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  1. #1
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    Recommend a SW Utah spring break adventure?

    Edit: SOUTHWEST Utah.
    Iím apparently canít fix the title

    Wasnít sure if I should put this in the padded room for more exposure, as Iím not sure if anyone looks at the biking forum while the snow is so good. But seeing Zionís recent pic in the ďgo forth and rideĒ thread makes me want to head for the desert.

    We have our kidsí spring break coming up in mid-march. We know SE Utah pretty well, but have really only explored Paria Canyon and Zion NP in the SW area of the state. I know thereís a whole world to explore around Grand Staricase and I want some.

    This will not only be a mtb trip, but we want go climbing too. Prefer sport climbing on moderates (5.9-5.11ish).

    Also would love some hikes (or rides) to desert canyons with water or other cool places.

    Will be car-camping and typically prefer BLM/free to paid campgrounds but could go either way. Maybe a night or two in a cool airbnb or hotel if thereís something that anyone can recommend.

    Thanks!






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    Last edited by Tech Tonics; 01-26-2020 at 07:41 PM.

  2. #2
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    Go to Moab. Camp above The Red Cliff Lodge in Castle Valley. The world will be you oyster
    ďA society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.Ē
    ― Milton Friedman

  3. #3
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    As much as I appreciate your tip, we spend lots of time in the Moab area, as we live a couple hours away. Looking to explore SW Utah.

  4. #4
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    no idea on the climbing, but riding hurricane, thunder mnt (might be too winterish?) and if you need to head south to Vegas?

    Few new areas in hurricane too with little creek mesa, wire messa and some south of town/sand flats area


  5. #5
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    Zion is packed at spring break. But the temps are nice and the scenery is amazing. Bryce can often have snow, but is clear some years. I usually do Moab, because I know it’s safe weather wise.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tech Tonics View Post
    As much as I appreciate your tip, we spend lots of time in the Moab area, as we live a couple hours away. Looking to explore SW Utah.
    Except your title says SE Utah
    For SW UT, I'd go a bit south to Page and visit Antelope Canyon
    Last edited by schindlerpiste; 01-26-2020 at 05:07 PM.
    ďA society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.Ē
    ― Milton Friedman

  7. #7
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    You mean Page?
    Forum Cross Pollinator

  8. #8
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    Whoops! I need to edit
    ďA society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.Ē
    ― Milton Friedman

  9. #9
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    Bikes are not allowed off the roads in grand staircase escalante. Bolts are also not allowed in many areas. The beginning of the burr trail by Boulder has some routes and i have rode horse canyon road which you can connect with death hollow slot. I know you said sw utah but san luis valley has great sport climbing and riding at penitente and a few other areas.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by schindlerpiste View Post
    Except your title says SE Utah
    For SW UT, I'd go a bit south to Page and visit Antelope Canyon
    Or west canyon....

    Donít some of the Kelsey books have good recs for that area with kids?

  11. #11
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    Eugenio Oregůn
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    How old are the kids and how many are coming with?

    High clearance or not? Camping rig or tents?

    You can camp at Gooseberry Mesa and Little Creek Mesa and get onto slick rock right from your car, but I have no idea how the weather is in mid March. Gooseberry is fully marked for riding but LCM is cairns and sticks on the ground only - donít go there without updating your trailforks app! Smithsonian Butte is up by Gooseberry and every time I go out there I focus on riding and have never hiked the Butte, but always wanted to.

    If the upper mesas are wet then you retreat downhill for lower elevation riding, like right outside of Hurricane and St George. The Jem trail system is a classic easy mellow scenic flowy system that makes for a great first day warmup or last day cool down. Look out for cryptobiotic crusts (living organisms in the sand) and donít step on them!

    There are some fun petroglyphs around the St George and Hurricane areas, do some googling. Kids would dig it.

    Iíve never done the Johnson dino museum outside St G ... unsure if itís worth the detour but if the kids are at an age where dinosaurs are cool, go for it.

    Speaking of dinosaurs, supposedly some dino tracks near Coral Pink Sand Dunes but the BLM ranger told me I needed locking diff and AT tires to deal with wind blown sand drifts on the access road. Coral Pink Sand dunes is a great place to camp midweek - hot showers and very scenic, but a brap carnival on the weekends with ATV rigs.

    Donation based camping outside Zion on Kolob Terrace road at ďVirgin GardensĒ or whatever itís called, just outside town of Virgin between the road and Kolob Creek.

    Most canyoneering routes with water will be full suits that time of year - I donít know which ones dry out after a rain has passed in March but that can be fun if you have the right routes and local knowledge ... aka a guide.

