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Dead Dog Loop

The Dead Dog Loop is a series of singletracks in the mesa area between Price and the Book Cliffs. Brief sections of dirt road join the singletracks together. It's around 8.5 miles total, but there's only about 400 vertical feet of climbing. Most of the trail is intermediate technical, but there's one short section (Dead Dog Spine) that requires very advanced skills. All but elite riders should walk this 1/4 mile.

View north from the top of Ben's Switchbacks at mile 3.5. Half a mile and 250 vertical feet ago, we were on the dirt road you see winding around at the base of the mesa. Photos by Bruce, June 30, 2005.

If you start the ride from Pioneer Park in Price, you'll do 16.5 miles. Of the extra 8 miles, half will be paved city streets and half is dirt road. There won't be much additional climbing. Most bikers will want to drive out to the trailhead described below.

Looking down Wild Bunch Wash, a fast and fairly non-technical downhill cruise.

The riding area is soft dirt with occasional rock, with singletrack trail winding between pinion, juniper, sage, and bitterbrush. A few prickly pear will keep you on the trail. You'll see rabbits and lizards.

The rock is from the Cretaceous, around 80 million years ago, when the seashore was moving back and forth across the eastern half of the Utah.

On Dusty's Detour, the terrain is fairly flat. In areas where the dirt might make the trail hard to follow, you'll find the route well-marked.

Wild Bunch Wash is a rapid fun downhill cruise, not too technical. From here you link by dirt road to Ben's Switchbacks, which climb to the top of the mesa. The turns on the upper portion will be a bit challenging. At the top, Dusty's Detour is relatively easy singletrack, with a few views from the edge of the mesa.

We're on the top of Dead Dog Spine, approaching one of the stunts. Look inviting?

Dead Dog Spine connects to another mesa to the south. This is a narrow rocky spine that's quite a challenge to ride. The trail uses some narrow bridges and ladders to span boulders. This is extreme and dangerous terrain. Sane riders will walk their bikes through this section.

On the day of my ride, I lost the trail as it approached the north end of the mesa (to the west of where you enter the mesa from Dead Dog). The trail has since been rebuilt through this area. If you're lost, head for the pump pad that lies just below the north end of the mesa. (And from the pump pad, you ride back via dirt roads.) You can also backtrack across Dead Dog Spine and drop down to your left (west) below the power lines, then turn right when you hit the dirt road.

Roll carefully down the plank, pop up onto the rock, then throw your front tire out onto the downhill ramp. It's around 15 feet down from here. High-experts only!

Riding directions, Dead Dog Loop:
0.0    N (straight the way you came) on road
         N 39 38.626 W 110 47.089  alt=6130
0.8    R at "Y" fork in road
         N 39 39.309 W 110 46.949
1.1    Just after 90 R turn, spot ST on R
         N 39 39.475 W 110 46.719  alt=6260
         ST follows Wild Bunch Wash
2.1    Water trough, go R uphill on DT
         N 39 38.728 W 110 46.935  alt=6050
2.2    Gate, go across
         N 39 38.710 W 110 46.978
         L on ST on L 50 feet past gate
2.3    ST joins DT, go L on DT
         N 39 38.658 W 110 46.966
2.8    Fork L on DT
         N 39 38.523 W 110 46.714
2.9    L uphill on ST (Ben's Switchbacks)
         N 39 38.474 W 110 46.707  alt=6050
3.5    Top of switchbacks, L on DT
         N 39 38.397 W 110 46.566  alt=6300
3.6    ST on L (don't go up to pump pad)
         N 39 38.455 W 110 46.522
         (Bruce's Crevase, Dusty's Detour)
4.1    Through opening in fence
         N 39 38.708 W 110 46.721  alt=6370
4.7    ST ends at pump pad, go straight onto DT
         N 39 38.928 W 110 46.448  alt=6430
4.8    R on DT at "T" intersection
         N 39 38.852 W 110 46.396
5.0    Cattle guard, go 20 ft, L on ST (Trent's Rock)
         N 39 38.711 W 110 46.483
5.6    Join DT, go L downhill.
         N 39 38.358 W 110 46.577
5.7    Keep L at utility pole, uphill onto ST
         N 39 38.711 W 110 46.483
         Dead Dog Spine. Extreme technical, stunts
5.9    Onto mesa, trail follows edge of mesa clockwise
6.6    Trail becomes hard to follow...
7.0    Continue north to edge of mesa
          Find descending trail off northern edge of mesa
7.?     Arrive at pump pad, cross to dirt road
7.?    At road intersection, continue straight
         N 39 38.523 W 110 46.714
         (Same fork as at mile 2.8, going opposite direction)
8.?    Back at original intersection
Getting there:  Eastbound on US 6, take the first Price exit. Turn left and enter town on 100 North. About a mile after leaving the freeway, turn left (north) onto 300 East. Go five city blocks to 800 North and turn right. Drive 1.5 miles on 800 North to the end of the pavement, as you pass Cliffview Cemetery. Turn left on the dirt road. After 1/4 mile, veer L as the road forks just below the hill. Now keep straight at all intersections. Two miles later, you'll pass a large building, with a settling pond on the north side. The trailhead is the intersection where the next dirt road joins on your right (the intersecting road is the return path). N 39 38.626 W 110 47.089 You'll begin riding by continuing up the road in the direction you were driving.

Alternate trailhead: starting at Pioneer Park in Price:
About a mile after leaving the freeway, turn left (north) onto 100 East. Go four city blocks to the far end of Pioneer Park, turn right onto 500 North and find a parking place.
Begin your bike ride from heading east (away from water tank). At 300 E, turn L. At 800 N, turn R. Continue on 800 N about 1.5 miles until pavement ends just past Cliffview Cemetery on your right.
0.0   L on dirt road, ZERO odometer   N 39 36.819 W 110 46.839
0.2   Veer L towards water tank area, keep straight at intersections
1.9   Pass large building with big fans, pond
2.2   Stop where road joins from R (return path).
       (S side: large rock, pipeline marker.  N side: square of pipe.)
        ZERO odometer again here! Ride continues straight the
        direction you were going.

Trail-help Goodies:
   One-page riding guide to this trail.
   GPS
track files (right-click link, then save as a file):
            Garmin DeadDog.mps
            Topofusion DeadDog.gpx  
            National Geographic TOPO DeadDog.tpo
            Google Earth - DeadDog.kmz
   Topographical map for printing
   Large-format map of area trails, courtesy of Price Area Singletrack Society (PASS)
   Lodging, camping, shops:
     Links to Price and San Rafael area resources

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