an unusual limestone arch at the roadside. The final mile is on a bench about 400 feet directly above the river.
Road Surface: The road begins as gravel but becomes mostly red dirt and sand with the occasional appearances of sandstone bedrock.
Highlights: There are petroglyphs (ancient rock art) at the roadside. The ford of Kane Creek ranges from dry to window-deep (impassable after a real storm). The stop at a mound of especially red rocks visits some unusual caves caused by erosional undermining of hard sandstone layers. Chicken Corners is a point where the benchland pinches down to a narrow passage that tips toward the river 400 feet below.

Cliff Hanger 4+ This trail is the only vehicle route onto Amasa Back, a rather high isolated area bounded by Kane Springs Canyon, Hurrah Pass, Jackson Hole, and a big loop of the Colorado River. The trail was up-rated to 4+ recently because several of the rocky ledges have become very difficult, even with top equipment. If Kane Creek is full, the crossing can become impassable. The views, however, are unusual and spectacular all the way up the side of Kane Springs Canyon. Farther along, the trail is high above the canyon of the Colorado River. There are some petroglyphs and other evidence of early visitation.
Scenery: As you climb along the base of the sheer cliff walls of Kane Springs Canyon, the Behind-the-Rocks fins and La Sal Mountains come into view. The cliff edge looks into Jackson Hole, an abandoned river course with a central butte. A spur leads to a spectacular Colorado River view toward Moab. The farthest viewpoint, atop a sheer cliff, has a long vista down the river and is a great cliff-edge picture point.
Road Surface: Most of the road surface is rock. It crosses various sandstone layers that create difficult stair-step ledges. There is some sand, some dirt amid the rock layers, and some fairly level slickrock.
Obstacles: The trail gets your attention immediately as it descends a cascade of rock ledges from the Kane Creek Road to the creek bottom and climbs out again over nasty rock ledges. The creek crossing can range from dry sand through quicksand to deep water, depending on recent weather. The steep, irregular ledges require good clearance and maneuverability. A switchback farther along includes a bouldery climb that calls for the best of man and machine. On the cliff-edge section, one rocky ledge is especially vexing; the only room for error is a 300-foot vertical drop. There are no bypasses for these obstacles.

Copper Ridge 3 This trail is a combination of several roads north of Moab and near the western boundary of Arches National Park. It lies east of the Moab Fault, so is in younger rock formations than many of our trails. Its slickrock is the top of the Entrada Formation, and its views are often of erosions into that formation. Prominent scenic exposures are in an area called Klondike Bluffs; you may have seen a preview on your way here from Highway 191. Some of the roads are on the softer Morrison Formation, which can be impassably slippery when wet. In case it is completely dry, most of the trail could have a lower rating, but there are eroded trail portions that can challenge stock vehicles. Approximate mileages: 64 total, 35 off highway.
Scenery: The trail goes to an unexpected and beautiful pour-off into lower Sevenmile Canyon and follows near that canyon rim to the junction with Courthouse Wash where it has cut into the Entrada Formation. The Klondike Bluffs exposure of white-capped red rock towers and canyon walls are at a moderate distance. There is a good view of Tower Arch, and some other arches are seen at a distance.
Road Surface: Most of the trail is dirt and rocky dirt, but there are a couple of long stretches of slickrock, and some broad, sandy washbottom.
Highlights: After a brief ride in sandy Courthouse Wash, the trail goes near colorful hills that have yielded dinosaur bones. Toward the end of the day, some nicely exposed dinosaur tracks may be visited on foot. Following the main section of slickrock are two steep climbs on eroded dirt and rock. It also passes a few fading remnants of a movie set used in the 1960's film "Blue" with Ricardo Montalban.

Crystal Geyser 3 The Crystal Geyser trail will begin in Moab and finish near Green River for the convenience of those departing in that direction. The trail locale is south of Green River town and east of the river. The country is colorful and beautiful in a desolate way. The route passes near Dubinky Well and the "rainbow rocks" country on the way to Salt Wash, Little Grand Wash, and seldom-used mining trails through the stark slopes of the Morrison formation. Most of the trail is quite easy, but a few gullies and rocks could trap vehicles with poor clearance.
Scenery: The always beautiful Entrada Sandstone layers are especially colorful in the rainbow rocks area. The Morrison slopes are fully as colorful but the soft material supports few sheer cliffs. Those of us who have never been on the moon suppose it might look like this - but with less color.
Road Surface: The sandy roads near rainbow rocks yield to dry-weather-only clay and shale residues later in the trail. There are some rocky washbottoms and numerous cross-cutting gullies.
Highlights: Short, steep climbs near rainbow rocks and Duma Point will test some stock vehicles. The old mining roads nearer Green River have accumulated some sizable rocks that will cause everyone to watch wheel placement and fear for low-hanging parts. Crystal Geyser is one of the region's several man-made bore holes that tap cold water and CO2 to yield occasional, but spectacular, geyser action (about twice a day).

