Saucer Basin and Bull Hollow via Mountain Bike

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Udink

Keep going.
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Jan 17, 2012
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1,256
Last weekend I took to the San Rafael Desert and did some mountain biking. I'd recently watched this video of biking at Saucer Basin and seen some photos of people riding near Bull Hollow, and I set out to ride in both areas myself. Saucer Basin was a lot of fun. I parked on the side of a nice graded dirt road and started riding the slickrock right from the truck. It had rained a lot in recent days and I found several pools full of water. The riding was smooth and flowing, and routefinding around bowls of sand and cracks in the sandstone was fairly easy. I rode to the west along a fin of sandstone to a point overlooking the upper drainage of Moonshine Wash just above where it becomes a slot canyon. I returned east then rode north to a local high point in the slickrock. The terrain became jointed and eventually I had to ditch the bike and hike for a while to reach the high point. On my way back toward the truck I wandered around a bit and explored the slickrock more by bike. I returned to the truck after almost three hours of riding and ate lunch, then moved along toward Bull Hollow.


Parked on the slickrock near Saucer Basin


Slickrock with Saucer Basin looking unusually green in the distance


One of several pools in the slickrock


Another large pool


Old cairn and post


This was steeper than it looks--I tried to stop and kept skidding downhill


End of a sandstone fin


View over Moonshine Wash toward Gruver's Mesa


Saucer Basin slickrock


Colorful chert that was everywhere


Near the high point of the slickrock


View north from the high point


Possibly the only tree for miles around


Drainage leading into Saucer Basin



On the way to Bull Hollow I detoured to check out what looked like a dam in Google Earth. Before I started hiking I waited out a storm that was on the far side of Keg Spring Canyon and looked like it was moving in my direction, but after about 30 minutes it was clear that the storm would miss me. It was a short hike and I actually found two dams there. The first I encountered was an earthen dam with a basin that had been blasted out of the sandstone. The second (which I'd seen in Google Earth) looked like concrete, but after a closer look I realized it was some sort of concrete/styrofoam mix.


Parked on a knoll south of Bull Hollow


Storm to the east


Fluffy clouds to the west


Hiking out to two strange dams


Reservoir that was blasted out of the sandstone, with an earthen dam


Another reservoir with a styrofoam and concrete dam


Styrofoam and concrete dam


Blast marks


Interesting green and yellow chert



With my curiosity satisfied, I headed back to the truck and moved along to the Bull Hollow area. That turned out not to be as fun as riding Saucer Basin. The sandstone was rougher and there were more joints and sandy areas within the sandstone that made riding and routefinding difficult. I ended up following an old road for much of the distance as I made my way to an overlook of the Green River in Labyrinth Canyon. Despite the riding not being as fun, the views more than made up for it. I spent about two and a half hours riding to and from the rim of Labyrinth Canyon.


Riding the slickrock around the head of Bull Hollow


View into Bull Hollow


Across the slickrock, nearing Labyrinth Canyon


Rim of Labyrinth Canyon


Green River panorama


Nearby Entrada Sandstone formations with the Book Cliffs and Mt. Elliott in the distance


Navajo layers


Riding along an old road



While driving home I stopped at Chaffin Ranch and checked out a cistern that I'd never noticed on my several previous trips there. It was fully lined in concrete and had a ceiling made of steel and wood beams topped with concrete. Inside were quite a few dead rabbits that I can only imagine ended up there accidentally. The geyser at the ranch wasn't erupting, though I took some photos of the interesting textures and colors in the minerals there.


Cistern at Chaffin Ranch


Roof detail


Dead rabbits in the cistern


Chaffin Geyser mineral textures


Chaffin Geyser mineral textures


Chaffin Geyser mineral textures


Chaffin Geyser mineral textures


Chaffin Geyser mineral textures




Photo Gallery: Saucer Basin and Bull Hollow via Mountain Bike
GPS Tracklog and Photo Waypoints:
[Google Earth .KMZ] [Google Maps] [Gmap4 Topo]

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TannerT

Hike Hard, Tread Lightly
Joined
May 15, 2013
Messages
589
Awesome. The MBing was great but your pictures of the textures and geology was fantastic. Thanks for sharing.

Salud!
 

nonameiwant

Member
Joined
Jan 25, 2012
Messages
151
Such a cool area. I need to get a mountain bike and do some day trips or bike packing
 

slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
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Jun 7, 2012
Messages
1,645
There are so many roads out there, Mountain Biking seams like the way to go.
 

Nick

Spiral out.
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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,604
Awesome. I love that area. Cool to see more of it, especially in the detail like this. Seems like a nice area to just wander around in the cooler seasons.
 

Nick

Spiral out.
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Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,604
@Udink - Do you know if they have made any progress with an actual mountain bike trail in Saucer Basin, or is it all just free ride still? I've been digging around and all I can find is old stuff saying that they hoped to have it all setup like a year or two ago.
 

Udink

Keep going.
Joined
Jan 17, 2012
Messages
1,256
@Udink - Do you know if they have made any progress with an actual mountain bike trail in Saucer Basin, or is it all just free ride still? I've been digging around and all I can find is old stuff saying that they hoped to have it all setup like a year or two ago.
I haven't been back since this trip and I haven't heard anything more about developing routes/trails. The last time I drove past, though, there was a big cairn right where I'd parked and plenty of mountain bike tracks heading off through the sand toward the slickrock. I'd guess there are no marked trails yet 'cause the gears turn very slowly at the BLM.
 

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