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Old 09-19-2011, 12:26 AM   #14
RedRockRider OP
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Joined: Aug 2011
Location: St. George, UT
Oddometer: 1,480
Cedar Breaks & Zion via North Fork Road

Greetings, Inmates! This post covers a ride with Dad from Brian Head to Saint George via Cedar Breaks National Monument and Zion National Park. From a riding standpoint, the highlight is the North Fork Road (good dirt) which runs from Navajo Lake to the east entrance of Zion National Park.

This is a great ride, doable on any dual sport, perhaps even a (smaller) street bike if conditions are dry and the road has been recently maintained. Today the weather was great. At higher elevations the aspens will be changing in 1-2 weeks. Try to see this area (or Kolob Reservoir Rd on the west flank of Zion) if at all possible.

On to the pics!

We left Brian Head on UT 143. The road passed under Brian Head peak and traverses high meadows to UT 148 and Cedar Breaks National Monument.

The entrance to Cedar Breaks. This is about 10,000 ft. Our day would finish in St. George, about 3,000 ft. Southern Utah has large elevation variations which makes for great motorcycling.

Lots of road bikes along the rim of Cedar Breaks. This bike was from San Diego, camping in Utah for a few days. Very ADV-like, especially for a Harley. Nice rider.

At Point Supreme -- RedRockRider with no helmet on.

And the Cedar Breaks money shot. Brian Head peak is the small wedge on the left horizon. Cedar Breaks is not quite as spectacular as Bryce, but very lightly visited. Cedar Breaks is also several thousand feet higher, hence cooler in summer and doesn't open after winter snow until much, much later. This year the road to Cedar Breaks didn't open until late June.

Worth a close up. Great colors!

Next, was Navajo Lake. Here's Dad at the overlook, on UT 14, just before Duck Creek. Navajo Lake is great for kayaking and canoeing.

There are also some nice hikes in this area, specifically Cascade Waterfall.

Dad on his Honda, skirting the shoreline of Navajo Lake. Very good dirt. Lots of camping.

My Yamaha WR, near the end of Navajo Lake, at the beginning of the North Fork Road.

Exploring a side-track off the North Fork Road. Lots of territory, all very scenic. There is only one stream crossing required. It is an easy ford, fairly soon after Navajo Lake. All the other stream crossing have culverts.

Taking break and enjoying the day together. Lots to see as you slowly lose elevation. Changing temps, plants, etc.

Time for a snack, call it lunch. Got to have a pic.

For a good distance, the North Fork Road runs parallel to the North Fork of the Virgin River. This river (stream) starts at Navajo Lake (Cascade Falls), and works its way down into Zion Canyon (the Narrows). The road leaves the river at Chamberlain's Ranch, the start of the top-down Narrows hike.

Always good to use your mirrors

After a few more miles you pop out on pavement at Zion Ponderosa Ranch (recent ADV location), and head down to Zion.

The bikes in Zion.

Even the mountain sheep think the WR is cool. Get close and check it out.

Through the tunnels and down the switchbacks below the great arch. Got to grab a shot with Zion cliffs in late afternoon sunlight. Ride this road if you ever get the chance!

There are lots of ways to get from Zion (Springdale) back to St. George. We called the family, bought gas, then started to haul ass, if you call going ~60 mph on smaller dual sport bikes on asphalt "hauling ass." The dirt variations are more fun, but obviously take more time. In particular, I recommend the Smithsonian Butte Scenic Backway, south of Rockville if you're in the area with time to explore.

After a few miles, we stopped for a convenient fast food break -- call it dinner.

We still did a little loopin' around. Here is final shot taken from above Sand Hollow reservoir, just after sunset.

Finally, the WR back in St. George, next to the TW. My father-in-law is visiting from PA next week. I'll take him out riding with my dad. Me and the two old guys, (age 73 and 80). We won't set any speed records, but we'll see some interesting territory. I'll post up a few pics as the week unfolds.

Thanks for checkin' in. Hope you're enjoying the ride.

RedRockRider - WR250R, TW200, Versys, Vulcan 900 LT, Zuma 125

Southwest Utah: Dual Sport Riding from St. George
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