    Further south ... north rim of the Grand Canyon has super scenic XC mountain biking and camping on the rainbow rim trail ... camp on the rim of the Grand Canyon and also ride it ... super fun XC ride. Maybe an hour north of GC Village? Itís like 20 miles on dirt roads ...

    Enjoy! SW Ut / Northern AZ is one of my favorite areas in the lower 48!
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  12. #12
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    not too much to add other than we're planning a spring break roadtrip w our kids (8 and 10) early april and are hoping to include biking/hiking/climbing as well. leaving from slc. we've done both SE and SW UT a bunch and were thinking of venturing more into AZ. Sedona, Page, GC all possibilities. prob a stop in moab and/or st George on the way in/out. curious to what you come up with.

  13. #13
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    The North rim area will probably have too much snow to drive the roads around that time. And the road to the North Rim GC doesn't open until May 15. Last year riding the AZT there was 3-4 feet of snow between the north rim, park boundary, and for a long ways toward Jacob Lake. I've also done a bikepack all around the area on Memorial Day weekend and saw no snow. So maybe keep an eye on snow pack websites and webcams. But I still think a spring break visit will be a stretch.

    Temps in StG/Hurricane should be perfect though a lot of the dirt roads shut down if there has been rain. The camping has gotten out of control busy with van lifers. Maybe it is more doable mid-week.

    If you can go as far as N Az, there is also some cool stuff toward Vegas. Or maybe check out Death Valley. I don't know what there would be for climbing, and MTB is all on dirt roads, but there is still some cool stuff and it is not as busy as other areas.

  14. #14
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    Eugenio Oregůn
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    Recommend a SW Utah spring break adventure?

    Well, Vegas = Red Rocks and if headed from Vegas to California then itís about 3 hours from there to Joshua Tree NP, which is actually really nice weather and blooming with flowers in Mid March, and thereís only like 1000 documented crag sport routes ranging between 5.9 and 5.11 (but be aware of the year of FA because a 1970 ď5.7 - 5.9Ē is waaaay sandbagged, especially in Josh where the tiny credit card thick footholds may have been blown off years ago ...

    Re: North rim, yeah I was totally thinking North-to-South weather differential and not the 8000í+ elevation of the Kaibab plateau. Oops. I was last there mid May 2018 for a rim-to-rim hike with my then 9 weeks pregnant wife. She crushed R2R with the baby! But then spent the rest of the trip puking at the Subway canyon, Virgin River Narrows, and Little Creek Mesa trailheads ... and the next 31 weeks too!
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by evdog View Post
    Or maybe check out Death Valley. I don't know what there would be for climbing, and MTB is all on dirt roads, but there is still some cool stuff and it is not as busy as other areas.
    Iíve always thought that the panamint city and telegraph peak area sound cool. Eureka dunes and saline valley, too. When the fam and I walked the main trail that eventually gets to panamint city, it got wet/marshy really fast. DV is pretty far from SW Utah and SLC.

  16. #16
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    if your goal is to get some Grand staircase Escalante I would ignore all advice here. Since beginning to winter here 4 years I have been working on it. My previous post was to show why I think it is hard to find biking and sport climbing in the area.
    I bought a copy of Kelsey's Non technical Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau. I started with Comb Ridge, Cedar Mesa and have been working my way west. I do not know where you have been already. My advice would be catch the ferry at Bullfrog over to Halls Crossing. Than head up the Burr Trail knocking off hikes. Once you are out of Capitol Reef NP you can camp pretty much camp where ever you want. I used my bike to ride from the main road to Lower halls ck. You can use your bikes to shuttle Muley Twist canyon. It is endless. My recommendation for Horse canyon is that is mainly an orv road. you can ride the wash which when I was there was dry and fast. Than hook up with a nice non technical slot in Little Death Hollow. The rock at the top of the Burr Trail I believe is Wingate sandstone. You can than move over to Hole in the Rock road which is another lifetime. I am usually there in october where you may see a handful of cars a day. So I would imagine even during spring break it is going to be a lot less crowded than the mesas around Hurricane. I checked the road report for the Burr Trail and it is open now so I would think it would be good in March. might want chains just in case.
    off your knees Louie

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by SchralphMacchio View Post
    I was last there mid May 2018 for a rim-to-rim hike with my then 9 weeks pregnant wife. She crushed R2R with the baby! But then spent the rest of the trip puking at the Subway canyon, Virgin River Narrows, and Little Creek Mesa trailheads ... and the next 31 weeks too!
    Sounds like a gamer. Respect!

  18. #18
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    Great info guys. Thanks a lot.

    Kids are 15 and 12. They are solid riders and climbers.