Dome Plateau 3 Dome Plateau is a large highland area north of the Colorado River and east of Arches National Park. To reach the region from Moab, one must travel more than 25 miles of highway to enter either from U.S. 191 on the west, I-70 on the north, or UT 128 just beyond Dewey Bridge on the east. The southern highlands are forested with pinyon and juniper and are cut by canyons. The nearby Poison Strip and Yellowcat areas are the locales of many old vanadium and uranium mines. The "3" rating is a compromise between the very easy parts and one hill that may require strapping some vehicles (or a circuitous bypass). Approximate mileages: 98 total, 30 off highway.
Scenery: The trail goes up the Colorado River to leave the highway just past the Dewey Bridge. It follows below the line of Entrada Sandstone cliffs that have three noteworthy arches in the first few miles. The plateau slopes upward to the south but is broken by canyons, two of which are crossed on the way to the prime viewpoint high above the Colorado River. The trail route returning northward views distant arches in Arches National Park and passes near La Boca Arch. Some interesting sandstone caves may be visited.
Road Surface: Most of the trail is dirt. The eastern part is sandy, rocky, and bumpy. One hill has rock ledges and loose rock. There are about 30 miles of paved access road at each end of the trail.
Highlights: The Colorado River Canyon is an exceptional sight both from along the river and from the cliffs 1,700 feet above it. "Again-and-Again Hill" is one rocky, ledgy climb after another, but your leader may offer a guided bypass.

Elephant Hill 3.5 Ordinarily, the National Park Service likes to keep its trails readily available to the public and not cluttered with large groups. Once again we plan to use this trail under controlled conditions on two weekdays. The trail enters the beautiful small canyons, called "grabens," in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park and is renowned for its challenge to stock vehicles. Because of limited parking at the trailheads, the groups will be divided into two sections each having a short scenic hike. One section will walk the Joint Trail, a fascinating narrow and deep crack in a rock layer, and the other section will walk to an overlook of the confluence of the deeply entrenched Colorado and Green Rivers. Departures will be at 8:00 a.m.
Special Considerations: The trail requires more highway driving than most day trips - about 75 miles each way. Vehicles should be capable of maintaining 55 MPH highway speed. It is best to plan for enough fuel to complete 175 miles of travel, although gasoline is available at the Needles Outpost. The Park Service will require that a normal entrance fee be paid and that all National Park regulations be followed (the trail is within the park's "backcountry plan," and pets are not allowed even if they are inside vehicles). The 2004 fee will be $10 per vehicle, but annual permits, Golden Eagle Passports, or Golden Age Passports may be used. The optional hikes are about one-half mile each way and require some minor rock scrambling. No long wheelbase (more than 115 inches), please.
Scenery: The tall cliffs lining the rivers are similar to those seen near Moab. Most of the surface rock formations, however, are of the Cedar Mesa Sandstone, which produces the spectacular colors of the canyons, spires, and balanced rocks that give the Needles area its name.
Road Surface: The ridge crossings are mainly rock ledges while the roads in the bottom of the grabens are mostly fine powder laced with a few rocks.
Obstacles: Elephant Hill itself has difficult climbs in both directions - even after cement was added to some ledges to obviate the need for chinking them with loose rocks. There are other ledges between grabens, and a little slickrock at the Silver Stairs.

Fins and Things 3.5 The "fins" are the Navajo Sandstone slickrock northeast of Moab, and the "things" are what remains as the fins erode. The fins started as wind-blown sand dunes some 200 million years ago, they got cemented into sandstone, and they are now going full circle back to sand blowing in the wind. The trail is reached via the Sand Flats Road, and the territory it covers is the rolling country east of the Hell's Revenge trail and between Negro Bill Canyon and North Fork of Mill Creek Canyon. (Sand Flats is now a fee area for individual visitors, but because this event pays a land-use fee, the Easter Jeep Safari trips pay no additional fee.) There are a few sudden and steep climbs on and off the slickrock that can be difficult for vehicles with long overhangs. Any tire tread will do on the slickrock, but the clearance added by tall tires is always an advantage, while an aggressive tread helps in the sand. Approximate mileages: 25 total, 13 off highway.
Scenery: The views near and far are exceptionally scenic. The Navajo mounds and fins are themselves interesting, and the deep canyon system of Negro Bill adds a special dimension. Farther to the east are the red mesa rims at the base of the snow-covered La Sal Mountains.
Road Surface: Most of the travel time is on slickrock or very sandy dirt. Some of the climbs are aggravated by a loose-sand approach, and there is some deep, loose sand.
Obstacles: The trail opens with a sand hill featuring a sharp turn that thwarts the high-speed approach often needed in sand, but the hill can be bypassed. There are several steep ups and downs on the slickrock that will drag front, rear, and maybe middle of some vehicles. Slickrock climbs called "Frenchie's Fin" and "Ken's Climb" are about as steep as we can do.

