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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all,

My boyfriend and I are looking to do an off-road trip for the entire week of thanksgiving. We do plenty of riding in northern California and want to try OHV areas in some other states. Any western states are fair game. We're thinking Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, or Nevada. We generally like forests and cooler areas in the mountains, not so much sand and desert.

A lot of the OHV trail systems I found on the internet are "closed" after October, presumably due to snow. We don't mind a little snow and cold, but don't want to show up to a campground behind a locked gate. Even in northern California some OHV campsites are closed for the season.

Any recommendations for OHV parks that are open late November? November is such an awkward time... it's somewhere between the end of dirt biking season and the beginning of snowmobiling season.

Thanks!
 

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Sue and I are taking our Turkey to the warmest place you can find in November,--------- THE VALLEY OF FIRE. Sounds warm and toasty to us. I was there back in the seventies for a college field trip. Wasn't a lot of fun with paper and pencil. This time I've got a fast women and a slow bike! Ha TheValley of Fire is a Nevada State Park 40 miles north east of Vegas. Dirts a Flyen SanDue:p:D
 

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Woods, open campgrounds and a designated ORV area make for a difficult trifecta to satisfy in late November. The northern states mentioned will likely be not only "cooler", but rather downright cold.
Personally I do not go to official ORV areas so I am no help recommending a good one.
I would suggest warmer more southern open riding areas like Alabama Hills outside of Lone Pine,CA or Torroweep on the rim of Grand Canyon overlooking Lava Falls. Not many trees but rather memorable scenery and riding with both free primative camping as well as simple campgrounds with pit toilets, fire rings and tables. Death Valley,Ca can also be pleasant in late November but also possibly crowded.

Alabama Hills from Dec.2014:

P1000918.JPG
Torroweep is stunning, not too sandy, and back away from the rim are roads through piñon pine forests with petroglyphs. Doesn't feel like you are in a park. grand-canyon.jpg
 

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Valley of Fire is rather pretty but state park status precludes any wheeled vehicle off-road forays. There are a few short wheelchair permissible handicap trails but the TWs would have to stay on the asphault. Camp reservations are required and due to proximity to SoCal and Vegas might be already fully booked for Thanksgiving week. dscf4134.jpg
If one is willing to forgo the amenities of the official campgrounds then there are ample opportunities for primitive camping outside the park on BLM land. Personally with a week available I would travel farther from population centers and experience something uniquely different from the Bay Area. Possibly do a casual loop through SW Utah spending a day or two sampling Zion, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Torroweep (AZ), Great Basin (NV), etc and free ride in the un-regulated surrounding public lands. It will all still be cold with short days but any trip should make for good memories.
Internet research and a few phone calls might help determine availability of open campgrounds, showers as well as reservation requirements if you folks really want a campground.
 

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We are considering alternative rides, but in our defense Valley of Fire accepts no reservations. First come first served! Being Thanksgiving and all that, should be a vacancy. We have trouble camping where reservations are required, they know we're coming and close the gates. I think we are the reason why all the State Parks have gates at there points of access. But, with no reservations, we can show up unannounced and it would be to late to run us off. Just like we did at your house Fred during the "Fred's Cruise and Bruise". Ha. Dirts a Flyen SanDue:p:D
 

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My mistake Dan. You are right in that it is only the Group Camping Sites @ Valley of Fire that requires reservations with a $25 application fee. Thanks for the correction. You and Sue heading to Valley of Fire?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks for all the tips!

We decided it's time to take a trip to MOAB!!! That will be the primary destination, but I'm still doing research on the other riding areas nearby that several of you mentioned. Some of them are on the way as we meander back home (if we take the southern route).

The Moab threads on this forums are hundreds and hundreds of pages; it will take me a long time to dig through them.

Can anyone give me the lowdown on your favorite Moab campsites (I've read about archview and north camp), and your favorite trails? If there is a specific page of another thread that covers this information, feel free to add a link.

