Cedar to Capitol Reef

Discussion in 'Hiking & Camping' started by Nick, Nov 20, 2016.

  1. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

    I've spent most of fall this year running around Utah riding my mountain bike. Not because I'm hugely into mountain biking - yes, it is fun, but more so because my side job of writing trail guides has expanded into also writing up some mountain biking trails around the state. 70 of them to be exact. Well, sort of. A handful of the trails will be paved bike trails and some will be double track routes like the White Rim and Gemini Bridges. I might even get to sneak a few hikes in there. But the majority of them will be classic singletrack routes. In order to get the most trails done in the least amount of time, I recruited my friend @Smokey to help me by coming along. He rides with me sometimes and runs shuttle when trails can be done that way.

    Our first big work trip of the season started in Cedar City in early October. We spent the night out at the Three Peaks trails system west of Cedar. We had the place all to ourselves that night. The next day I saddled up and did a few trails. I don't include too many trails shots but here are a few from the Twilight Zone in Three Forks. My skill level is not quite there with the wooden bridges.

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    After Three Peaks we went and grabbed lunch and then did a couple of paved trails in Cedar City. The Coal Creek Trail had great color going on.

    From there we continued east up Cedar Canyon and up to Cedar Breaks National Monument where I walked a new ADA Accessible paved trail that runs from this overlook to the visitor center. The trail itself doesn't have much in the way of views, but the beginning and end are nice.
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    Next we drove down into Panguitch where we picked up some local firewood and headed east toward Red Canyon. It was a little too late to squeeze in another trail so we went and found this sweet campsite and went for a little hike around camp.
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    The next day we woke up and headed over to Red Canyon where I rode the paved trail through the canyon. There were a lot of bikers there using it to access the Thunder Mountain Trail. I might come back for that later once I'm more confident.
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    And after that I rode the Bryce Canyon paved trail that connects Bryce Canyon City to Inspiration Point IMG_5795.jpg

    Unfortunately the skies were getting increasingly cloudy so the other plans I had nearby were put on ice. At least a little bit of sunshine and blue sky is required for the kind of photos that I need for these trails.

    We ended up driving further east, eventually passing through Escalante and Boulder. The clouds blocked the sun completely until we made it out onto the Burr Trail late in the afternoon.

    We stopped along the way to hike this sweet little slot canyon.
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    I absolutely love driving east through amazing landscapes late in the evening with the sun at my back. The Burr trail is perfectly suited for this.

    Sage checking out the view where the Burr Trail breaks through the Circle Cliffs
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    As the day winded down, we made our way out onto the Wolverine Loop to find camp.

    We found a nice one.

    Wandering around watching the sunset.
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    The next day we hiked the Wolverine Natural Wood Area. I had already hiked most of Wolverine but I took another fork to loop back to Little Death Hollow. It was nice to finally see the rest of it.
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    There wasn't as much petrified wood as I expected. There were some really nice, long pieces, but it isn't as unique to the area as the designation might suggest.
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    This one might be the girthiest I've ever seen though.
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    We got back to the truck and finished the Wolverine Loop before heading further east into Capitol Reef.

    Nice color on the Burr Trail.

    The Burr Trail Switchbacks
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    Heading north on the Notom Road

    Lots of color in Capitol Reef. The main canyon was a mix of green and yellow and very beautiful but I didn't stop for any pictures. It was a productive weekend despite the clouds messing things up for a while.
  2. Yvonne

    Yvonne I lava it!!!

    Pahoa, HI
    what an awesome trip.
    I used the paved trail in Red Canyon a bit with my Inline speed skates, super cool.
    I hope they will get enough snow this winter so I can cross country ski up there.
    Love the campsite you ended up at night. I think I really ned to get out more next year and go back to these awesome places between Boulder and Escalante.
  3. Wanderlust073

    Wanderlust073 Member

    Truck - check
    Dog - check
    Wilderness - check

    Doesn't get much better than that...
    Mike K and Nick like this.
  4. Ross

    Ross Member

    sounds like another good trip. I want to be your dog in my next life!!
    Glasterpiece and Nick like this.
  5. ashleyoutside

    ashleyoutside Member

    Love the sunset photos. And your dog should model more often - definitely a natural :)
    Nick likes this.
  6. Michael

    Michael Alien from over the pond...

    Great weekend and beautiful pictures!
    Along the BTR are many, many really nice places - IMO.
    Utah in autumn - I should think about it.
    BTW Wolverine Rd. The entry from the west has had a pretty good shape this spring.
    But the rest? I've no idea. Possible w/ a RV?
    Thanks in advance. :)

    Gesendet von iPad mit Tapatalk
    Nick likes this.
  7. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

    It was never been in good shape when I've driven it. This time the worst part was the west side where it crosses the wash in Horse Canyon. If it were all freshly graded and in good shape, I suspect an adventurous driver in a small RV could pull it off.
    Michael likes this.
  8. slc_dan

    slc_dan Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior

    Salt Lake City
    I love that area so much. My favorite shot is the Notom Road with the jagged fold in the background, and those spectacular creosote hills on the left. I really need to drive that road again soon.
    Michael likes this.
  9. Laura

    Laura freespirittraveler

    San Diego
    Awesome trip! I remember that spot on the Burr Trail when I was there in 2013 but didn't realize it was a slot canyon. I'll have to go back next time, and do the whole thing while I'm at it.

    Where can I get your mountain bike trail guide? Stan and I are coming to Utah in December and he's looking for trails he can ride that time of year. He was thinking around Hurricane because Gooseberry Mesa will probably be too icy. Any suggestions?
  10. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

    It's really, really short, but very sweet.

    None of my bike guides are up yet. I'll start writing them next month and they'll get published in batches between then and next summer. They'll be part of the Intermountain Healthy Hikes catalog and in the Intermountain Health Hub App with the other hikes I've written up over the years. These will put the total to 250 trails once I'm done. Phew!

    In the mean time, check out trailforks.com and their awesome app. Utahmountainbiking.com is also a good resource (but a crappy execution). Pretty much all of the trails around St. George are good in the winter so long as you give them time to dry after storms. I have several weekends planned there in the very near future.
    Laura, Mike K and Michael like this.
  11. Ugly

    Ugly Member

    Made a stop at that little slot off the Burr Trail this spring. it is sweet and had a little drip of runoff.

    My daughter thought that a cottonwood there had a little Harry Potter going on: (you can see the same log in one of your photos... which is what reminded me we had stopped there)
    Nick likes this.
  12. Reef&Ruins

    Reef&Ruins Member

    As per the Wolverine petrified wood area... it didn't seem like there was much until we hiked *ahem* a bit off trail. There's a spot where several trees worth of wood tumbles down into a wash. Huge pieces and lots of it.