Saturday, November 6, 2010

Moab 4WD Backroads: Northwest - Part 2

Whoa… there must be a grundle of you guys heading for Moab in the next few weeks cause my blog "hits" went off the wall a couple of days ago when I posted about the "Moab Trails" offroad map. Good for you, it's a great place to ride – AND it's getting to be the best season to ride down there as well!

This is the second of three parts about the Google Earth map Offroading Home is producing as a compliment to Charles Wells' book "Moab, UT Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails".   There are 15 trails in the "Northwest Moab and Arches NP" area and it is now complete.   The other areas are under construction even as we speak.   [A free Google Earth file of this route is available at: Offroading Home on the "Utah" tab.]

Wells is not a Moab native but he just as well could be with all the time he must have spend there riding and re-riding these 58 trails for his second edition of this book.   Originally trained as a graphic designer he moved to Colorado and became a printer come outdoorsman.   Not content with riding only Colorado trails he joined a club and began riding Moab – the rest, as they say is history.

In fact, he has written a whole series of books which we would love to create companion maps for [hint, hint – if any of you might be contemplating a donation, or loan].   This book was produced from the back of an SUV and Jeep so trails sometimes include paved sections, but ATVers should be able to "transpose" the trailheads to rides they could take with little effort.   But as I say, he has a book strictly for Moab ATV trails if any of you would like to see maps of that.

Northwest Moab Area

The waypoints have been verified with satellite images and trails digitized from that image so they need to have actual on-site verification when any of you take the ride.   Just flip on your GPS unit when you ride and attach it to an email to OffroadingHome when you get back.   Please! Even if you don't take the ride exactly as described, your GPS tracks of anywhere in the area are valuable to us.

Hidden Canyon Trail

Description: Difficulty: Easy – wide sandy road, narrows at end of canyon.   Steep, soft sand hill drops into canyon and enters wash bottom, flash floods possible.   Tire air down on sand.
Length: 10.3 mi.; Time: 2 hr.; Open: Year-round
Location: Start: 16 mi north of Moab on UT-191 turn left on Blue Hills Road (S of Mile Marker 143).   Go west 2.3 mi to start and turn left.
Return: Turn right on Blue Hills Road back to UT-191.
Features: Twisting roads up canyon, fun drive, family outing, combine with Tusher Tunnel and Bartlett Wash Road Trails, optional Hidden Canyon Overlook Trail for added difficulty. No camping in canyon. Gas and snacks at campground north of UT-191 and 313.

Bartlett Overlook Trail

Description: Difficulty: Difficult – Difficult ledge on main loop.   Lock wheels, big tires, air down.   Connector route to Hidden Cyn Overlook is difficult due to two very steep descents.   High clearance, skid plates, some rock stacking over obstacles.
Length: 8.2 mi round trip main trail. Optional exit extra; Time: 2 hrs. Add 30 min for connector and 2 hrs for alt exit; Open: Year-round.
Location: Start: Left on UT-313 from UT-191. Go west 8.5 mi and turn right on unmarked Dubinky Well Rd after the view area. Another 1.4 mi, stay right where Spring Cyn Rd goes straight, then north another 2.6 mi. After cattle guard, turn right on an unmarked, single-lane road.
Return: Return main loop OR if you've taken the connector to Hidden Canyon Overlook, return to wpt 4 and follow main loop OR take Hidden Canyon Overlook Trail in reverse direction back to Blue Hills Rd and UT-191 (confusing).
Features: Excellent view of Hidden Canyon from overlook; fun, but confusing connector route downhill to Hidden Canyon Overlook due to difficult route-finding; can combine with other trails; part of "Easter Jeep Safari 3-D Trail." Gas and snacks available at campground on UT-191 just north of UT-313.

Bartlett Wash Road Trail

Description: Difficulty: Easy – suitable for 2-wheel drive when dry.   Short, easy and scenic.   Avoid when wet or threatening weather.   Flash flooding possible in washes and road damage.
Length: Non-paved portion about 13 mi.; Time: 1 hr.; Open: Year-round.
Location: Start: 14 mi north of Moab on UT-191 turn left on Mill Canyon Road immediately after marker 141.
Return: Left on Dubinky Well Rd and go 3.3 mi to UT-313.   Avoid switchbacks by exiting west down Spring Canyon Bottom Road.
Features: Backcountry scenery; worry-free drive in good weather; can combine with other trails in same area; Walk-in camping only at Bartlett Trailhead which provides access to the Bartlett Slickrock Bike Trail (also allowing motorcycles).   Gas and snacks at campground on UT-191 and 313.

Sevenmile Rim Trail

Description: Difficulty: Difficult – First part rocky with ledges but most have bypasses.   Second half is mixed sand and slickrock.   High clearance and skid plates required.   Base of Merrimac Butte uncomfortably off camber.   Look for painted white dashes and carsonite pole trail markers.   Optional Wipe Out Hill extreme steep and more difficult coming back up.
Length: 12.5 base loop; Time: 4 hr for base, side trips extra; Open: Year round.
Location: Start: Gravel parking lot about 12.5 mi. north of Moab on UT-191 (0.5 mi after UT-313) on left.   Head north on Cotter Road, 1 mi follow left up steep hill.   Short of 2 mile, sign on left for 7-Mile Rim.
Return: Right on Mill Cyn Road through Tusher Wash only 0.1 mile then climb out to right.   2 mi east on Mill Canyon Road to intersection of Cotter Mine Road.   Either go south back to start or continue east on Mill Cyn Road to UT-191.
Features: Overlooks; Monitor/Merrimac Buttes; Determination Towers; variety of terrain; can extend with side trips to Uranium Arch, Sevenmile Cyn Overlook and Tusher Tunnel; access to many roads crossing Courthouse Pasture. Gas and snacks available at campground on UT-191 north of UT-313..

Rainbow Terrace Trail

Description: Difficulty: Moderate – two mile rocky moderate portion with one steep spot.   Stock vehicles may make it with careful tire placement.   Northern portion in dry creek with possible flash flooding.   Avoid if rain expected.
Length: 12.5 mi (one-way); Time: 2 hrs. for trail; Open: Year-round.
Location: Start: 12 mi north of Moab on UT-191 left on UT-313 toward park.   Turn right on Dubinky Well Road (unmarked) at 8.5 mi. then right at fork (1.4 mi).   Left on Spring Canyon Point Road (4.9 mi.).   West 2.2 mi turn right on single-lane sandy road just after Tombstone Rock.
Return: Right on Blue Hills to UT-191 (impassable when wet). Or south on Dubinky Well Road, on right shortly after you get on Blue Hills Road.
Features: Views from broad ledge on side of Rainbow Rocks; photos of dark red rock. Gas and snacks at campground on UT-191 just north of UT-313.

There you have it, the five trails in the Hidden Canyon and Bartlett Wash section of this map. Next post, those final trails in the Secret Spire and Mineral Point area.

Learn A Little More

While digitizing the trails in this area, I had occasion to open some of the many Panoramio photographs especially those many in the "bowknot" area.   The river turning itself in a knot not once but several times where you can see it both coming and going simultaneously, put me in mind of this song sung by Ray Stevens about the dilemma he finds himself in where he just may be… "His Own Grandpa."


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