Chicken Corner is a dirt-road ride that can be just about any length
you want. Go to the spot where you want to start, then ride. For example,
you can do the ride from a camping spot in Kane Springs Canyon.
At Chicken Corner, we're looking down
at the Colorado. The boat is a full-sized tour boat -- with several rows
of benches each filled with 4 or 5 people. Photos and description based on a
ride by Bruce on May 4, 2011.
|I'll tag the "official" starting point as the
parking lot at the bottom of Kane Springs Canyon. This will give you a
ride of about 43 miles. (You can easily start from Moab itself. It's 5
miles from the McDonalds on 191 to Kane Springs Canyon. This will add 10
miles to the round-trip riding distance.)
As the gravel road starts into Kane
Springs Canyon, walls of sandstone tower above.
||Kane Springs Canyon is pretty. I don't think you should skip
it. At first, towering Navajo and Wingate sandstone walls enclose the
canyon. Wildflowers bloom among cottonwoods lining the creek. As you begin
to leave the canyon to the west, you enter the Chinle formation.
As leave the narrows of Kane Springs
Canyon to the west, we enter a broad flat area. Moenkopi slopes appear at
the bottom, with Chinle steps leading up to a nubbin of Wingate sandstone
at the top.
|As you exit the canyon, you'll turn south in a broad valley.
To the south, mesas formed of Wingate sandstone with Chinle skirts line
the sides of Kane Springs Canyon as it continues south.
We won't be going into the southern
half of Kane Springs Canyon. We'll be turning to the north to approach
||At the fork in the road, turn away from Kane Springs Canyon
and ride northwest toward the Moenkopi slopes of Hurrah Pass.
Approaching Hurrah Pass. We'll be
following a hard layer in the tilted strata. As we ride north, we get
gradually higher while riding on the same rock layer, until we pop over
|Enjoy the views as you climb toward the pass. It's never
very steep, but is a steady grind. The riding isn't technical. A beginning
rider can manage this climb if they have the endurance.
Looking down at Kane Springs Canyon to
||After a climb of 700 vertical feet over two miles, you'll
reach the summit of Hurrah Pass at an altitude of 4700 feet.
Goblins, vultures, and assorted
beasties hide among the bands of the rock formation.
|You can see lower Kane Springs Canyon to the northeast,
upper Kane Springs Canyon to the southeast, Jackson Hole to the northwest,
and the Colorado River (with your continuing trail) to the southwest.
Looking southwest from Hurrah Pass.
We'll be riding along the dark slash in the valley, which is the Colorado.
||The banded slopes of mudstone and sandstone are visually
interesting. Don't go off the road. There are sheer drops to the side of a
couple of tight turns.
Descending the right turns on the west
side of Hurrah Pass. The potash plant across the river can be seen peeking
above the slope at mid-right.
|As you arrive on the valley floor, you'll drop into a wash.
At the sign in the wash, keep left. (The right fork goes to the Jackson
Hole trail and Bass Camp.)
When we first approach the Colorado,
we're almost at river level.
||The trail will climb out of the wash and turn south. Several
times it will approach the edge of the river. The general direction will
change from south to westbound.
The trail meanders along the junction
between the hard base-rock of the valley and the skirts of softer
mudstone. The cliffs are Wingate, the skirts are Chinle.
|The cliffs over the river become gradually higher. You're
climbing uphill, but it's so gradual you don't notice it until you turn
around for the return trip and seem to fly back.
There you can see the slight tilt to
the valley floor, which is a flat layer of hard stone. We're beginning to
climb higher above the river.
||You're riding on a shelf of hard stone that resists erosion.
While it forms a shelf above the Organ Rock Formation like the White Rim
sandstone of the nearby White Rim Trail, it's not quite the same rock.
This is band of a sandy limestone filled with bracheopod fossils,
suggesting a shallow marine environment. Perhaps this area was ocean and
the area to the north was beach.
In what was probably once a sandy depression on the seafloor,
brachiopod fossils glisten in the hard limestone layer.
|Stay to the right at two forks. The cliffs and the views
become more impressive as you ride further.
We climb still higher above the river
as we head south.
||At the end of the trail, a foot path takes you to Chicken
Corner. It's that little notch on the cliff face. The notch is just high
enough to squat, and barely the width of a person. There are no handholds.
Guides named it Chicken Corner because, imagine this, some people were
afraid to crawl around this simple little corner above a 300-foot
Let's go closer.
"No vehicles." Uh, OK.
|I have no photo of what's just around the mountain from
Looking down at my old mountain biking shoes -- no toe spikes; front
quarter of the carbon sole totally chewed away; tread worn to
nubbins, old cleat worn slippery -- I decided that I would, indeed, be the
metaphorical chicken for which the corner is named.
it "Wise-decision-not-to-proceed Corner".
||As I fled ignominiously from Chicken Corner, the trail
became a blazing
downhill, with just a few spots of pedaling. Enjoy the awesome river and
mountain views on the way out.
Heading downhill (yet up-river), we
revisit the viewpoints we enjoyed on the way in.
|This is where you'll be glad you brought plenty of water.
The ride is getting long, and you've got the big climb to Hurrah Pass
ahead. Up and over, once again.
The narrow road will follow the gray
band to Hurrah Pass.
||The climb forces you to slow down and admire the rock
formations, which are even more impressive on this side of the mountain
than they were during the climb up the opposite side.
Make up your own names. "Thor's
Hammer" is too easy. OK, on the right side, that's "The Great
Wall of Monkey Faces."
|Drop down the mountain to Kane Springs Canyon and begin
heading north and east.
As we descend from Hurrah Pass, we're
looking northeast into the narrows of Kane Springs Canyon -- our
||There's one short but miserable little climb on the S-turn in Kane
Springs Canyon, otherwise it's slightly downhill and fast riding as you
head back to your starting point.
Back in Kane Springs Canyon, and
|Riding notes, from Kane Springs Parking:
0.0 Southeast (uphill) on Kane Springs Rd
N38 31.940 W109 35.940
0.5 Amasa Back parking N38 31.711 W109 35.700
3.0 Hunters Canyon N38 30.597 W109 35.798
6.5 Keep R (L=Kane Creek)
N38 27.881 W109 36.050
Turn to northwest
9.6 Hurrah Pass N38 28.913 W109 37.492
12.2 Fork L (R = Jackson Hole, Bass Camp)
N38 28.287 W109 39.027
13.9 Keep R N38 27.342 W109 40.081
14.6 Stay straight, through wash
N38 26.752 W109 40.086
21.4 Trail end at Chicken Corner N38 26.486 W109 44.254
28.2 Through wash, then stay straight after exit
N38 26.752 W109 40.086
(don't veer L into wash
or cross wash again)
33.2 Hurrah Pass
42.8 Back at entry to Kane Springs Canyon
||Getting there: Head south on Moab's Main
Street. When you reach the McDonald's, turn right onto Kane
Creek Blvd. After 0.6 miles, go straight where the road seems to turn
right (500 West). Drive (or bike) along the Colorado River for 5 miles
until the road turns to gravel. Park in the ATV parking lot at the bottom
of Kane Creek Canyon, or if it's too crowded, go on up the road 1/2 mile
to the Amasa Back parking area.