Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ride 2 - North Valley-Cabin Canyon Loop

Riders of the East Bunkerville Flats trails realize that there are several issues which must be taken into account.   [For a free Google Earth file of this route see: North Valley-Cabin Canyon Trail]

One is that there is an "area of environmental concern" on the East side of the flats. Another is that there are many trails which have been "designated" and some which have been "un-designated" - some on the map and some not - and many times the only way to get there is to "go around."

We decided to explore some of the trails which we have ignored to date and at the same time go up to see how "our valley" is doing. I say "our valley" because three years ago we "stumbled" on it and I could find no-one who had either been there or knew its name. Even the map didn't have a designation for it.

The locals began calling it North Valley (because it was the North most of three parallel valleys in the Bunkerville Range. It is one of the most picturesque of all the trails and in the spring (if the Joshua Trees are blooming) the fragrance is overpowering.

The trail contains many sights to see and is a great place for lunch. Keyhole Rock, Ray's Cactus Garden, Petrodroppings, Skyline Arch, Eagles Nest and Hanging Cave are all in one area near the East entrance to the valley.

Half-way through the valley the ground drops (or climbs) several hundred feet (into the lower valley). The cliffs to the right are the bright red of the "Aztec Formation" found in many places like Valley of Fire. To the left are the upturned Knife-blade Cliffs and dead in the center is Gunsight Pass - you can't miss it.

Except for being much, much more traveled since we found it, it was pretty much just as we had left it last year. We returned to the rusted steam engine, a landmark along the trail, and took the side-trail running toward Cabin Canyon.

Morpheus, There's a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path.”
from The Matrix

The trail ran North along the ridge of Hen Springs Ravine until it dropped down into it. It ran nearly to Cabin Canyon road then turned North again toward Mesquite.

The "designated" trails are clearly marked, but you will see some that are not on the map and other's which are on the map are NOT "designated." There are even some "no trespassing" signs which must be turned around because the designated trail goes right through them.

For those of you who are downloading the trail for this ride, we stayed on the designated trails so you can upload them into your GPS units. The trail runs almost to Riverside Road before it turns West again and across the Dam back to the trailhead.


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