    The vehicle is a somewhat capable 4wd. Just A/T tires, no locking differential. Not into ďjeepingĒ anyway.

    Iíve spent a few trips to the N. Rim and I think itís too high for mid-march. Iíve also spent a lot of time in red rocks and Joshua tree...which was the original plan, but RR is cold in March and Joshua Tree is just further away.

    Weíve also spent many weekends at Penitnte in the SLV. It can be pretty brutal in March though.

    I just donít know escalante at all, and thatís been the plan.

    Now Iím sorta thinking of switching it up again: southern AZ. Stop in Sedona and ride for a day, then down to Tucson area. Cochise Stronghold, etc.

    Sheesh I donít know.

    That said: BFD, great advice. Geeking out on maps for hallís crossing now.
    Schralp: also great advice, thanks. Iím more stoked to ride gooseberry/wire mesa than other members of my family.




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  19. #19
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    Recommend a SW Utah spring break adventure?

    That was a rad post, BFD (schralp, too).

    Are you linking up with the canyoneering former yahoo group crew? My buddy posts canyon tales, which is enjoyable reading for the canyon-centric

    https://www.math.utah.edu/~sfolias/canyontales/new/

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bodywhomper View Post
    That was a rad post, BFD (schralp, too).

    Are you linking up with the canyoneering former yahoo group crew? My buddy posts canyon tales, which is enjoyable reading for the canyon-centric

    https://www.math.utah.edu/~sfolias/canyontales/new/
    Iíll second the suggestion to read through that site. Some great stories from the early canyoneers.


    One of the better ones:

    https://www.math.utah.edu/~sfolias/c...ale/?i=psychoD

  21. #21
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    Whomper, that is some *extremely enjoyable* reading!

    My favorite kind of day is when everyone gets back without getting hurt, and all 3 types of fun are experienced in heavy doses. Most of those Canyon Tales fit that billing
    _______________________________________________
    "Strapping myself to a sitski built with 30lb of metal and fibreglass then trying to water ski in it sounds like a stupid idea to me.

    I'll be there."
    ... Andy Campbell

  22. #22
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    Ah-ha!!

    I canít believe canyon tales is over 10 yrs old!

    And thereís this: http://www.math.utah.edu/~sfolias/CPmap_sfolias.jpg

    This was originally created before google earth. This is not the detailed version either. The detailed stuff is not readily online.

  23. #23
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    Good info in Shralph's first post. I don't think you'll have an issue with snow in Hurricane/St. George area in Mid March. Everything but the top of the Mesas are in now. Give Over the Edge Hurricane a call and ask what's good to go if you're concerned.

    Favorites in Hurricane -
    JEM for flow riding, lower elevation if trails up high are snowy.
    Wire Mesa - good intermediate Half Day loop.
    Gooseberry - a classic intermediate/advanced option with possibilites to make it a longer ride. x2 on being taken over by #vanlife but the camping is free (with pit toilets!) and the views are good.
    Little Creek is a lot like Gooseberry but less traffic, less camping, and not as well marked. I got a little lost my first time there.
    Guacamole is a super fun, shorter loop on the flanks of Zion NP. Super scenic, but the road might be a little heinous if it's wet. A bit of camping at the trailhead, but no toilets.

    IF your GPS wants you to go down Smithsonian Butte road from the Mesas down into Rockville (toward Guacamole, Zion NP, and the north end of the GEM network) proceed with caution. If it's wet at all, go around. Chances are good that someone tried to 4LO and GO it when it was wet and there will be MASSIVE ruts.

    There is plenty of good riding in Santa Clara and St. George area but I'm not as familiar. Zen comes to mind as a classic. There's also a skills/Dirt jump park in town to keep the kiddos entertained for an hour or so.

  24. #24
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    Also - since you're biking, Zion actually becomes a really nice place to visit. Ride your bikes in the pedestrian route and skip the entrance gates, parking nightmare, and huge bus lines. And riding in the valley proper is *really* nice. The occasional bus, and the rare car for guests staying at the lodge... but other than that - quiet riding.

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bodywhomper View Post
    Ah-ha!!

    I can’t believe canyon tales is over 10 yrs old!

    And there’s this: http://www.math.utah.edu/~sfolias/CPmap_sfolias.jpg

    This was originally created before google earth. This is not the detailed version either. The detailed stuff is not readily online.
    Holy crap BW, that map is unreal. So cool to see all those features laid out like this. Thanks for sharing.

    If you want Esca-area, go with BFD's advice. Steve Allen's Canyoneering 3 is a great route guide too. It's warmer there than the North Rim (few thousand feet lower), but no real biking in the immediate area unless things have really changed!
    sproing!

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