Thursday, November 18, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Central - Part 1

Three previous posts explained that we are digitizing trails in the Moab Utah area into a master map which will serve as a companion to the book: Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails. The Northwest and Arches section was completed and received heavy amounts of downloads in its first week of offering.

Now, the portion of the map for the "Central" riding area of the system is complete and ready for download over at the Offroading Home web site, under the Utah tab and entitled, of all things: "UtahMoabTrailSystem.kmz". As usual, it's a Google Earth file and requires the program in order to be utilized. You may want to run on over there and load the file while we explain some of the trails – I'll wait.

There are twenty trails in this central riding area, immediately adjacent to Moab, which will be covered in four posts. If the Northeast section was predominantly "easy" trails, then the trails in this area are mostly for the experienced rider and modified rigs – most are really "hard"!

Some trails on the slick rock are marked with little symbols of varying shapes, but don't count on it! That's what makes taking along a map with VERY high resolution or a GPS track in a hand-held unit more than just a suggestion. Schlepping around looking for where you SHOULD have been not only takes up valuable time but is needlessly damaging to the trail.

[If you desire to download these waypoints for use in a GPS unit - we highly recommended you also take with you a copy of the extensive narrative from the book "Moab Backroads and 4-WD Trails" until we obtain a more definitive and complete GPS track. This due to the loss of trail markers on the slick-rock.]

Central Moab Area

For those who believe in "when you work – work hard, and when you play - play hard," the Central Moab area is a great place to live and work.   Of all the trails in this section of the Moab Trial System, most of them are rated "difficult."   And this includes many which are nationally known such as: Poison Spider Mesa, Golden Spike, Moab Rim and others.

Even the specific Obstacles in this area are renouned: Rocker Knocker, High Dive, Hell's Gate and the Escalator.   I bet you've heard of at least a couple.

Gemini Bridges Trail

Description: Difficulty: Easy – trail has been rock-ground so rocks are no longer a significant issue. One steep hill requires 4WD.
Length: 13.4 mi.; Time: Two to Three hours plus return time; Open: Year-round.
Location: Start: 10 mi north of Moab on UT-191 turn left into a large parking lot (1.3 mi before UT-313).
Return: Return same or west to UT-313.
Features: Gemini Bridges, popular mountain bike route. To see the bridges from below take Bull Canyon Trail.

Metal Masher Trail

Description: Difficulty: Difficult – hardcore trail for modified vehicles only. Need very high clearance, lockers and large tires plus a winch if you know what's good for you. Must drive with a group. Slickrock makes trail finding difficult, watch for painted lizard symbols (if they haven't worn off).
Length: 12 mi. for primary route. To and from trail extra plus time for the common breakdowns; Time: 4 hrs plus to and fro time, lost time and break-down time; Open: Year-round.
Location: Start: 10 mi. north of Moab on UT-191 to Gemini Bridges Parking Lot, cross RR tracks and turn left. Follow road right uphill then south along the high shelf road. Through valley past Gooney Bird Rock to "T" intersection at 4.9 mi (Gold Bar Rim goes left). Turn right and climb steep hill. Bear right at 5.4 miles. At 6.5 im, turn right to Start of Metal Masher marked with sign.
Return: Turn right on UT-313 then to UT-191.
Features: Obstacles include: Rock Chucker and Widowmaker which have gotten much more difficult since 1999. Many have bypasses; supurb scenery along Arths Rim to the North.

Long Canyon Trail

Description: Difficulty: Easy – wide gravel road except narrow steep through Pucker Pass. Easy route-finding. Ok for stock 4WD unless wet or following heavy rain.
Length: 7.5 mi from UT-313; Time: 1 hr.; Open: Year-round.
Location: Start: Drive top-to-bottom to see views. 12 mi. north of Moab on UT-191 turn left on UT-313 toward Dead Horse Point State Park. In 1.6 mi take wide dirt road to left.
Return: Left on UT-279 returns to UT-191.
Features: Outstanding views, alternate return route from Dead Horse Point State Park or Canyonlands NP. Can combine with Gemini Bridges or Potash Road/Shafer Switchbacks trails.

Bull Canyon Trail

Description: Difficulty: Moderate – steep rocky creek bed with can change after storms. Can bypass around a couple of difficult points. Aggressive, high-clearance SUVs.
Length: 4 mi including Surprise Overlook.; Time: Half day from Moab.; Open: Year-round.
Location: Start: 10 mi north of Moab on UT-191 turn left into a large parking lot (1.3 mi before UT-313). Cross RR tracks and turn left. Follow road right uphill, then south along shelf road, past Gooney Bird Wash to "T" intersection at 4.9 mi. Turn Right and clilmb steep hill. Turn left at 5.4 miles to start.
Return: Same way; option Difficult Little Canyon.
Features: Narrow canyons and sandy swales ending near bottom of Gemini Bridges; Hike short distance to incredible view of bridges looking up from the bottom; Explore a legal side-canyon; side trip to Surporise Overlook into gaping Day Canyon.

Gold Bar Rim Trail

Description: Difficulty: Difficult – many ledges, modified vehicles with very high ground clearance, lockers, large tires and good articulation only. Follow painted white gold bar symbols and tire marks.
Length: 3.7 mi (one-way); Time: One or more hours depending upon capabilities; Open: Year-round.
Location: Start: 10 mi north on UT-191 into Gemini Bridges Trail parking lot. Cross RR tracks, turn left then right in less than a mile going uphill, then south along shelf road. Past Gooney Bird Rock to "T" intersection at 4.9 miles. Gold Bar Rim is left.
Return: Uphill traffic return the way you came; downhill from Golden Spike, turn right at waypoint 01 and follow wide road north back to UT-191 in 4.9 mi.
Features: Popular hardcore trail with great view at top. Often driven down-hill as a continuation of Golden Spike Trail.

Learn A Little More

Before he passed away, George Burns was considered a National Treasure. I found a few rare video clips of his performances which are fun to watch and remember. From the looks of the audience, they too were moved to nostalgia by his performance.

I Wish I Were Eighteen Again


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