Had a great ride with Dad this weekend. South onto the AZ Strip from Washington Fields. We were intending to follow BLM 1035, also known as the Sunshine Trail on Google Maps, about 20 miles south (between East and West Mesa) to Navajo Trail. We'd then return to St. George via BLM 1069, the "dirt highway" from Mount Trumbull Schoolhouse.
For those following along, here's the map:
We either missed a sign (marker) or just turned east too soon. Lots of little roads/tracks in this area. Often when Dad and I go out exploring we don't have a firm destination/route in mind. I'd say more of a general direction. All good.
So, we turned east and followed along a powerline road. Lots of little ups and downs, a few spots with loose gravel and washed out dry stream crossings. Wouldn't be a good place after dark or in the rain (mud). Gradually we realized we missed the 1035 turn to the south, but we just continued on the powerline road towards the Hurricane Cliffs. These cliffs are very prominent and visible for many miles. We knew from prior rides that we'd hit BLM 1036 (not a good road) at the base of the cliffs and be able to turn back north. Rode home through Warner Valley. Lots of dust. About 65 miles, lots of it at slower speeds. Will have to try again for 1035. Promises to be a good ride deeper out onto the Strip.
About 10 miles south of St. George, crossing in to AZ. Little Black Mountain Petroglyph site in this area. Also easy to access from the River Road exit onto the AZ Strip. Navajo Trail was our intended destination. Good reason for another ride, hopefully soon!
Starting out on BLM #1035. We let a guy in a truck get a little distance on us. Too much dust for close following.
Quick elevation gains once you enter AZ. Nice dirt curves!
Following the powerlines. We're off-track at this point, but probably could still loop around to find 1035, but the riding is good so we keep going.
Park the bikes and take a look around at the top of a little hill climb. Just enough loose rocks to make it interesting. Pine Valley Mountain in the background.
Big powerlines. These same powerlines extend west to the Gypsum Mine by the Black Rock Road exit on the AZ/UT border. Same powerlines cross Virgin River then climb Beaver Dam Mountains (Apex Mine area), then descend Bull Dog Canyon to Old Highway 91 in Nevada.
Cool gate. Take a pic. Carried extra gas, but didn't end up coming close to needing any of it.
Dad on his Honda. Good bike for these roads. Dad is always up for exploring. Much more about the "journey" rather than the "destination." Get out and ride with your dad and/or son. I always appreciate the Dad/son rides posted on ADV.
Impressive multi-colored rock almost everywhere you look. Lots of erosion patterns. This is canyon country.
Dad checking back on me. I had the camera out frequently, always looking for the best backdrop.
View of the Hurricane Cliffs. Mostly white rock. Very prominent. By this time, we have formulated the new plan to go back north, then cross Warner Valley. Always a chance of an impassable washout though. Until you connect with familiar roads you never know.
Lots of easy, flowing sections between the rocky steep spots.
We hook back onto a "known" road, BLM #1036. Turn north to head back to Utah.
Here's Dad popping through one of the easier wash crossings. All the standard hazards: lips/ledges to enter or exit, deep loose sand or gravel in the bottom, and most often lots of big rocks. Nothing ominous here. Even though this is only ~20 miles from St. George, you probably wouldn't see another person here all day. Area is just too vast, lots of little dirt tracks, and a very small number of people once you leave town.
Some early Mormon Pioneer history. This was a rough wagon road to the St. George Temple. I assume the couples had different accommodations for the coming and going trips. http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/st__g...oon_trail.html
The road improves markedly as you go north towards Hurricane. The red rock bluff is very visible from the south end of Warner Valley.
Here's Dad on a different section of road. We were enjoying using the higher gears on our bikes after picking through a lot of slower stuff earlier.
Rather than continuing north to Hurricane and coming home via pavement (backside of Sand Hollow Reservoir would be best), we turn west and go through Warner Valley. Lots of dirt bike and ATV off-roading here. Easy access to Sand Mountain.
Dad in Warner Valley with the red bluff and Hurricane Cliffs directly behind him.
Late afternoon light on some of the cliffs of Sand Mountain. Great ride Dad, thanks!
Hope all you inmates and lurkers and starting to enjoy the holiday season. Best to all!