|06-08-2010, 10:57 AM||#1|
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Abq NM
New Mexico Death Valley DS Loop part 1
This was a dream trip for me. I spent a lot of time last winter planning it. I wanted to include Montezuma Creek, the Maze, Grand Staircase,
Here is Part 1. This the first time I have posted a ride report here so the content and mechanics are likely to be rough. But I got so much great information here I felt obligated to share our big adventure.
Here is the map. Red lines are odd days, blue are even, and cyan and magenta are places we planned to go but didn’t for various reasons – mud, snow, too late.
I invited several people and they invited a few others and we ended up starting out with 13 guys with quite a variety of rides: 2 KLRs, 2 KTM 990s, 2 KTM950s, 3 KTM 690s, 2 KTM 640, BMW FS 800 and a KTM 250.. I was kind of apprehensive about travelling with such a large group, but it worked out well because everybody nearly always had somebody to ride with be it easy or hard.
We decided to do this the last half of April to avoid as much snow as possible and not get too hot in the desert. It might have better weather-wise to have done this trip in October, but I couldn’t bear to wait that long.
The GPS track files can be found at:
There are lots more pictures at:
One group of 7 left from Albuquerqe and the rest left from
The two groups met up here amazingly at the same time.
We started up
We spent the night in
On the second day one group left at and one at which made for a nice split. We took the Glade road out of
Next we crossed into
Had lunch in Cortez and then headed west to
We caught up with the first group here mainly because we ran into lots of first group guys riding backwards on the Montezuma creek road. They had come to a bad river crossing and didn’t want to try it.
Wechecked the map and saw a way we could skip the crossing and get back in the canyon. Had a fantastic ride thru northern part of the canyon. There were a few major ranches along the way. We saw one house built into the side of the sandstone cliff with fancy front door and windows stretching for about 100 feet of the cliff.
Happy hour in Blanding
Next day again there was an early group and a later one.
The main goal was to get to the Maze Overlook in
We picked up
Then south on a county road. After about a mile we got to a large formidable looking river crossing. We saw tracks where the early group had crossed, so we crossed at the same place. It was maybe 12-18” deep and we all made it with no stalls or falls.
Then down to UT 95 a paved road. The 950 class bikes had to air up for the hiway. They were having to air up and down a lot during the trip apparently because of the heavy weight of the bikes. Took 95 a very scenic 65 miles west thru lots of red sandstone canyons and slick rock areas to Hite for gas.
I don’t remember where this was but think it was southern
We picked up the primitive 2-track rode to the Maze area of
At about 25 miles we ran into the first group. They were at a 4-way intersection. The left fork went over to the Dirty Devil river and then out to 95 assuming you could cross the river. The right fork went down to the Doll House by the river. There was a sign saying Flint Trail Closed due to landslide
The first group had sent a guy to check the trail. Our group waited about 5 minutes then got tired of waiting and took off. We were going out the Maze Overlook anyway. The road got a little harder here as it wound up a hill and ran along the edge of a cliff. But the views were spectacular of slick rock canyons to the east.
Turns out the Flint Trail was open and two guys rode to the top to check it out and came back down. At the junction we split up again. The first group headed on into Hanksville and the second group went out to the Maze. The road again got a little rougher with some steep downhills with ledges. We were a little apprehensive about the return trip, but had no problem.
The Maze Overlook was worth the 13 mile each way out-and-back trip Plus we thoroughly enjoyed the ride.
We then went up the Flint Trail. It was steep with a couple of severe switchbacks, but nobody had a problem with it. The road was narrow but had a big berm on the outside edge which eased some of the scariness of the severe droppoff.
We thought we were home free when we got to the top. But the road to Hahn Flat ranger station, 14 miles, was very sandy and had a lot of difficult turns. There were a few falls.. After the ranger station the road got better but still had lots of difficult sandy spots. Some of the sand was powdery white stuff and hard to ride.
We ran into the remnants of the first group just finishing fixing a flat – our only flat the entire trip.
We gassed up in Hanksville and headed over to Torrey thru
|06-08-2010, 11:25 AM||#2|
Joined: Sep 2007
Looks like old time Western movie terrain.
I would love that.
Thanks for the report.
2008 KLR rider
Lets ride !
"The poets down here don't write nuthin' at all
They just stand back and let it all be." Springsteen
|06-08-2010, 12:02 PM||#3|
El Gran Payaso
Joined: Apr 2006
Location: San Antonio
|06-08-2010, 12:21 PM||#4|
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Abq NM
New Mexico Death Valley Loop Part 2
The fourth day two of the guys went home. One had to get back to work and the other’s bike (250 KTM) was burning a lot of oil and he decided to nurse it back home.
We originally intended to go back to Capitol Reef and take a paved then dirt road south thru the park eventually meeting up with hiway 12. There was snow in the hills almost down to the town of
We got up as high as 9600 feet. There was lots of snow along the road and the ride was very cold. I checked out the dirt road we intended to take where it met 12. It was at 8600 ft and had patches of ice and snow on it.
