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This ride is also known as Courthouse Wash. It's a big loop that includes a section of paved trail, some old broken-down highway, some ATV track, a tiny section of singletrack, a section of rocky roadway, and finally, paved road in Arches National Park. It's a substantial chunk of riding. Nothing too hard, but a long 28 miles. Absolute altitude change is 1000 feet; with ups and downs, you'll climb 2300.
|The ride starts from the parking area just north of the
Colorado River on Highway 191. Cruise on the cushy paved bike trail past
the entrance station to Arches National Park. The paved trail gives way to broken old
pavement, and finally to dirt. After the top of the hill, you'll be on a
straight gravel section. At mile 5.0, watch for the Bar M trail forking
exactly 90 degrees right.
The Bar M trail heads over the ridge, then follows the edge of the slickrock slope that drops towards Courthouse Wash. There are several "short circuits" possible, but the Bar M is a ride highlight -- ride as much of the Bar M as possible. The Bar M track turns back southwest for a long slow climb. After dropping from the ridge, you'll do an "almost 360" to turn and follow the slickrock.
At the north end of Bar M, Seven Mile Canyon will yawn open to your right. As the trail turns west (toward the highway) catch a doubletrack northeast across the wash. You're riding along the pipeline route. The pipeline will drop abruptly just above the Sovereign Singletrack trailhead. The trail will fork. Left is a more technical singletrack route. Right is ATV-width tread and much easier. The trails reconnect, then head north to Willow Springs Road.
Turn right (east) on the dirt Willow Springs Road and head towards Arches. Inside the park, keep on Willow Springs Road until you reach pavement, then turn right. From Balanced Rock it's 9 miles to the park entrance.
|Getting there: From Moab, drive north (toward
the Colorado River). Cross the Colorado, then cross the Courthouse Wash
bridge. About 1/4 mile later, turn right into a parking area. This is the
trailhead. GPS N 38° 34.945' W 109° 30.587'. Start uphill on the paved
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