Flat Iron Mesa 4 Flat Iron Mesa is south of Moab and is bounded by Kane Springs Canyon on the north, Hatch Wash Canyon on the west, West Coyote Canyon on the south, and Highway 191 on the east. A main road has a BLM sign, but our trail leaves the highway earlier (18 miles from town) and it quickly gets 4WD status on numerous old trails that reach fine canyon overlooks and provide some interesting four-wheeling. Most of the trail is fairly easy; the "4" rating goes with only a couple of obstacles, some having easier bypasses. There is a harrowingly narrow section on a cliff edge that barely allows a full-size vehicle to pass - being small is a comforting advantage. The Easter Sunday run will be in the reverse direction, giving it a difficulty rating of 4+ and requiring differential lockers. Approximate mileages: 55 total, 17 off highway.
Scenery: There are views of the La Sal Mountains, local cliffs, and different canyons throughout the trail. The cliffs and canyon walls near Kane Springs and Muleshoe Canyon are especially beautiful. Hatch Canyon is about 700 feet deep at the overlook where West Coyote Creek joins it in a series of cascades.
Road Surface: Much of the trail is two-track on sandy dirt that is occasionally dusty and is always inlaid with bedrock. There is a little slickrock, a gravelly hill, and numerous rocky ledges.
Obstacles: Several short hills won't be done on first tries by everyone. A long climb to a flat-top butte is in a loose mixture of coarse gravel and dirt, and it is made more difficult by a few large rocks. It can be bypassed. Near West Coyote Canyon overlook are a long ledgy downhill (site of a tip-over a few years ago) and a narrow shelf that requires a tight turn. (Note that, on Easter Sunday, "down" becomes "up" and vice versa.)

Gold Bar Rim 3.5+ Gold Bar Rim is a cliff rim that stands about 1200 feet above Highway 191's path in Moab Canyon. Because the rocks behind the cliff slope downward to the southwest, the rim has a 360 vista. Gold Bar Canyon drains away from the rim into the Colorado River. The trail climbs the cliff in stages, first angling up to Little Canyon, then working its way across Gold Bar Canyon to follow the slope of the Wingate Sandstone layer up to the rim. After doubling back from the rim, the trail begins a loop to include Bull Canyon bottom for a view of Gemini Bridges from below. Approximate mileages: 47 total, 25 off highway.
Scenery: The Gold Bar Rim vistas take in almost all of the local country, including Moab and its valleys, the La Sal Mountains, the Book Cliffs, and parts of the Colorado River canyon. The Bull Canyon portion includes the top of a 300-foot pour-off to a lower canyon and it then follows the deepening canyon upstream to where the canyon is again 300 feet deep. The canyon walls have several hard-to-find arches, but the double span of Gemini Bridges makes it one of the prizes of the region.
Road Surface: Most of the miles are typical of our trails, sandy dirt punctuated by some surface rocks. There is quite a bit of slickrock near Gold Bar Rim, a little blow sand in Bull Canyon and Little Canyon bottom, and some rocky washbottom in Bull Canyon.
Obstacles: The most difficult driving is up the final slopes to Gold Bar Rim and returning across Gold Bar Canyon. Some prefer to walk a short distance to the rim rather than risk the sheet metal damage that has befallen others on the last rocky step. The trail might be rated 3 except that heavy use has dug out the base of a big rock ledge on the return across Gold Bar Canyon. Many vehicles have required help to get up. In order to avoid making this a 4-rated, one-obstacle trail, we may try to make the obstacle a little easier.

Golden Spike 4+ The connection between Poison Spider Mesa and Gold Bar Rim was first developed as a jeep trail during the 1989 Jeep Safari. Some folks seem so fond of damaging their equipment that we have made it available most days. Much of the route is near the rim above Moab Valley and offers gorgeous views in all directions. Its main claim to fame, however, is that some bypasses (where they exist!) still rate a 4+. In an effort to get the groups off the trail before dark, we ask that every vehicle have good help in its differentials-at least one locker or two good limited slips.
Scenery: Most of the trail is just atop the sloping layer of Wingate Sandstone and offers vistas to the west and north. Of note are the Colorado River canyon in the vicinity of Amasa Back, the fin country of the north end of Behind the Rocks, and Jeep Arch. The higher north end of the trail opens vistas in all directions. Especially rewarding are the breath-stopping peeks over the cliff rim toward Arches National Park. (Warning! The cliff rim here overhangs in places; the last rockfall was only a few years ago!)
Road Surface: The easy parts are layered broken rock and dirt, while the challenges are solid rock ledges. There is some slickrock, but it is those short, vertical sections that favor tall tires and locking differentials.
Obstacles: After passing the 4-rated Poison Spider Mesa obstacles, there is some easy slickrock driving on fins with one very steep uphill (the Launching Pad) and one steep downhill. There are tight turns in a canyon bottom and one short slickrock ledge, followed by a long stretch of ups and downs over broken rock, with a few sharp steps. The Golden Crack marks the beginning of the final nasty mile to Gold Bar Rim. Highlights are the Golden Steps, Golden Ramp, Double Whammy, and the Body Snatcher. Bring only the best of equipment; the tow truck can't make it.

Hellroaring Rim 3 The four-wheeling part of the trail is on Mineral Point, part of the mesa country between the long, deep gashes of Mineral and Hellroaring Canyons. These side canyons drain into Labyrinth Canyon of the Green River. The headwaters of these and many other canyons around here are shallow, normally dry drainages that suddenly plunge over rimrock into deep canyons. There are a little more than 20 miles of paved road to the trail start on the Dead Horse Point Road. This is a pleasant, scenic family trail that was down-rated from 3 this year, but we can't assure that a stock vehicle will get through without a "thunk" of metal on rock. Approximate mileages: 80 total, 37 off highway.
Scenery: There are glimpses of Hellroaring Canyon along the way, but the final overlook near its confluence with the Green River in Labyrinth Canyon is exceptional. A ridge top provides a view 50 miles or more in all directions.
Road Surface: Most of this trail, like many other local trails, was scratched into the formation called Kayenta. It provides a variety of shale and sandstone that erode into rocky ledges, broken rock, and sandy dirt.
Obstacles: A couple of ledgy, sandy, and switchbacked hills into a small canyon provide challenging descents. The climb out of the canyon is interesting, as well. The trail was down-rated a notch to represent most of the travel, but the rocky ledges could grab any low-hanging parts.

