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Old 01-29-2012, 12:16 AM   #1
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TWOLOST: Looking for UT trip advice

Time frame:
  • Last week in April through most of May, 2012
    Will be in Flagstaff, AZ on May 17, 18, 19, 20.

  • SMB 4x4 package, EB series van sitting on 35 x 12.50 x 17 tires
    Approx 25' in length with dual sport m/c hanging off of the back.
    Approx 8' 4" wide

Travel path:
  • WA, OR, ID, UT, and then into AZ for the Overland Journal event.

  • Have an EB series van with a diesel generator hanging underneath, rear (restricting ground clearance).
    Will have a dual sport m/c hanging off of the back (used to scout roads possibly not passible by the van).
    Not interested in damaging the exterior of the van while traveling (heavy pinstriping, rocker panel teeter todder, or departure angle hang-time).
    Will not leave the van unattended for any amount of time (to take guided tours, etc...)
    My wife and our two year old daughter will be along too. This plays into road width and just how far down it is outside of the passengers window. This also plays into hiking distances.
    Travel time should be restricted to something under eight hours per day (180 to 300 miles of travel, depending on road surface, terrain, and speed limits).
    Cold and freezing temps ok. We wont even know what to do if the outside temp gets above 75F.

Possible areas of interest:
  • Arches
    Grand Canyon
    Island in the Sky
    Natural Bridges National Monument
    Capitol Reef

Travel style:
  • Enjoy off road travel, remote, less people
    Up to three consecutive days, primitive ok
    Need campground/lodge/hotel/etc... at least once every three days.
    Travel surface needs to account for restrictions/limitations above.
    Enjoy scenic places that everyone has photographed before and some less so.
    Like to travel most days.

Totally understand if you dont want to publically give away your secret places. We are really just looking for interesting places to go as well as places to avoid. My assumption is that this will not be our last visit... so this can be considered a scouting expedition. After all, we are traveling with a two year old (who has proven to be an awesome traveler so far)... but there are limitations. Pointers to other trip reports in this area are also helpful.

Basic area of operation: (UT mostly with some AZ)



---Bruce--- (
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Old 01-29-2012, 08:23 AM   #2
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Re: TWOLOST: Looking for UT trip advice

The Burr Trail off of hiway 12 out of Boulder Utah to Bullfrog takes you through the tip of the Grand Staircase-Escalante national Monument and drops you into Capitol Reef National Park. Long Canyon on that road is pretty cool and the Switchbacks on the Burr Trail is another very interesting area. ... -trail.htm

You drop 800' in 1/2 mile on the switchback section of the Burr trail.

I rode the Burr Trail on a bicycle tour in 2004. I was very impressed with the area. Keep an eye open for flash floods.

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Old 01-29-2012, 09:46 AM   #3
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Re: TWOLOST: Looking for UT trip advice

For a non-SMB diversion, there's the train from Williams, AZ to the south rim of the Grand Canyon. Had a great time on that trip with my son last May. You'll only get 3-4 hours at the rim, but it's a fun adventure. We also spent a few nights at the Grand Canyon RV Park in Williams. Yeah, it's an RV park, but it was very convenient being an easy, easy walk to the train depot.

The train they use for their special Polar Express trip in the holiday season

We had some great, dynamic weather while at the South Rim.

Williams is at 8000', so snow in May is a possibility

Our train was "held up" on the way back

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Old 01-29-2012, 10:01 AM   #4
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Re: TWOLOST: Looking for UT trip advice

Moab is a zoo in May so it will not meet the Prime Directive unless you work at it (., remote and less people). It's also not on the way to Zion and Bryce because L. Powell is in the way. I suggest would hit that on the way down or way back and plan your travel on either side of the lake. Make sense? The Needles District is awesome but will also be busy. If you want to stay near the best hiking the FS campground is really nice but get there early to get a spot.

If you came down through SLC and 89 you could do the day thing in Bryce. You could hit Zion but you've got to do the shuttle bus thing. I'd do some of the overlooks at Bryce and then spend your offroad time on Cottonwood Canyon Rd between Cannonville and hwy89. There's numerous short slot canyon hikes you can do in the area and not far from the rd including one right off the rd (eg., Bull Valley Gorge, Willis Creek,and Round Valley Draw). Kodachrome Basin State Park is nice. The road is not to be trifled with when wet but chances are there won't be much weather in May. The southwest will be starting to cook in late May. April is more of a mixed bag with potential late winter storms and lots of wind.

I also 2nd the previous poster's suggestion of the Burr Trail but you'll need to take the Ferry across the lake. South of Price is the San Rafael Swell which has lots of nice off road exploring. There's nice camping at the Wedge Overlook above the San Rafael River.

