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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After leaving the March Moab Madness of Multiple Misfits I headed back into the San Rafael Swell.

I found a really nice clean primitive campsite with surprisingly no one around for a Friday evening.


Since the just received Traveling Lizard Award is supposed to be displayed on a fireplace mantle or other suitable place of honor I set it up by my fire.


Now home it resides on the stove.


I briefly considered a night ride through the canyon but wisely opted for a hike instead. Very nice with moonlight on canyon walls and deep spooky shadows. Heard some critters moving away from me, likely bighorn sheep or wild burros based on fresh poop and tracks found later.Next morning I went for a really nice peaceful ride up canyon looking for rock art and just enjoying the beauty and solitude. Sand wash riding was pretty nice too and explored some ever narrowing side drainages.


The Black Dragon name comes from this petroglyph I believe. However it more resembles a dog in my mind. The chalk outlines are considered desecrations and constitute a federal crime.


I eventually came across an adventurous elderly couple from Minnesota hiking through and they were intrigued by the quit Jeep-like putt-putt of Betty Boop. They were kind enough to take my picture while we chatted a few minutes about buying TWs to augment hiking and increase range of their explorations, AWD van camping, and other regional points of interest. Really cute couple, hope I am as active as they are in another decade or two. I saw no one else untill I was loading up and another couple showed up seeking directions. It is another of Utah's hidden treasures.


There were more Barrier Culture rock art in the canyon but I found only a few before loading up once again and heading west. One could have raced through Black Dragon Canyon but I elected to tour sedately.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Black Dragon Canyon is located in the San Rafael Swell just north of Interstate 70 some twenty miles west of Green River Utah. Being un-signed with no formal exit one has to look carefully for a sandy track and subtle gate in the interstate's right of way fence. The Swell is a hard to miss anticline rising up out of the terrain. Like the Grand Canyon it's uplift was matched by down-cutting erosion of run-off, thus the canyons that cut through the geologic features that otherwise seem a barrier to water flow.
Unfortunately I took no video as my Contour camera's battery didn't take a charge.:(
 

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After leaving the March Moab Madness of Multiple Misfits I headed back into the San Rafael Swell.

Since the just received Traveling Lizard Award is supposed to be displayed on a fireplace mantle or other suitable place of honor I set it up by my fire.


The Black Dragon name comes from this petroglyph I believe. However it more resembles a dog in my mind. The chalk outlines are considered desecrations and constitute a federal crime.
Classic Traveling Trophy Mantel picture.

Despite the chalk, the petroglyph is still awesome. Hope there is no lasting damage by the chalk. Stupid people! Grrrr!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Unfortunately most of the pictograph panels I visited had a few gunshots to the figures unless they were located away from nearby roads. Terrible shame. Some groups of good people work to restore some of the more famous paleo-artwork but the damage is usually irreversible. The "I was here" and "Look what I can do" crude name inscriptions over the tops of some of these works sickens me, I doubt anyone is impressed to see Jon Doe's name and date scrawled over the top of two millennia old pictographs and petroglyphs. I walked away from several damaged panels sorely disappointed in my fellow man.
Seeking these ancient works does give me an excuse to get out and explore, sort of like geocatching or ghost-towning.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Upon reflection this is one rock I should have packed home for a souvenir. Now I may just have to go back and retrieve it. 0fd6172d033b7fe4bea420e03e761832.jpg

While the picture doesn't exactly capture the play of warm reflected light off the cold puddles of water seeping on the canyon bottom this remains perhaps my favorite mental image from the trip. 779ba051a2c2ce573e8e8e87cc16ee5b.jpg
 

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awesome collection of reports fred, thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Usually I like to take a very pretty and interesting girl along too ....Mrs.Fred!:D





While not as cute I have been known to take some fellow TW riders along so a Plumbstraight's caravan idea might be possible sometime
 

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After leaving the March Moab Madness of Multiple Misfits I headed back into the San Rafael Swell.

I found a really nice clean primitive campsite with surprisingly no one around for a Friday evening.




Hi Fred, Is this a one way in & out trail (wash) or can a loop ride be done from it?

Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Loop ride is possible. I camped at slot canyon's mouth on eastern side then rode just a few miles in the tight canyon before it pierced the swale and terrain started to open up and get relatively boring. Then I turned around, loaded up and drove another 500 miles or so to get home that day. It would be about a twenty mile or more loop getting back to the interstate. Finding the unmarked turn off the interstate can be a challenge as a wire gate looks a lot like the adjacent right-of-way fence at free-way speeds.

Edit: The turn off the freeway for Black Dragon Slot Canyon makes a good jumping off point for lot of other riding destinations in the San Rafael Swale. A box culvert can be driven through under the freeway to access the portions of the swale south of the interstate. I believe if one goes through Black Dragon and then goes north on one of several big 70+ mile loops can bring one back in a full circle. I would have to check map or Google Earth for confirmation and planning of longer routes.
 

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Loop ride is possible. I camped at slot canyon's mouth on eastern side then rode just a few miles in the tight canyon before it pierced the swale and terrain started to open up and get relatively boring. Then I turned around, loaded up and drove another 500 miles or so to get home that day. It would be about a twenty mile or more loop getting back to the interstate. Finding the unmarked turn off the interstate can be a challenge as a wire gate looks a lot like the adjacent right-of-way fence at free-way speeds.