Weather got better as we hit
Next was the 80 mile
We found gas about a mile east of Big Water (towards Page) at a Sinclair station at a boat storage yard.
Next was 89 west ~19 miles west to
Spent the night in Kanab.
Day 5 proved to be a big disappointment. We had planned to do the Arizona Strip with a major stop at the Toroweep Grand Canyon overlook. Woke up to rainy looking weather as predicted. Everyone left together for the first time on the trip. Down to Fredonia for gas then paved 312 west about 8 miles then south on
About 33 miles down the
Had lunch and lots of hot drinks and warmed up a little. Rain was on/off drizzle. Decided to try to get to the city of
Gassed up in St. George and took old hiway 91 down to
On day 6 we again woke to threatening weather – very cloudy and rainy looking, but not actually raining when we started. The group all left together again (sort of) at about . Rode main drag south then west thru town then south onto paved mnior road that met up with I-15 about 10 miles southwest of town. Then onto I-15. It started to rain a little and the interstate ride was very cold and uncomfortable. Rode about 15 miles and got off at the Overton exit (about a mile short of where we were supposed to get off). We had 5 people missing. They eventually showed up. One guy had gotten a ticket for speeding in a school zone in
After we got everyone together, we went to the
We found the
Took this west. As the road rose to 4k ft we started to see a few snowflakes. As we got higher the snow got heavier and covered the ground and the road. And we were really socked in with fog. Stopped for a while due to very poor visibility. Then the fog started to lift and snow slowed quite a bit. So we continued onward. Despite the snow the road was very rideable.
The road went up to 6800 ft thru a forested area. It snowed on and off almost the whole ride, but despite the weather it was pretty enjoyable.
About 12 miles from the end of this leg we encountered a young guy on a KTM 950 riding the other direction by himself. He was pretty knowledgeable about the area. The good news was that he had come in from US 95 which meant we wouldn’t run into any impassable mud getting there. But he said we probably wouldn’t be able to get over Wheeler pass into Pahrump because the road was too rocky and beat up from runoff this time of year
Made it to 95 and started up to Indian Springs for gas. It started raining pretty hard which made for another cold, wet miserable ride for 12 miles or so. Warm drinks and food in Indian Springs. Weather cleared and sun came out locally, but the weather in the mountains to the south looked foreboding.
Several of us decided to try
About 50 ft from the top of the pass I was stopped by a snow bank about 1-3 ft high that sloped precariously towards a cliff. While waiting for others I tried to dig a trench across the snowbank, so we could maybe push the bikes across. Nobody ever came so I went back. I had to lay the bike over to get it turned around because of narrow road and cliff. Ran into the others about a half mile down. There had been several falls. It started to sleet a little. Everyone was exhausted from picking up the 950s. So we decided to go back and take the paved route to Pahrump.
We took the paved Cold Creek road out to 95 past the prison. Around to Indian Springs for more hot chocolate and airing up tires. Then 95 to 160 to Pahrump. We noted signs for the town of
On Day 7 we all left together again at about . Southwest out of Pahrump on 372 about 8 miles to a good gravel road north to Ash Meadows road. Then pavement to Death Valley Junction. Little north on 373 then over to a pretty primitive somewhat sandy road that parallelled the hiway. Rode this about 8 miles back to 373.
Then picked up another easier primitive road a mile or so north out of the small town of
Took this and other roads 15 miles northwest over to Echo Canyon road into
At one point we saw a better road going off to the right just before a difficult spot in the wash. After noting on the map that this road connected back up, we took it up and over some hills back to the wash road.
Continued in canyon and came to a ~6 ft downhill nasty rocky ledge. All but one of us walked the bikes down it.
Then, near the end, the wash opened up and the road got quite a bit better. Great scenery going thru narrow part of canyon with snow on mountains to the west. But it took us until about to get to Furnace Creek where we had beer, food, and gas.
This made it too late to do the rest of the plan for the day which included going nearly to Beatty then back thru
A couple of us did ride up to
Got to Stovepipe Wells about .
|06-08-2010, 12:32 PM||#5|
Joined: Jul 2007
Wow! I just went through some of the galleries you posted, and looks like you have some amazing stuff there. Please don't be shy to post a pic heavy report. Excellent stuff
Do I need to log in to GPSxchange to be able to view or download the tracks?
Save $5 on Smugmug by using this code. LW9ZIPzdRGzaI
|06-08-2010, 03:18 PM||#7|
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Abq NM
New Mexico Death Valley DS Loop - part 3
In replay to the query about GPSExchange, you do have to have an account and log in and in order to download a file you have to upload one first as a contribution. The gpx file is too big to attach here, but if you PM me with your email address, I will send it to you.
On Day 8 the whole group of 11 left together again at about heading west on hiway 190 out of Stovepipe. Took a leisurely ride down Wildrose road to
We then turned south onto Indian Ranch road along west foothills of the mountains and took it past a huge dry lake bed to Ballarat ghost town. Very enjoyable easy scenic ride.