Background info:
- We camp in a self-contained pick-up setup with a trailer. We might want a shower every couple days, but other than that we don't need luxuries or hook-ups.
- We'd enjoy a mix of beginner and intermediate trails. We could pack lunch and go all day long.
- We are both street legal

Thanks in advance!
 

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Yeah, MOAB!
+1 for Rhodetrip advice. North Camp or campgrounds mentioned were chosen primarily for their group benefits and closeness to amenities. Lots of more scenic primitive sites for a couple with truck & trailer. Check internet for camping options and regulations both inside the various National Park units , Deadhorse State park and more open surrounding BLM lands. I would then check interesting possibilities on Google Earth and view the related photos posted there.
One of the many camps in the Sand Flat Recreation area just outside Moab might be the easiest option.
 

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Thanks for all the tips!

We decided it's time to take a trip to MOAB!!! That will be the primary destination, but I'm still doing research on the other riding areas nearby that several of you mentioned. Some of them are on the way as we meander back home (if we take the southern route).

The Moab threads on this forums are hundreds and hundreds of pages; it will take me a long time to dig through them.

Can anyone give me the lowdown on your favorite Moab campsites (I've read about archview and north camp), and your favorite trails? If there is a specific page of another thread that covers this information, feel free to add a link.

Background info:
- We camp in a self-contained pick-up setup with a trailer. We might want a shower every couple days, but other than that we don't need luxuries or hook-ups.
- We'd enjoy a mix of beginner and intermediate trails. We could pack lunch and go all day long.
- We are both street legal

Thanks in advance!
I don't know if this will help you or not. Here are my threads on our Moab 2015 & 2016 experience. Generally, I list which trail we are riding when I started a day. While we did ride a couple trails both years, we did ride different ones. I do want to mention some of the trails were more advanced than the beginner/intermediate trails you mention but will give you an idea.

There is a huge mix of trail difficulties and you will find plenty of goods trails or rides to occupy your time in Moab. If you have specific questions about a trail you see in my threads don't be afraid to ask.
In addition to the Lat 40 Maps Rhodetrip mentions, Nat Geo Maps are good as well. Also, there are Jeep and ATV Guide Books by Charles Wells which describe the trails much better than I could. https://www.amazon.com/Guide-Backroads-4-Wheel-Drive-Trails/dp/1934838063 The guide books and maps are well worth the money, especially if you think you'll return to Moab in the future. We were hooked after our first visit and I wish I could ride Moab year round!

You can drown in the wealth of information available on the internet of the area, but I'd suggest you surf anyway. Also, search youtube to watch. I've watched both motorcycle, ATV, and Jeep video's to get an idea of trail conditions/difficulty of trails we planned on riding. Helped for sure. Good Luck on you trip.

http://tw200forum.com/forum/trails-off-road-adventure-riding/14593-admirals-version-moab-2015-a.html

http://tw200forum.com/forum/trails-off-road-adventure-riding/18922-moab-2016-admirals-version.html

P.S. We stayed at North Camp (BLM Land Free) both years in Moab in our pickup camper/trailers.
 

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Week off minus meandering travel time = maybe 4 days in Moab.
For beginner/intermediate start easy and maybe sample vast variety of terrain...something like Shaffer switchback looping from Moab downstream along Colorado then up switchbacks into Canyonlands National Park for big views overlooking canyons, then loop back via all asphalt or Long Canyon.
Maybe some of the smoother slick rock in Sand Flat. Test ride Little Lion's Back as a confidence builder, only 100 yards long or so. Longer trails have loose sand sections.
The Mineral Bottom road takes one down to the Green River and beginning of White Rim Trail entirely outside the park, no permits required, firm roadbed, no sand...just go upstream outside park. Wild, scenic, relatively lightly visited, start with full gas tanks filled at Archview for 70 mile in-and-out...my vid:
Note: Subterranean riding optional:p. Sandy washes optional too, I took them to find petroglyphs and graffiti from early pioneer.
 