Hell's Revenge 4 Our premier slickrock trail lies northeast of town between the Sand Flats Road and the river. There are long stretches of slickrock where the 4WD trail has recently been marked (a yellow, sometimes white, paint design that resembles a flame). There are other paint marks, too, for mountain bikes and emergency medical services. The most difficult obstacles are out of the stock-vehicle class, but those can be bypassed. There are steep climbs and descents and some edges that are not for the faint of heart. The steep slopes, however, are not technically difficult because of the excellent traction on sandstone. In a few places, the trail crosses the now-famous "Slickrock Bike Trail," a motorcycle and mountain-bicycle trail. (Although the Lion's Back, the Dump Bump, and Potato Salad Hill are nearby, they are not part of this trail.) Approximate mileages: 16 total, 12 off highway.
Scenery: The large vistas sweep full circle from the La Sal Mountains through Arches National Park to the cliff rims that overlook Moab Valley. The nearby country is an amazing stretch of bare sandstone with clefts and canyons, including the Colorado River canyon.
Road Surface: In addition to the slickrock, there are rock ledges, broken rock, sandy dirt, and a little blow sand.
Obstacles: The first clump of slickrock has high mounds and steep descents that lead to a second mound that does the same thing. The major slickrock area includes steep climbs, sharp turns, and a hair-raising descent along a steep ridge with little room for error left or right. "Tip-Over Challenge" is a brief rock hill with a sandy base that requires tight maneuvering, an excellent line of attack, some help in the differentials, or the easy bypass on a slickrock fin. Just above Tip-Over is a shortcut to avoid the final hill, called "Rubble Trouble" because of its large loose rocks and a couple of tough ledges. This may be our easiest 4-rated trail because there is easy access to bypasses.

Tip-Toe Through Hell 3.5 A weekday trip will follow most of the Hell's Revenge trail route but will emphasize the bypasses at the difficult obstacles. The scenery and many of the thrills of driving long stretches of slickrock remain, but the emphasis will be on making the trail accessible to stock vehicles and drivers not anxious to break their equipment.

Hey Joe Canyon 3 Hey Joe Canyon, a site of some mining ruins, is a short tributary to Labyrinth Canyon of the Green River. To get into the canyon, one must travel about 20 miles of pavement and 10 miles of good dirt road to the rim of Spring Canyon, where a spectacular ledge road winds down a 600-foot cliff to the canyon bottom. The trail follows the canyon about 2 miles to the Green River and is now a regularly maintained county road ("regular maintenance" is required because it regularly washes out). Another 9 miles upstream along the river in Labyrinth Canyon is Hey Joe Canyon. The trail along the river is subject to rockfalls and collapse. The trail was down-rated a notch this year because of the county maintenance on part of the trail, but there are many more rocks poised to fall on the road along the river. Although we occasionally cut back the brushy tamarisk alongside parts of the trail, fancy paint jobs may prefer another trail. Approximate mileages: 85 total, 45 off highway.
Scenery: The access roads include the paved one in Sevenmile Canyon and good dirt roads in the open plateau country and into Spring Canyon to the Green River. Spring Canyon is a jewel. The trail enters Labyrinth Canyon at Bowknot Bend, a large loop of the river where the river doubles back and threatens to short-cut the loop in the near future, geologically speaking. There are abandoned mining roads on both sides of the river; remains of the cable that ferried equipment across the river may be seen.
Road Surface: The road into Spring Canyon once carried ore trucks and heavy equipment but it is still subject to erosion from storms. It is now being maintained as part of the Grand County road system. The roads in Spring Canyon and Labyrinth Canyon are good dirt except where erosion has narrowed them or left rockfalls that required hand labor to make them at least passable.
Obstacles: There are no fixed obstacles on this route; the hard places move around as erosion continues. Some of the older rockfalls have been crossed so much that they are getting easy, but who knows what '04 will bring. Wet weather would require cancellation of the trip; the road is scary when dry and terrifying (dangerous, too) when wet.

Hole in the Rock 4 Our use of this famous and historic Mormon Trail starts about 150 miles from Moab and includes two nights of camping (in the same campsite). The off-highway portion begins and ends near Halls Crossing on Utah Highway 276 and travels to within a couple of miles of the pioneer crossing of the Colorado River (now Lake Powell). A large group of Mormon settlers in wagons used some of this route on a journey from Escalante to Bluff, a trip they expected to take six weeks but actually took six months. It is an amazing expanse of open country.
Scenery: The nearby country is a sea of weathered Navajo Sandstone. If any southern Utah scenes inspire awe, the overview of the Great Bend of the San Juan River has to be on the list. Navajo Mountain is in constant view throughout the distant part of the trail.
Road Surface: Most of the route is on sandstone, either in its slickrock form or its weathered and wind-blown sand grains.
Highlights: Lake Canyon is fascinating for its recent human and geologic histories - possibly interesting for trail washouts. The approach to and ascent of Grey Mesa is challenging. The slickrock channel called The Chute and canyons beyond are the most difficult parts.