Continued down Wingate road in the
We continued up the wash. It got somewhat sandy. We were looking for Barker Ranch which is the old Manson Hideout although now burned down. It was supposed to be up a right turn off the main road. But there were several rights and we couldn’t find the right one. So we decided to just go on.
About a mile up, the road branched into about 4 legs as it exited the wash. I went far left and the road dead-ended, but I could see a good road to my left and thought we had missed a turn. Some of our group found the right road up to
All during this ride we were getting passed by guys on pretty good dirt bikes. One said he was headed for Beatty. Since he had no luggage I think he was probably on a commercial ride probably one of Countdown’s.
So we got going on the correct route again. The road up to
Going down the other side we immediately ran into a tough rocky section and the road remained pretty difficult for a few miles until we got into
We then crossed into
Nobody was up for another 30-40 miles of possibly difficult dirt getting to Primm or Jean, so we decided to take the hiway to Baker where we stayed at the Will’s
On day 9 one of guys decided he just had to go back to the
We took Kelbaker road, paved, southeast out of Baker heading into the Mojave Preserve. I had wanted to take a dirt shortcut across to the Cima road, but we could not find it. Turned north onto the Cima road at Kelso and took it about 15 miles to the planned track. Then right onto another road that was paved for half a mile or so before turning to a good dirt road. Took this and another good road south to look at the views at Hole in the Rock..
After this we picked up a ~35 mile stretch of primitive roads thru the desert. A couple of us had ridden this section on a trip here back in 2008 and remembered it as being fantastic. It was a great ride, but the bigger bikes had trouble in some of the sand.
At about 25 miles the track led into a nasty sandwash section several hundred yards long. Two of us made it thru, but then one of our better riders had a nasty fall and the others refused to try it. So we found a go-around for this section.
The plan was to do Christmas Tree Pass near Laughlin and then head to Kingman via Oatman and really old section of rt 66. I was too tired and went straight to Kingman. A few of the guys did go to Oatman.
On day 10 the whole group left at . Took old 66 northeast out of town. It wasn’t quite as nostolgic as I might have expected. Stopped at Peach Springs capitol of the Halalupai Indian Tribe.
A guy in a tribal pickup told us we could go down to the
So back onto 66 and on to Seligman and Ash Fork.
We then road some forest roads in the mountains south of Flagsaff. The first one, FR 4 turned out to be a badly rutted rocky primitive road that wasn’t a whole lot of fun to ride. The others were much nicer. At one point we got to
(We don’t seem to have any pictures from this point on. I think we were too exhausted by this time.)
Very nice, but cool, ride on paved Lake Mary road southeast out of Flag past three lakes for about 28 miles down to FR 125. We took a bunch of good and primitive forest roads south and east for about 25 miles. Very fun ride. We will have to come back here some time. It isn’t that far from home.
Original plan was to take
Day 11. Our two riders from
From Winslow we picked up a good gravel road southeast of town and took it to 32 miles to Holbrook At one point we crossed over Clear Creek. It was astoundingly pretty sight- running thru a deep slick rock canyon in the middle of a very flat desert.
Then took US 180 southeast out of Holbrook 18 miles down to the
Continued on 180 down to
Stopped for gas at I-40 about 8 miles east of Grants.
The rest of the group went on into Grants for the night and I went home by myself on old 66. This section of 66, while still not great, has many more nostalgic old buildings that the one between Kingman and Seligman.
The next day the others took dirt roads over to San Ysidro and headed home to
|06-11-2010, 11:29 AM||#8|
Seat belt tight babe?
Joined: Aug 2005
Great write up Bill,wish I could have joined you. So how did this group all get permission from their parole officers to cross state lines? Didn't know sidi's would fit over an ankle braclet.
Do you support the sport? How do you give back?
|06-11-2010, 11:37 AM||#9|
with the band
Joined: Mar 2007
Location: Deflecting wifi signals off Kolob
Great write up!
Pics are incredible!
Thanks for taking the time to post this!
I'm laid up and it's making my day!
|06-11-2010, 11:54 AM||#10|
Joined: Dec 2007
Location: Abq NM
We usually crossed state borders at really remote places and we generally behaved ourselves in the towns except for drinking lots of beer in the motel parking lot in Blanding Utah and around several swimming pools.
As I noted one of our wilder gentlemen did get a ticket for speeding in a school zone one morning in Mesquite NV>
|06-11-2010, 06:38 PM||#11|
Joined: Sep 2004
Location: ArroyoSeco, newMexico
Bill, thanks again for all the planning, great to kindle the memories again. What an adventure...thanks to all the other riders. What's next?
|12-08-2010, 05:42 PM||#14|
Joined: Apr 2010
Location: Santa Fe, New Mexico, Rocky Mountains, USA
NM to Death Valley and back to NM
Hey, just read this and enjoyed it a lot. It strings together a number of routes that I have on my bucket list to do. Thanks very much for doing the homework and providing routes. This is a great Southwestern trip thru some fabulous country. Thanks for taking us along....
ED The Beaver and Deer know of it - 6/1/2011
Big Bend National Park, TX, Ride Report, 12/2010
East of Eden's Fires - 8/2011 http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=717546
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