Saucer Basin and Bull Hollow via Mountain Bike


Disappointed, passed over.
Jan 17, 2012
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]

Featured image for home page:


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



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


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


Aug 9, 2007
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.


Aug 9, 2007
@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.


Disappointed, passed over.
Jan 17, 2012
@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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