Kane Creek Canyon 3.5 The trail follows Kane Creek along the bottom of its canyon (officially named Kane Springs Canyon on the maps) between its mouth at the Colorado River and Highway 191. It runs in and out of the creek - more than 50 crossings - but in one area, climbs high on the canyon wall. The climb has developed some ledges that stress the 3 rating, but we intend to make repairs to hold the rating. The creek bottom parts, however, are a real puzzle to rate for difficulty in advance. When the creek is wet, as it is likely to be in springtime, there is mud and quicksand. After a storm, which is possible, it can be impassably deep. Wet or dry, plenty of brush grows in from the sides of the road. Approximate mileages: total 38, off highway 20.
Scenery: The lower portion of the canyon is narrow, tortuous, and one of our most beautiful. Farther upstream, it becomes wider, straighter, and deeper (1000 feet), but it changes character again above the junction with Hatch Wash. There, the water is clear, the bottom is gravelly rather than sandy, and the canyon is more intimate.
Road Surface: The lower canyon road has a 2WD gravel surface as far as the first creek ford, at which point an amphibian is sometimes needed. The next few miles upstream are on a silt bench with many "gotcha" gullies eroded across the trail. When it reaches the section that crisscrosses the creek, the bottom is sandy - sometimes with quicksand - and brush grows into the sides of the trail. The upper part of the trail has rocky creek bottom and rocky steps on the narrow shelf road above the creek.
Obstacles: Other than the possibility of mud and quicksand, the major obstacle is the eroded, rocky portion along a shelf above the creek. A major rock ledge at Muleshoe Canyon once required a rock pile to ascend, but it has been altered enough to be merely a tough "3." Another ledge above that has been dug out so badly that a bypass has been developed.

Metal Masher 4 A major trail goal is Arth's Rim, which overlooks Highway 191 about 1300 feet below. The route first angles up the sloping part of the cliff to a gap in the rim rock. It follows Little Canyon partway into the mesa to resume the climb along the more gentle slope of the tilted rock strata. Much of the trail is routine four-wheeling, but the approach to the rim though Mirror Gulch is difficult and threatens sheet metal. Despite some shovel work last year, Widowmaker Hill could be considered a "5" rating. Your leader is likely to take the roundabout bypass to the top of Widowmaker, but he may authorize the original route for vehicles that have very short overhangs, very large tires, and both differentials locked. In the past, it has simply taken too much time to winch or drag 90% of the vehicles up.
Scenery: The road portion on the slope beneath Arth's Rim climbs to increasingly fine views of Arches National Park, Moab Valley, and the La Sal Mountains. That is just a warm-up for the later perch on the cliff top. Little Canyon has beautiful vertical walls, and a few arches may be spotted by alert riders. The trail leader may have time to include Gemini Bridges or Long Canyon at the end of the day.
Road Surface: This trail varies from easy dirt to some tall sandstone ledges, with some relatively level slickrock and sand mixed in.
Obstacles: The slickrock slopes on the way to Arth's Rim have one step that will warm up a few tires. Near the rim the trail passes Rock Chucker Hill, once the way to go but now used occasionally as a 4+ playground that triumphs over some awfully good equipment. The "easy" route through narrow Mirror Gulch includes difficult rock steps. The original route via Widowmaker Hill climbs a big ridge in two stages. The lower section is a tippy, narrow cliff-side at its top and warrants care in choosing a route. The second section is steep and has a smooth rock ledge with a low-traction base that is being dug increasingly deeper. Trust your trail leader for guidance to avoid this one; it has the same overhang and center clearance problems as the Dump Bump but is now taller. There is another short, but vexing option called Mother-in-Law hill.

Moab Rim 4+ The Moab Rim is the cliff rim seen just to the southwest of town. Its only four-wheel-drive access begins just downriver from town and the first mile has about the highest density of obstacles of any of our trails. Many vehicles have "bit the rocks" on the succession of rock ledges and tight turns that lead to the rim. On top, the trail is sand and rock as it leaves the rim, but it returns at another overlook. A spur, sometimes used, visits Indian ruins and rock art. After closing a short loop, the trail returns on the same rocky mile it started with. A formerly used trail loop to the famous Egg Ranch Fin and Death Row has been closed for seventeen years to all motorized travel by BLM's Resource Management Plan. Approximate mileages: 12 total, 7 off highway.
Scenery: The first mile of trail follows the slope of the tilted rock layers and has increasingly high overlooks of the Colorado River gorge in one of its most beautiful areas. The rim view includes the La Sal Mountains, Moab and Spanish Valleys, some of Arches National Park and distant features such as the Book Cliffs. Behind the rim are displays of rock domes and fins and some of the rims of the Colorado River gorge farther downstream. A new chairlift provides the scenery and although it carries bicycles, Jeeps are on their own. The top part of the trail is on private property, which the chairlift operator kindly shares with us, so please return the favor and always stay on the trail!
Road Surface: The first part of the trail is mostly on bedrock that nature has broken into ledges and steps. The higher country has slickrock, blow sand, and some sandy dirt with broken rock mixed in.
Obstacles: Highlights among the many steps in the first mile are the Devils Crack and the Z-Turn. The former requires a tricky turn onto a ledge to avoid dropping a wheel into the crack beyond, and the latter has two turns over irregular rocks and ledges. On top, a slickrock dome has an optional climb with about 85 percent grade. Excellent ground clearance and large diameter tires are useful throughout, and a locking or limited-slip differential helps a lot.

