Sunday, November 28, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Central - Part 4

Even though Moab isn't in either of its surrounding "national areas," it takes next to zero amount of "make-up" to change this area of the desert into a Disney-worthy spectacular extravaganza. They don't call this Canyonlands for nothing!

And even though it doesn't take much to turn the area from a peaceful ride into a life-threatening challange (think rain, flash floods and landslides) more and more of the "get-away-from-it-all" population is landing in this Coppola-esq city – some, even in the blistering summer.

As Offroading Home readers know, we have begun digitizing the trails found in Charles Wells' book "Moab, Ut Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails" and this is the fourth and final post about those ATV and SUV trails in the central area whose base-camp is the town of Moab. Two other riding areas remain for digitizing into maps; but, we thought that you would rather see them as each area is finished rather than waiting until the whole map is done.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Offroading Home on the Utah tab under the file name: "UtahMoabTrailsystem.kmz".]

Central Moab Riding Area

Flat Iron Mesa Trail

Description: Difficulty: Difficult – Body damage likely on Easter Egg Hill. Terrifying cliff at Intimidator. Tilt-A-Whirl tips to brink. Chute is fun. High clearance, lockers and good articulation are required - NOT for stock vehicles.
Length: 15.6 mi.; Time: 6 or more hours; Open: Year-round.
Location: Start: 17.9 mi south of Kane Creek Road in Moab on UT-191. Single-lane, dirt road on right just south of Muleshoe Canyon.
Return: UT-191.
Features: Scenic views from top of Rubble Hill and along edge of Hatch Wash. Used in Easter Jeep Safari. Difficult route-finding - GPS required.

Hell's Revenge Trail

Description: Difficulty: Difficult – Dangerous, steep climbs and descents over sandstone domes and ledges. Low gearing, good articulation, high approach and departure angles and lockers required. NO stock vehicles of novice drivers. Marked with tire marks, yellow flame symbols and brown sign posts but still confusing. Very hot in summer!
Length: 8.4 miles (with sides); Time: 6 hrs.; Open: Year-round.
Location: Start: Entrance booth of Sand Flats Recreation area.
Return: Sand Flats Road, 1 mi south of starting point.
Features: Great views of La Sal Mountains, Negro Bill Canyon, Abyss Canyon and Colorado River. Slickrock Bike Trail crossings. Search and rescue route is marked with white dots and is only for emergencies. ATVs stay on 4WD trail.

Fin's and Things Trail

Description: Difficulty: Difficult – Steep slickrock climbs and descents. Large ledges (many without bypasses). Requires high approach and departure angles required. South loop not recommended for ATVs.
Length: 9.4 mi.; Time: 4 hrs.; Open: Year-round.
Location: Start: 2 miles past entrance to Sand Flats Recreation Area at "campsite E7" where trail begins.
Return: Right on Sand Flats Road back to Moab.
Features: "Steepness," fun and great scenery. Fee area with rules and regulations (map provided).

Sand Flats Road Trail

Description: Difficulty: Easy – Maintained road, some deterioration, possible mud. Easy route-finding. Entrance booth will have road conditions.
Length: 17.6 mi Sand Flats Road, 26 additional to circle south on La Sal Mountain Loop Road.; Time: 2 hrs - Sand Flats Road; half-day for entire loop.; Open: Year-round.
Location: Start: Sand Flats Recreation Area toll booth.
Return: Right on scenic La Sal Mountain Loop Road connects to Spanish Valley Drive into Moab (26 mi). Left goes through Castle Valley and connects with UT-128 back to Moab (39 mi.) Both are paved roads.
Features: Traverse Sand Flats Recreation Area and into Manti-La Sal National Forest. Two possible loop directions, easy route-finding.

Steel Bender Trail

Description: Difficulty: Difficult – Stream crossings and countless tall ledges, very bumpy. Two obstacles some call "The Wall" and "The Fall." High clearance, excellent articulation and lockers mandatory. Inexperienced drivers will probably need rescue. NO stock vehicles.
Length: 14.9 mi; Time: minimum of 6 hrs, increase for larger groups.; Open: Year-round.
Location: Start: UT-191, 3.6 mi south of McDonalds in Moab, at Spanish Trail Road. East through a round-about onto Westwater Drive,past golf course to end of pavement. Start at small parking lot on left.
Return: UT-191 near mile-marker 118 at Airport Road.
Features: Very scenic trail to Mill Creek Canyon. Rocky benches along the canyon drainage. Popular biking trail. Trail harder going South to North. Surrounded by Wilderness Study Areas.

Moab Extreme Riding Areas

Area BFE – [N 38° 24.20'; W 109° 24.50']

This is a collection of trails on private land, but which is open to riders "so they don't need to be harassed." It does have some "practice areas" but is basically hard-core difficult (Green Day and Helldorado) and draws big crowds during the Easter Jeep Safari. Funding is through donations and revenue from competitive events.

From the McDonalds in Moab drive south 12.2 miles on UT-191; then, turn left after the long hill onto Blackridge Road. The parking area is then 2.8 miles on the left.

Potato Salad Hill – [N 38° 33.77'; W 109° 30.84']

This area's draw comes from only one very whopper of an obstacle which makes it a top seat in the Easter gathering. Take Sand Flats Road east (toward Hell's Revenge). Go uphill from the stop sign at the cemetery one mile and turn right on the paved road after the landfill. Keep left into the parking area at the bottom of the hill. Below and to the right from the parking lot is Potato Salad Hill.

Rusty Nail – [N 38° 36.10.'; W 109° 39.34']

This is an extreme trail which leaves Gold Bar Rim and passes Jeep Arch before joining Golden Spike Trail near the Golden Crack. To get to the trailhead, follow the directions for the Gold Bar Rim Trail (previously given) except continue straight at waypoint number 04 (see the trail map.)

Learn A Little More

I ran across a small collection of clips from shows that George Burns performed before he died. Us snowbirds clearly remember that George began his career with his wife Gracie (Allen) and became truly household names due that new-fangled gadget: the television.

When Gracie died fairly early, George was devastated but eventually ended up such a "constant" in the American way of life that he was pronounced a "National Treasure." This segment of one of his shows is with Minnie Pearl and reminds us all of what his and Gracie's routine used to be.

George Burns and Minnie Pearl

[[ Sorry, that's what I get for linking to YouTube. YouTube apparently capitulated to someone claiming rights of a fairly low quality, off public airways recording of George and Minnie. Now the performance is available nowhere ]]


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