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I ran 26.2 miles through the Valley of Fire State Park. 25 miles was all up hill. 1.6 miles sharp decent. That took more of a toll on me than any other part of the race. I took some aspirin afterwards. Aspirin is an anti coagulant. I started passing blood at the airport. I remember that I saw a guy on "House" do that and he died so you can imagine that is scared the hell out of me. Fortunately my doctor told me I just ruptured some blood vessels and take it easy on the aspirin. That is my Valley of Fire story. MBW
 

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Moab forecast:
DAYDESCRIPTIONHIGH/LOWPRECIPWINDHUMIDITYUV INDEXSUNRISESUNSETMOONRISEMOONSET
TONIGHT

NOV 19
Showers Early
-- 34° 60%WNW 2 mph56%0 of 10 7:05 am 5:02 pm 10:40 pm 11:54 am
SUN

NOV 20
AM Clouds/PM Sun
62° 43° 0%NNW 5 mph39%3 of 10 7:06 am 5:01 pm 11:41 pm 12:35 pm
MON

NOV 21
Rain
57° 38° 70%S 9 mph71%2 of 10 7:07 am 5:00 pm-- 1:11 pm
TUE

NOV 22
Partly Cloudy
54° 29° 10%WNW 6 mph63%3 of 10 7:08 am 5:00 pm 12:40 am 1:43 pm
WED

NOV 23
Sunny
57° 30° 0%S 7 mph57%2 of 10 7:09 am 4:59 pm 1:38 am 2:14 pm
THU

NOV 24
Sunny
52° 29° 0%NW 5 mph55%2 of 10 7:10 am 4:59 pm 2:35 am 2:44 pm
FRI

NOV 25
Partly Cloudy
54° 30° 0%SSW 9 mph47%2 of 10 7:11 am 4:59 pm 3:30 am 3:14 pm
SAT

NOV 26
Sunny
52° 30° 0%W 5 mph45%2 of 10 7:12 am 4:58 pm 4:26 am 3:45 pm
SUN

NOV 27
Mostly Sunny
53° 33° 0%SSW 11 mph41%2 of 10 7:13 am 4:58 pm 5:20 am 4:18 pm
MON

NOV 28
Partly Cloudy
51° 31° 10%SW 8 mph53%2 of 10 7:14 am

 

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Discussion Starter #19
Moab was AMAZING!!!

We camped at North Camp. It was bitter cold at night, but I was cozy inside my warm sleeping bag (although our sleeping bags were iced on the outside).

We checked out Zion National Park for 1.5 days on the way to Moab. It rained and beautiful waterfalls appeared everywhere.

Day 1 at Moab consisted of Gemini Bridges, Day Canyon (to the bottom of Gemini Bridges), and Long Canyon. Nothing too difficult until a major washout on Long Canyon where we walked the bikes down. Saw some cool petroglyphs on the way back.

Day 2 was Courthouse Rock, which covers much of the same trail as 7-mile Rim. Then we pulled off to Tusher's Tunnel, as well as another nearby trail whose name I can't recall.

Day 3 (Thanksgiving) was Willow Springs Rd into Arches National Park. I thought it would just be a dirt road the whole way, but there were a few semi-difficult (but fun) sections. We spent the rest of the day exploring the park on our motorcycles. Parking was easy-peasy, while everyone else was fighting for spots.

Day 4 was time to pack up and start meandering home.

Charles Wells' Guide to Moab book was a huge help in learning the trail systems, even though it is catered more towards 4-wheel vehicles.

I will definitely be back to Moab. It'd be awesome to try out some of the 70+ mile loops when the days are longer and it's a tad warmer.

Thanks for the recommendations, everybody!
 

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Excellant. Please post some pics of the trip. Few have done any ride reports here for much of beautiful Zion so your TW experiences might be popular.
 
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