Poison Spider Mesa 4 Poison Spider Mesa forms one of the cliff features that is part of the Moab landscape northwest of town. The mesa is bordered on the east by Moab Valley and on the south by the Colorado River. Access is via Scenic Byway 279, the "Potash Road," and the trail climbs to the rim along with the sloping rock layers. The first few miles of trail must be retraced, but most of the travel time will be spent on a loop that reaches the rim. It has deservedly become one of our most popular trails because it has great scenery and because the jeeping is just challenging enough to be fun without quite being a vehicle buster. Incidentally, we love the name, but the population of Black Widows is probably no greater than other local areas. Approximate mileages: 37 total, 16 off highway.
Scenery: The vista across the fins of Behind the Rocks toward the La Sal Mountains is as fine as they come. The rim view overlooks Moab 1,000 feet below and includes a panorama of about 300 . The usual lunch stop is just above so-called "Little Arch." Jeep Arch (about 3 miles away) is seen clearly from near the rim.
Road Surface: Much of the loop portion is on Navajo Sandstone slickrock, with one stretch of 0.4 miles of bare rock. There are also rock ledges, sandy washbottom, and two blow-sand hills.
Obstacles: After some switchbacks that traffic is making rougher and a fairly flat stretch, a sandy canyon leads to "The Waterfall" about 2 miles into the trail, where ascent is over several rock ledges that give it the "4" rating. There are steep slickrock climbs, one sand hill may be difficult to climb with tires carrying highway pressure, and one optional sand hill can be quite difficult when dry.

Porcupine Rim 3 This trail leaves the graded Sand Flats Road above the Slickrock Bike Trail and drops down to a ledge above Negro Bill Canyon. It crosses the headwaters of that canyon and is the only vehicle access into the vicinity of Coffee Pot Rock, a prominent landmark seen from several other trails. The climb is gradual to the cliff rim, called Porcupine Rim, above Castle Valley. The trail has good variety with some challenges for stock or slightly modified vehicles and some of the best scenic vistas we have. Be advised that much of the trail is continuously bumpy. The Sand Flats Recreation area fee required of ordinary visitors is waived for our Easter Jeep Safari trails because we pay land-use fees in another way. Approximate mileage: 32 total, 28 off highway.
Scenery: There are canyon's edge views into little-visited Negro Bill and Rill Canyons. Along Porcupine Rim, elevations are as high as 6,800 feet, and vistas are superb in all directions. 1,500 feet below is Castle Valley with its prominent buttes, Castle Rock, Priest and the Nuns, and Round Mountain. Farther away are the Colorado River canyon, the Book Cliffs and features in Colorado. The La Sal Mountains are nearby, and a look to the west reveals parts of Moab and surrounding canyons.
Road Surface: There is much sandy dirt, some loose sand, and oodles of rock in various forms. Although there is some slickrock, most encounters are with bedrock poking through in knobs and ledges that may spill your soda-pop onto the carpet. Because of its elevation, the trail occasionally has some snow or residual mud at Easter.
Obstacles: Early in the day are a few sandy hills and some slickrock slopes. Along the rim of Negro Bill Canyon are some small ledges that may hold up traffic. One of those can test the drive-train warranty on stock vehicles, but it has a bypass. The vicinity of the rim has a few more ledges and some of the bumpiest driving.

Pritchett Canyon 5 This trail has become so difficult that it inspired a new rating a few years ago. Two locking differentials are required, and a winch is urgently requested. Our experience is that fewer than ten percent of the vehicles can make it unaided. Mortality of vehicle parts is very high. There are no easy bypasses.
If you can take your eyes off the obstacles long enough, you'll find a splendidly beautiful, narrow canyon. The trail climbs the lower part of the canyon and exits via a side canyon over a divide into the Hunter Canyon system. Your leader then will choose among several optional routes (depending on how long it took to get there and how many wounded vehicles there are).
We learned years ago that so much time was spent at the obstacles with more than our limit of 25 vehicles that the fun turned into boredom. Unfortunately, we are now encountering numerous renegade groups going both directions, and we have cut back its use to only two days of the Safari.
Scenery: While in the canyon, the views are of the steep canyon walls, large side-canyon pour-offs, and a pool-speckled creek bottom. Pritchett Arch, Window Arch, and some smaller spans are visible from the trail. The canyon is within the rock fin country of Behind the Rocks, and is the boundary of the Behind the Rocks WSA.
Road Surface: The trail follows the bouldery creek bottom at first but then climbs onto ledge routes on a mixture of rock layers and dirt. The major obstacles are several forms of bedrock now exposed after erosion of the early roadway.
Obstacles: Upon entering the canyon there is a ledgy descent that will be tough if you have to return that way. The first real test is a couple of miles up the canyon at the nastily angled ledges of the Rocker Knocker. A little farther, a rock fall area has become a major hazard. Just above that is The Rock Pile, a several-foot ledge that requires a pile of rocks just to get wheels on the slope, while a so-called bypass is almost as difficult and hazardous. Next is Yellow Hill, where the road reaches for the canyon top on a very uneven ledge of multicolored rock.

