St George to Moab

Box Rocket

Well-known member
I'm putting a route together for a longer trip with a group later this spring that covers a lot of ground in Southern Utah, but we might include some in Arizona as well along the North Rim.
Two of my brothers in law and one of their brothers joined me this past weekend to do a bit of exploration and route pre-running. We had some concerns about the weather and trail conditions since most of Utah as well as northern Arizona have been pounded with snow recently. We prepped not only for snow but also for mud and even brought waders so we could walk any water crossings before taking the trucks across.
I was in my 1995 FZJ80 Land Cruiser and my brother in law had his 2003 LX470.
Fortunately, the storms stopped the day before we left and we had beautiful weather for the whole weekend. It was cold, but sunny.
On Thursday we drove from northern Utah down to St George after work ad got ready for an early start on Friday. We had a loose route planned but we stayed flexible and changed our route several times during the weekend.
Friday we had a bit of pavement but some dirt road too on the way to Colorado City where we hit the dirt again and headed south to Toroweap.

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We stopped to chat with the ranger at the station near the overlook and he told us we were the first ones to drive to the overlook in several weeks. I didn't question that since we had miles of making fresh tracks in the snow.
Toroweap was stunning with the dusting of snow on the plateaus and higher elevations.

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Box Rocket

Well-known member
We left Toroweap and drove up SR109 toward Fredonia

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Soon the snow cleared and we had a solid road base. Made for a quick 80mph run into Fredonia.

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Box Rocket

Well-known member
We made a brief fuel stop in Fredonia then headed farther east to find a place to camp near The Wave on the UT/AZ border

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The road to The Wave had been extremely wet and muddy but on our way in it was dark and freezing so the road was solid but badly rutted. It was a bit like driving a slot car since the tires just stayed in the deep ruts.
We found a spot to camp and made a fire and set up the Tepui tent. Temperatures dropped to 8* during the night. It was cold, but we were quite comfortable in the tent. What's that saying, "there no bad weather, just bad gear"? Some good sleeping bags made for a nice comfortable sleep despite the cold temps. The sky was clear and full of stars all night. Starry skies in the desert are one of my favorite things.

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Box Rocket

Well-known member
Saturday morning we made the hike into The Wave. None of us had ever been there before and we were all impressed with the beauty and incredible formations in the sandstone.

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Box Rocket

Well-known member
By the time we got back to the trucks temperatures were in the 40's and the road that had been frozen the night before was a sloppy mess. I thought we'd probably need to use the Maxtrax a couple of times but never needed to. This was the first real offroad testing with my new tires, Mickey Thompson Baja Claw TTC's. I was very impressed with the traction in the snow and even more impressed with how they handled the deep sloppy mud. Lots of grip, and the tread cleaned out easily and it made for an uneventful drive out without much slipping around at all. However, the truck showed the effects of the conditions.

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Box Rocket

Well-known member
We were later in the day than we had intended with lots of ground still to cover. We had planned on camping near Escalante that night so we had a quick lunch and drove hard to make it to Escalante.
The following day was Sunday and our last day of travel. The plan was to make it all the way to Moab but we changed that slightly. We left Escalante and headed toward Boulder, Ut and the Burr Trail into Capitol Reef NP.
The Burr Trail is a beautiful stretch of road. I wish it had not been paved but it's still a nice drive.

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We came down the Burr Trail switchbacks to the Notom/Bullfrog road and took it north to Hanksville.

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We refueled in Hanksville and took highway 24 north a few miles to the Goblin Valley cutoff where we headed west to Goblin Valley since my brother in law and his brother had never seen it.

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This is where we changed our plans since when we finished walking around in Goblin Valley it was getting late in the afternoon and we still needed to drive home. We decided to forget about going all the way to Moab and instead we drove through the San Rafael Swell to I-70 and headed east a few miles to the dirt road that goes into Black Dragon Wash. I've been to the wash numerous times but it's always fun to see the canyon, the petroglyphs and do a bit of hiking.

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After leaving the wash it was nearly dark so we hit the road for home. It was a great weekend! Reminded me how stunning the Utah landscape is and how lucky I am to live in Utah. I was able to get some good information to finish planning the trip in the spring. More than anything it was nice to get away from "real life" and escape the craziness for a few days. The only problem is that now I'm anxious to get out there again as soon as possible.
 

LandOps

Observer
Nice lookin muddy rigs. The kind you wear for a while before washing it off. I've been know to keep mud packs like that on for weeks.
 
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