Edit: The turn off the freeway for Black Dragon Slot Canyon makes a good jumping off point for lot of other riding destinations in the San Rafael Swale. A box culvert can be driven through under the freeway to access the portions of the swale south of the interstate. I believe if one goes through Black Dragon and then goes north on one of several big 70+ mile loops can bring one back in a full circle. I would have to check map or Google Earth for confirmation and planning of longer routes.

I've been conducting a www recon of San Rafael Swell. On our way home last year, I can say last year now, we stopped at a free campground near the entrance to Goblin State Park. It looked like there was a lot of people out riding all types of machines. It looked cool but I forgot about it until recently.

It really appears the "Swell Area" is pretty spread out over the region. So far I've watched a video for Devil's Racetrack, looks doable, Black Dragon Wash looks doable, and Waterfall Trail, a maybe. Waterfall Trail is not too far from where we camped. Well, on the map it doesn't look too far. I have more on the "watch later" on youtube. Have to www recon some more of the Maze District where I know Wa Larry has done some riding. Scoping out options for the riding season but not setting dates or even committed to going to a certain area yet. My head is exploding with all the exciting options. KABOOM!:D
 

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I am SO in on a 2 days here, 2 days there....trip. So many incredible places to see - Thumbs up for finding, exploring and sharing these places!
Around Waterfall Single Track trail is Blue, Trail Green Trail and another. Eagle Wash is doable along with Fix it Pass which could be a return route after Devils Racetrack.
 

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Around Waterfall Single Track trail is Blue, Trail Green Trail and another. Eagle Wash is doable along with Fix it Pass which could be a return route after Devils Racetrack.
Is the "another" Red Trail? If it is I watched a video of Red Trail earlier today and it looks to be on par with 5 MOH in the difficulty department of tiring an old man out scale. Some of these trails look pretty fun and interesting.
 

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Check out this link for trail descriptions and further information. 5MOH Color Trail information. Download a map and plan your dirt bike ride in the San Rafael Swell

Also, check out this site: Best Utah ATV Trails - Interactive ATV Trails

Last year on day 2 in the swell, Sidekick Chad wanted to check out the colored trails. We were parked down at the first big group camp outside of Goblin, so he led me north on the VJ trail. Much of it was exciting and fun... but there were about 5 separate times where I literally wanted to murder him and leave his body out there for making me go out on that trail. It was because of tall inclines, steps or ledges that had to be gone up, on, or over. The TW with me as a rider doesn't have the capable ease with a small diameter front tire and short ground clearance to do such things, and compared to an actual dirt bike, it is a heavy pig to try to lift and push and heave to tackle these types of thing.

We made it though, all the way up the VJ trail to where it meets up with the Green trail. We turned NW, following the Green Trail. It was not nearly as difficult. Faster paced for sure. Beautiful scenery. I do remember a lot of whoops though, and I hate whoops. We connected back up to road and headed back for camp. This was a short day for us, as it was our last. We packed up, and headed out for the pacific northwest. The are is fantastic though, and worth multiple days of exploring. To sum up, no way in hell I am doing 5moh on my TW. I may be willing to explore some more of the colored trail sections, but honestly it seems like there is more than enough difficulty, scenery and fun to be had on double track for tdubs.

Here is my video from 2016, and these were roads, not trails. In this, I actually do a lot of talking, and it's long, but it actually has a lot of views for my channel. I go NW to Temple Mountain, then north to the Sweasy Cabin and back, then do the Reds Canyon loop. It was several hours of riding.


In 2017 my GoPro lens got killed before I got to the swell area, but I included pictures in this slideshow video. The swell area starts at the 3:53 mark:

 

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Check out this link for trail descriptions and further information. 5MOH Color Trail information. Download a map and plan your dirt bike ride in the San Rafael Swell

Also, check out this site: Best Utah ATV Trails - Interactive ATV Trails

Last year on day 2 in the swell, Sidekick Chad wanted to check out the colored trails. We were parked down at the first big group camp outside of Goblin, so he led me north on the VJ trail. Much of it was exciting and fun... but there were about 5 separate times where I literally wanted to murder him and leave his body out there for making me go out on that trail. It was because of tall inclines, steps or ledges that had to be gone up, on, or over. The TW with me as a rider doesn't have the capable ease with a small diameter front tire and short ground clearance to do such things, and compared to an actual dirt bike, it is a heavy pig to try to lift and push and heave to tackle these types of thing.

We made it though, all the way up the VJ trail to where it meets up with the Green trail. We turned NW, following the Green Trail. It was not nearly as difficult. Faster paced for sure. Beautiful scenery. I do remember a lot of whoops though, and I hate whoops. We connected back up to road and headed back for camp. This was a short day for us, as it was our last. We packed up, and headed out for the pacific northwest. The are is fantastic though, and worth multiple days of exploring. To sum up, no way in hell I am doing 5moh on my TW. I may be willing to explore some more of the colored trail sections, but honestly it seems like there is more than enough difficulty, scenery and fun to be had on double track for tdubs.

Here is my video from 2016, and these were roads, not trails. In this, I actually do a lot of talking, and it's long, but it actually has a lot of views for my channel. I go NW to Temple Mountain, then north to the Sweasy Cabin and back, then do the Reds Canyon loop. It was several hours of riding.


In 2017 my GoPro lens got killed before I got to the swell area, but I included pictures in this slideshow video. The swell area starts at the 3:53 mark:

I agree with Larry there is plenty of two track. I would research the area North of the Freeway. Coal Wash, Fix It Pass, Devils Race Track and Eagle Canyon areas
 
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