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Old 10-29-2011, 10:53 PM   #95
RedRockRider OP
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Joined: Aug 2011
Location: St. George, UT
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Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Scenic Backway Loop

Continuation of Post #91 from above. Loop ride with Dad. Start in Bloomington. Gain elevation on dirt through Blake's Lambing Grounds, drop into Mine Valley (now on the Apex Mine Rd), travel west on the Mojave Desert Joshua Tree Scenic Backway over Bulldog Pass and down Bulldog Canyon. Hit pavement at Old Highway 91, climb the Utah Hill, and cruise asphalt back down, past Ivins, through Santa Clara, and into St. George.

This is one of first rides I did with my dad a few years ago. We've done it, or a close variation of it dozens of times. All good! Thanks, Dad. Always super fun.

Here's the map:



Note: These roads do get washed out frequently. Maintenance also changes the nature of the road -- lots of loose gravel on steeper sections. You should always be able to get through, but some of the higher elevation sections can get a little sketchy.


Navajo Drive in Bloomington. Three miles from my house. Let the good times roll!




Our standard line-up. Dad on the red Honda. I'm on the blue WRR.




The early reviews are positive for the new Tourmaster Jacket. Cold enough to keep both liners in. Overall very nice weather. Every ride report needs a mirror shot.




We're taking a different variation up through Blake's Lambing Grounds, this is double track that follows near powerlines. Some loose rock in parts.




Typical scene up high.




Just starting to drop into Mine Valley. Pine Valley Mountain in background. The road switchbacks down to the left just after this spot. From that point, no more views back towards Pine Valley Mountain. Orientation switches westward towards Nevada (even though the entire ride is in Utah).




Quick stop at the top of Bulldog Pass, heading west. Starting to get big views (distant) out into Nevada. Lots of signs of ranching activity -- corrals, cisterns, etc. No cattle. All at lower elevations by now.




Dad descending into Bulldog Canyon. The high bluffs in the distance form the northern edge of the Virgin River Gorge. I-15 is on the other side of this ridgeline. We've seen Rocky Mountain Sheep (Rams) in this area. Very skittish around people / motorbikes.




Desert plants. Especially prevalent on south/west facing slopes.




A few tracks to explore. Most are for powerline access and dead-end very quickly. A few interesting campsites in the area. This area is pretty remote. There are more day users as you drop elevation and get closer to Old Highway 91.




Soon you see the first Joshua trees. This is the "edge" of the Mojave Desert. This is the northern range for Joshua trees. Just 10 miles from here and slightly lower elevation are some very, very healthy Joshua tree forests. We'll cover that on a future ride. Dad loves to go photograph the Joshua trees.




Takin' a final break in the Joshua Tree National Landmark area, just before Old 91 pavement. Most of this area was badly burned. There are several scientific studies measuring re-growth patterns.




Looking back, the road we came down. Beaver Dam Mountains behind us.




Also looking back, the new entrance sign for the Mojave Desert Scenic Backway. This road turns north and reconnects with Old Highway 91 in the Shivwitz Indian Reservation. I've written it up several times. It is a great road in either direction and is maintained enough that any ADV bike should always be able to get through. Smallish road bikes could also make it. Don't take road-type bikes up into Blake's Lambing Grounds.




This is your exit / entrance onto pavement (Old 91). The burn area is called the Woodbury Desert Study Area. This is the sign you can see from pavement. The other sign is back off pavement quite a bit.




We messed around for a short bit on a nearby road that heads to Beaver Dam Wash. It is in good condition. This is the land of the Joshua Trees, a future ride. Hopefully not too long. This pic is Dad retracing our path back to pavement with the Utah Hill in background.




Great ridin' area. Check it out if you can, inmates. Thanks for lookin' in.
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Southwest Utah: Dual Sport Riding from St. George
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