If you decide to hit both Moab and sw Utah on the way down and it looks like you have enough time I would do Moab first and then go through Monticello and Blanding. Head west and check out Natural Bridges Nat. Monument. There's some awesome dispersed camping a little south from there at Muley Point overlooking the Goosenecks of the San Juan River. Then cross the lake at Hite and over to hwy 12 which is very scenic and goes above 10,000 feet with big views of Waterpocket Fold. Lots of dispersed camping in the White Canyon area near Nat. Bridges. There's a great swimming hole off of hwy 12 between Escalante and Boulder. If you feel like splurging the Boulder Inn is to die for and the Hells Backbone Grill is quite a treat (google it).

Southern Utah is a big place with lots to explore. You really can't go wrong with any road you decide to go down
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Old 01-29-2012, 01:49 PM   #5
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Re: TWOLOST: Looking for UT trip advice

Concur with all of the above. Camping is allowed at Goosenecks State Park (toilet and picnic tables).
Boondocking (no facilities) in Valley of the Gods is awesome.
Butler Wash road between Hwy 95 and Hwy 163 west of Blanding; good hikes to the west into the back side of Comb Ridge, many of these have Indian ruins. Ask locally in Bluff or Blanding.
If you can hit Monticello on a weekday during business hours stop at the courthouse and buy a copy of the official county road map. Many roads are marked only with San Juan County road numbers, this map is the best decoder ring for where they might lead you.
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:22 PM   #6
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Re: TWOLOST: Looking for UT trip advice

CHeck out Andrews post, he just did that route if i rememeber

Bill Wilson's Tour de Utah Xmas 2010/2011:

Most of the Utah stuff are close between
short travel days

So Cal
Mojave Preserve, CA
Valley of Fire, NV
Snow Canyon SP, Utah
Bryce, Utah
Kodachrome SP, Utah
Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Utah
Snow Canyon, Utah
Mojave Preserve, CA

No boon docking, ' twas winter
The Utah State parks ROCK, clean, nice bathrooms/showers
Will be crowded April/May

Snow Canyon worth the trip
Kodachrome worth the trip

CHECK OUT Cottonwood Canyon Road
was closed when we went but looks GREAT ... _road.html

Walmart in St George Utah has GREAT PRICES on food and gear
tons of outdoor stuff, not found in a regular Walmart

I know where my stack of Utah maps and stuff is and will dig it out

Next year we will prob go back
Did northern cal this Xmas/NY
Want to hit SO Utah again
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Old 01-29-2012, 03:40 PM   #7
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Re: TWOLOST: Looking for UT trip advice

I can add my Amen to every recommendation given to you so far. All of the locations suggested are excellent. It has been my experience that in Central, South-Central and South-Eastern Utah you can just about pick any dirt road you see and head out on it knowing you will see something of interest. The same is true of the Arizona Strip on the north side of the Colorado River and the Grand Canyon. My suggestion, before you leave on your trip pick the places you definitely want to go to. Then save some time on your trip to see something in the distance and say, "Let's go see what's over there!." There is always something around the next bend in Central and Southern Utah. You will find your own favorite camping spots by just heading out and seeing what is out there.
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Old 01-29-2012, 05:07 PM   #8
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Re: TWOLOST: Looking for UT trip advice

I was there for one month and enjoyed it.
A lot to see and wide open trails.

Here is the link to the trip post and I still need to upload the end of the trip.

Available if you need more data.

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Old 01-29-2012, 05:38 PM   #9
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Re: TWOLOST: Looking for UT trip advice

I would highly recommend Canyonlands National Park Maze District. You need to give yourself enough time to fully enjoy the experience. If you go "under the shelf" and the drive into The Dollhouse from Hans Flat can take ~6 hours (Tea Pot Rock to Dollhouse is mainly in 4 low and roughly 12 miles). Give yourself 4-5 days or longer if possible, and remember the drive in and drive out take a lot out of you.

This is one of the most beautiful and isolated parts of the lower 48, and the memories of my trips there will last a lifetime. The hikes into the "maze" are incredible, and the petroglyphs on the canyon walls will absolutely stun you.

Some of my favorites are having two fighter jets buzz our campsite in the middle of the night, see for the first time what the Orion constellation is all about, and partaking in a helicopter rescue that undoubtedly saved a mans life.

PS I know our rigs can make it in, few years back I saw a full size dodge pickup on youtube running some of the trails. There is a member of the forum that has his White EB Hard top parked in front of the Wall ( And I fulling intend on doing this again, once our 4x4 is installed.

PSS Call up the NPS in Moab and make reservations well ahead of time. Dollhouse 2 in my opinion is the best (good access to spanish bottom and confluence overlook), but Dollhouse 3 is more isolated (access to Ernies Country). The Wall and Chimney rock are more out in the open but are easily accessible to the actual "maze".

Hope you go because I can't wait to see the pictures you take.

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Old 01-29-2012, 10:56 PM   #10
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Re: TWOLOST: Looking for UT trip advice

Many thanks for all of the info!! You folks have already pointed out places I have not run across in my research so far. Scribbling notes like crazy and following URL after URL.


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