Secret Spire 2.5 This trail rides the rolling mesa top between two of the Green River's large tributary canyons, Hellroaring and Spring Canyons. It goes close to the deep portions of Spring Canyon, and it crosses the shallower upper Spring Canyon to visit a strange tower, dubbed the Secret Spire. It is a good trail for some mild four-wheeling through an interesting and scenic expanse of country.
Scenery: The large vistas are to the west and north and encompass the San Rafael Reef, the Book Cliffs, and a glimpse of the Green River. The close-up views are into deep, rugged canyons and a range of local rock formations, including arches and towers. Bluffs of Entrada Sandstone, called Needles Rock and Rainbow Rocks, stand high above the trail.
Road Surface: After twenty miles of pavement, the roads are largely sandy dirt - sometimes mostly sand and sometimes laced with rock. There is some sandy washbottom and a little bare rock.
Highlights: Near upper Spring Canyon washbottom, one gully often washes out and may have to be repaired a bit. Your leader may take a spur to Dellenbaugh Tunnel, which is a strange, usually dry watercourse piercing the Navajo Sandstone. The tunnel is about 100 feet long and high enough that one hardly needs to stoop to walk through. The floor of the tunnel is a limestone layer rich in red chert, and it extends another couple of hundred feet to an abrupt drop into Spring Canyon. The Secret Spire is a strange tower of Navajo Sandstone standing alone on a dome-like base. Nearby are two small arches, one of which is just beside the main road but is easily missed.

Sevenmile Rim 3.5 The Sevenmile Rim trail leaves Highway 191 just north of Highway 313, about 11 miles north of town. It passes the old Cotter uranium mine and switches back to reach the cliff rim above the mine and Highway 191. The intense mining activity left a maze of core-drilling roads on the mesa top, and the trail seeks the most interesting of these. It travels south near the cliff rim above Highway 191 before turning west above Sevenmile Canyon, which carries Highway 313. Along the way, Uranium Arch will be visited. The trail joins other roads in the vicinity of Merrimac Butte, Monitor Butte, Determination Towers, and Big Mesa. Most of the trail is easy but has an optional climb near Uranium Arch and a sandy hill near the end that is sometimes full of holes. A sidehill slickrock portion around the south side of Merrimac Butte may be intimidating to the "scaredy-cats" (which includes most of us), but all of us have completed it unscathed. Wounded or tired vehicles can bypass the worst obstacles, but the bypasses are often a long way around. Approximate mileages: 50 total, 21 off highway.
Scenery: The trail route is near the Moab Fault, a geological fracture that left the trademark rocks of Canyonlands standing higher than the surrounding colorful Morrison formation, which was deposited later. Entrada Sandstone cliffs are constantly in view. The rim views include Sevenmile Canyon, the Arches National Park area, and the Book Cliffs to the north.
Road Surface: There is considerable two-track dirt road, a sandy hill, washbottom, and some slickrock.
Highlights: The cliff rim portions are mainly scenic and would rate 2 to 3. Uranium Arch can be walked across. The south side of Merrimac Butte has exciting slickrock sidehill driving and is near Wipe-Out Hill, which can be visited if there is time. The last part of the trail, if used, runs the reverse direction of the Wipe-Out Hill trail in the Tusher Canyon system, and finds easy hills of the Wipe-Out trail to be hard and vice-versa.

Steel Bender 3.5+ This trail's difficulty rating keeps moving around as the conflicting forces of erosion and trail repair modify the obstacles. The trail lies between Moab and the La Sal Mountains in the vicinity of Mill Creek, a major drainage from the mountains. It crosses the creek a few times and travels a lovely part of Mill Creek Canyon. It overlooks the North Fork of Mill Creek as it climbs to the base of South Mesa on the skirts of the La Sal Mountains. It is another variation on the canyonlands landscape, and it offers further variety to the scenery and the four-wheeling opportunities of the Moab area. The trip can be done in stock 4x4's that have excellent clearance, but only because there are bypasses around some of the challenging spots. Approximate mileages: 30 total, 15 off highway.
Scenery: Portions of the trail are in two beautiful, but different-looking, parts of Mill Creek Canyon. Other portions ride the higher country toward the mountains and overlook canyonlands vistas toward the west from a 6,000-foot elevation.
Road Surface: The canyon-bottom trail crosses stream-washed rocks and the stream itself in a few places. The higher country has dirt and a little sand - all generously mixed with rocks and rock ledges. There is a little slickrock near the upper creek ford.
Obstacles: Mill Creek has a strong perennial flow that is highest in springtime, but the fords usually do no more than dampen your hubs. Not far above the creek is a steep, ledgy chunk of rock that may push some to the easy bypass. As the trail climbs, a succession of rock steps can be difficult for stock equipment, but each ledge area has a bypass. A couple of minor tributary canyons provide steep, rocky descents and testy climbs. Ground clearance is the name of the game. The final creek ford is followed by a short, steep climb that can get muddy and slippery.

