|The Whole Enchilada
Burro Pass, Hazard, Kokopelli, Porcupine Singletrack, and Porcupine Rim - an Epic La Sal to Colorado Ride
This ride is 26.5 miles long, with 7000 vertical feet of downhill. It's an unforgettable epic experience, but is only for strong, skilled, and adventuresome riders. It peaks at 11,200 feet in the La Sal Mountains and drops to the Colorado River. Climbing will total about 2000 feet.
Chad descends a typical steep section of Burro Pass. September 3, 2007.
|You'll need a shuttle vehicle. Leave one vehicle at the Negro Bill trailhead, and drive the other to the Burro Pass trailhead. From the ride's finish-line, the Burro Pass trailhead is 35 miles and 6000 vertical feet away. Season for the Burrow Pass section is mid July through September.|
|Burro Pass Section
First on the agenda: a long commute from Moab. The trailhead is remote and may not be drivable after a rain or in early summer. The last 1/2 mile to the official trailhead is steep and rutted. Many riders start a bit down the road, adding a couple of miles to the ride.
From the official trailhead at 10,400 feet, you'll ride uphill 800 vertical feet in 1.2 miles. Unless you're superhuman, there will be some hike-a-bike sections. (20% slope at 11,000 feet is tough!) Enjoy the beauty. Later on, you'll be too busy flying downhill and trying not to crash.
Crossing the ridge, you begin a steep switchback descent. This is fun stuff, with some technical challenges involving loose rock, roots, and very tight switchback turns.
Bruce drops over a root section. Photo by Mike.
|After a couple of miles, the trail mellows. You're riding
through fir with occasional meadows and aspens. You'll plunge through the
creek a few times.
As you reach the aspen zone, you may actually have to pedal a bit. When you reach a water-diversion ditch, you're almost done with Burro. We took the trail over the ditch and uphill across a small mountain. It looks like you can ride along the ditch and meet the trail later near Warner Lake.
|At the 4-way intersection, keep right, go through a squeeze gate and past a small lake. At the back of the Warner Campground, you've finished the Burro Pass section.|
|The Whole Enchilada, ride description:
Begin Burro Pass Section
0.0 Start uphill through the trees
N38 29.801 W109 13.034
Step through the gate onto ST
1.2 Ridge, cross and start downhill
N38 30.214 W109 13.654
Switchbacks, loose, steep
3.2 Fork L downhill
N38 30.701 W109 15.143
3.8 Cross ditch R uphill
N38 30.53 W109 15.68 (approx)
4.8 Fork R, go through squeeze gate
N38 30.989 W109 16.437
Pass by lake
5.0 DT Warner Campground
N38 31.161 W109 16.519
Follow main road out of CG
...Proceed to Hazard County
|Hazard County Section
Head out of the Warner Campground on gravel road. Descend a bit, then when the trail starts uphill, fork right on gravel road to the Hazard trailhead. Start uphill on singletrack. You'll make a fairly stiff climb of about 1/2 mile.
Mike cranks uphill on Hazard, with Warner Campground and the end of the Burro Pass trail above his head.
|At the crest of the hill, you enter a zone of armored gap-jumps. Do them if you dare. There's a big penalty if you don't clear the gap! You leave aspen and enter a gambel oak area, like an uber-Lambert Park.|
|The trail twists sharply in a fun downhill romp. Some turns
have armored kick-offs, and there are occasional stunt opportunities. If
you do the trail more than once, you'll get familiar with what's coming
up, and can push a little more speed.
Chad approaches a gap jump on Hazard County.
|...You are following the gravel road from
Begin Hazard County Section
5.5 As road starts uphill, fork R uphill
N38 31.460 W109 16.806
5.6 Hazard County TH on R of parking
N38 31.532 W109 16.907
Up hill, then long twisting descent
8.6 Meet La Sal Loop Road
N38 32.545 W109 18.736
...Proceed to Kokopelli
Dominic lands the bike after a jump on Hazard County.
|Kokopelli Section (with connection to UPS)|
The Kokopelli starts as a dirt doubletrack surrounded by grass and oak brush, right across the road from Hazard. At first, it's a gentle downhill slope, with a bit of occasional uphill. The terrain becomes dryer, giving way to rocky jeep road surrounded by pinion and bitterbrush.
Mike and Chad rattle down a rocky section of Kokopelli.
|The Kokopelli is the lowest-voltage section of the ride, but hey, it's
Singletrack lovers and tech riders will skip the lower half of Kokopelli and descend via the Upper Porcupine Singletrack.
| About 100 yards past a small elevated ride-over cattleguard in the
fence, there's a singletrack climbing up on the right. That's the start of
UPS (Upper Porcupine Singletrack). Proceed down Kokopelli, or rail the UPS by
Chad takes a little air on an open-rock section of the Kokopelli.
Begin Kokopelli Section
|UPS (Upper Porcupine Singletrack) Option
Fork R on UPS at mile 10.5
12.5 Overlook at DT, cross to ST
N38 34.529 W109 20.767
13.5 R at ST fork (L=Sand Flats Rd)
N38 34.842 W109 21.453
All options now converge on same ST fork. See below
|Porcupine Singletrack Section|
The porcupine Singletrack stretches from the mid-Kokopelli down to the Castle Valley overlook on the Porcupine Rim trail. It's divided into Upper and Lower Sections. This is IMHO the best part of the ride. Quick moves on singletrack through pinion forest with patches of slickrock. Lots of dropoffs.
Looking northwest along the Porcupine Rim as the Porcupine Singletrack flirts with the cliff edge.
|The connection to the UPS (Upper Porcupine Singletrack) is about half-way down the Kokopelli, just after crossing the fence. To skip the UPS, stay on Kokopelli then turn right on Sand Flats road.|
|If you ride Kokopelli to the Sand Flats Road, the next opportunity to catch the Porcupine Singletrack is
found 1-1/2 miles down the Sand Flats Road. Turn right as you finish
Kokopelli. As the road turns hard left to a long straight section, there's
a doubletrack on the right. This is a primitive camping area. If you go
all the way to the end, overlooking the rim, you'll find the singletrack
crossing the turnaround area. Go left downhill.
The second connector from Sand Flats Road to the Porcupine Singletrack is 2-1/2 miles from Kokopelli. As you ride the straight section of Sand Flats, cross a cattleguard and spot a singletrack on the right (going north). Follow this about 1/2 mile to a T intersection and turn left.
Mike cruises the singletrack through rock and brush.
|You'll cross a deep gorge on the lower section. The trail drops down an
impossibly-steep cliff to your right. Hoof it to the bottom. Apparently,
some superhuman types actually ride this. Chances are, that's not going to
The Porcupine Singletrack is a nice combination of twisting singletrack, open rock, and small challenges. It's pretty straightforward to ride downhill. We did it uphill as well, and found it a significantly-harder challenge both in riding and following the trail as we hit open rock areas.
...From the T intersection of Lower
Chad heads down a slickrock patch in the middle section of the Porcupine Singletrack.
|Porcupine Rim Section
The Porcupine Rim section begins at the Castle Valley overlook. This is about 4 miles from the start of the Porcupine Rim ride, and skips almost all of the climbing. Head right and follow the Porcupine Rim trail DT, slightly uphill as it parallels the rim.
Mike flies off the diving board on Porcupine Rim.
|An alternate would be to head the opposite direction, back to the
Porcupine Rim trailhead on the Sand Flats Road. I'm not sure why you'd
want to. But it does provide a quicker bail-out route if you need to quit.
The Porcupine Rim section is 11 miles long. It's a fast ride for skilled bikers, but can be a bit rough. There are a few doubletrack spurs that fork off the trail, but trail signs show the right way. If you don't see a sign, follow what appears to be the main track.
As you reach the singletrack lower section you'll hug the top of the cliff before dropping to the Colorado River. There are some technical sections that only the most skilled can clear.
Begin Porcupine Rim Section
On Moab's Main Street, head south on US-191. Zero your odometer at Center Street Center Street and drive 8.2 miles. Turn left toward Ken's Lake - La Sal Loop Road. At the T intersection 1/2 mile later, turn right. Stay on the paved La Sal Loop Road to mile 20.6, then turn right on gravel Geyser Pass road. After several miles the road narrows to a single lane. Drive 8 miles on Geyser Pass road (to mile 28.6). Here you come to a fork, with a small turnaround on the left just before the fork. This is Geyser Pass (N38 29.122 W109 13.940). Go left (you should see a "Burro Pass 1.2" sign as you curve around the fork), then keep right at the fork that immediately follows. 1.2 miles later (mile 29.8) turn left off the main road on an eroded doubletrack climbing steeply up the mountain, with a sign "Burro Pass TH" (N38 29.408 W109 12.906). Go 1/2 mile up the mountain (4-wheel drive strongly suggested here) and park where the DT disappears into some fir trees. The sign indicating the singletrack trailhead, and a step-around squeeze gate, is in those trees uphill from you.
|Note: Some riders park at the turnaround on Geyser Pass (the 3-way fork 1.2 miles from the spur leading up to the singletrack trailhead). If so, add 1.7 miles to the mileages on the riding guide. If you parked on the road below the spur (1/2 mile from the singletrack trailhead), add 0.5 miles.||
|Riding resources for this trail:
Single-page riding guide
GPS track files (right-click and "Save as..."):
Garmin National Geographic GPX
Medium-res topo (1.5 MB): View
High-res topo: Burro Pass Hazard Kokopelli-UPS area Porcupine Rim
Lodging, camping, shops:
Links to Moab area resources
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