Strike Ravine 3.5 This trail enters an area that remains beautiful despite the marks of "range improvements" (chaining), power lines, and uranium mining. Today, grazing continues, the power lines hum, but the mines are in ruins. Four-wheeling gets better, however, as the mine roads deteriorate. The trail is about 12 miles south of Moab and between Highway 191 and the La Sal Mountains. Much of it is in and about Pole Canyon and other headwaters of Kane Springs Canyon. One badly eroded trail portion crosses a tributary canyon that we are calling Strike Ravine for the outcrop of a tilted sandstone layer that forms the base of the trail. The rocky hills and bouldery washbottoms make high ground clearance throughout the underside of the vehicle an important consideration. There are sneaky rocks that make it easy for vehicles to use their sheet metal panels as "paint brushes." The trail was down-rated half a notch recently because one troublesome rock on the "Big Ugly" hill was removed by someone, but use and erosion are adding new challenges. Approximate mileage: 32 total, 11 off highway.
Scenery: In addition to the views inside the rugged canyons, there are beautiful vistas of colorful rocks, forested slopes, and the snow-covered La Sal Mountains.
Road Surface: The easy parts of the trail are sandy dirt with enough bedrock poking through to keep the speed down. The difficult creek-bottom parts have rocks, boulders, and ledges, and the most difficult hills have large, loose rocks.
Obstacles: Two hills have loose dirt and rocks that cause poor traction. The canyon bottoms have large rocks and rock ledges that can change with every flood. Strike Ravine is ledgy and rough, with a combination of rock steps and loose dirt. Tall tires, short wheelbase, and short overhangs are the order of the day.

Top of the World 3 "Top of the World" is a viewpoint on Waring Mesa. It has a spectacular view of Fisher Valley, Onion Creek, and the La Sal Mountains, but this view is only part of a variety of landscapes seen from this trail. Waring Mesa is east of Moab and south of the Dewey Bridge crossing of the Colorado River. In addition to the 7,000-foot viewpoint at Top of the World, the route sometimes includes Sevenmile Mesa, the canyon of Fisher Creek, Fisher Valley, and Onion Creek with its unusual, narrow canyon. Above Fisher Creek is possibly the longest of our steep and rocky hills (called "Rose Garden Hill"). There are 32 miles of pavement at one end of the off-road trail and 22 miles at the other with about 40 miles off-highway in between.
Scenery: The Entrada Sandstone is beautiful wherever it is exposed, and we travel the base of a long stretch of its cliffs near the rivers. The Top of the World viewpoint is a cliff edge above Fisher Valley and Onion Creek with the La Sal Mountains in the southern background, but there are vistas of distant plains and the Book Cliffs to the north. Narrow Onion Creek canyon is different from anything else in the area.
Road Surface: There is some graded road, but most is broken layered rock. A rocky creek bottom may be used if there is time.
Highlights: The Top of the World viewpoint is worth the trip even without the other good stuff. This trail will go down Rose Garden Hill (except Big Saturday), but that is an interesting ride either way. Onion Creek has spectacular narrows either from the county-road route or the older creek-bottom option.

Rose Garden Hill 4 This version of the Top of the World route is shorter and more difficult. It travels Rose Garden Hill both up and down, but omits the Top of the World viewpoint because of the time consumed on the big hill. Remaining are the marvelous experience of squeezing into the Onion Creek narrows and the thrill of a short cliff-hanging section above the deep Cottonwood Canyon that drains from Fisher Valley. The trail climbs onto the southern part of Waring Mesa and views the Dolores River canyon in the near distance, and it includes all of the challenging sections of the parent route. We expect to go out and return the same way with a scenic loop at the top. Total travel distance is 81 miles with 37 miles off highway.

Wipe-Out Hill 3.5 This trail tours a region south of Canyonlands Airport and west of Highway 191. It uses portions of Bartlett Wash, Tusher Canyon, Courthouse Pasture, the south cliff base of Big Mesa, and possibly Gemini Bridges if there is time. Variety is its strong point, with a wide range of scenery and trail surface and a couple of challenging hills.
Scenery: The landscape varies from the drab hills near the airport to the tall cliffs seen from Moab. In between are beautiful canyons having colorfully banded Entrada Sandstone walls, Determination Towers, and Monitor and Merrimac Buttes. The trail traverses at least seven major rock formations (Morrison, Entrada, Navajo, Kayenta, Wingate, Chinle, and Moenkopi) that were deposited over a period of more than 100 million years, beginning about 200 million years ago.
Road Surface: There is a long stretch of broad, sandy washbottom and one short, but sometimes challenging, hill of blow-sand. One broken-rock hill leads back to a washbottom that is usually wet. There are a couple of areas of slickrock, some rock ledges, and a few miles of two-track on sandy dirt.
Obstacles: The Tusher Wash sand hill varies in difficulty with moisture content and recent digging by the heavy-foot crowd (a windstorm will fill it in again). Big tires will help. Wipe-Out Hill is short, but steep with irregular ledges and an abrupt tip-down that could "wipe out" a rocker panel (beware, long vehicles!). It is an exciting trip down and a 4+ rated optional climb back up. Rattlesnake Hill has its bumps spaced just right to catch those who don't have limber suspensions
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Old January 16th, 2005, 20:06
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Did you get Copywrite permission with that.
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Old January 16th, 2005, 20:12
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Re: HA,, almost

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Did you get Copywrite permission with that.
Hell no
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Old January 16th, 2005, 20:12
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Hell no
long winded bastards aren't they?
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Old January 18th, 2005, 21:36
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Old January 18th, 2005, 21:39
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