Temple Mountain loop
Flat Top - Temple Mountain loop
Iron Divide Trail System
Oil Well Flat - North Coal Wash - Devils Racetrack - Cane Wash grand loop
Black Dragon Wash
Temple Mountain loop
Basically a subsection of the loop below. Started at the end of pavement on South Temple Wash road, biked up for about a mile, turn off and loop around Temple mountain. Whole loop is about 11 miles, mostly on doubletracks. I missed the turnoff from the South Temple Wash and ended up going back down South Temple Wash till the correct road for about 3 miles, which was the most exciting part of the ride.
Flat Top - Temple Mountain loop
I did this loop in mid March during a weekender to the area. Here is the
map of the loop (190 kB).
We got our bikes ready and biked north on the Behind the Reef Road. The only companion that day was a lone motorcyclist. I soon turned west and on a jeep road reached the Flat Top Mountain, about 8 miles west of Temple Mountain, about the same height, but as the name suggests, pretty flat. There is an old mining road that goes all the way to the top, the last piece is cut through the slope, and there, plus on most western slopes, were remnants of the Thursday's snow storm. In fact, it was still pretty chilly that day. I had a lunch on the top, and took bunch of pictures. Here are two sets which I collected into a panoramatic view: view to the west-south (150 kB) with the higher parts of the Swell, and view to the south-east-north (200 kB) with the overall Reef view. Then I continued north-west and up on the dirt road that leads to I70. Near the summit, I off turned east on another jeep road, towards the Temple Mountain. At the beginning, the road looked something like this , more-less packed dirt, but there were two wet sections from the melting snow, which made the dirt into a 5 cm thick glue-like stuff. The bike was covered in a few meters to an extent that the wheels would not move anymore. I had to carry it through these sections. A word of advise, if you go to bike in this area, make sure the roads are not wet. Once I got to lower elevations, the snow disappeared and the ride was a pleasant gradual downhill with few rougher spots. With the north side of Temple Mountain in view, I stopped for a while to clean the mud that did not fall off during the shaky ride. Another few miles down, in the cirque behind Temple Mountain (which displays remnants of the minig activities ), I unsuccessfully tried to cross the mountain ridge, although there were roads marked on the map. One of the roads that I took up a bit seemed to be covered by a scree avalanche, so this might have been the one shown on the map. So, I had to go more east, cross the reef in the North Temple Wash, and on the road thru South Temple Wash and Behind the Reef got back to the campsite, by end of which I was pretty tired. Still, this was an enjoyable ca. 5 hr. 55 km ride. For those interested, though, I would suggest to take the jeep trail west of Temple Mountain back to the main road, one does not miss much of the cool stuff and shortens the ride by good 10-15 km.
This is a network of motorcycle trails located north of Temple Mountain. On a Memorial weekend Sunday I rode a loop, suggested by Gregg Bromka's book, with slight modifications. Pictures from my ride and a map are here.
I was happy to wake up and see cloudy skies. It was a very pleasant warmup to bike those 10kms or so from our camp to the Red trail trailhead. Then all hell broke loose. The Red trail is marked as difficult, and for a reason. The trail goes over bumpy slicrock, drops into ravines and crosses sand pits. I must admit I was dismounting quite often. The trail is great, but the motorcycles have churned it quite a bit, and there were often loose rocks and sand on the slickrock slopes, which made me worried that my tires will skid (this happens very easily). It took me probably around 45 min. to cover those 3 miles and drop into Iron Wash. The problems did not end here. The motorcycles have churned also the small gravel in the wash and the bike was often sinking 10-15 cm deep. Push and ride was the action. After about 0.5 miles, the trail exits the wash, meets with Orange Trail and conditions return to normal.
Orange Trail consists of only occasional patches of slickrock with fast, gravel covered trail, that probably used to be singletrack a long time ago, but was now widened by unskilled motorcyclists to about 1.5-2m. Still, it was fun. I passed the junction with Blue Trail, followed by somewhat technical climb up to a small ridge and then descended crossing two washes (I had to walk down into the first one) and then going up the third for about a mile. Ride up this wash was fun, mix of slicrock slabs and hard packed gravel. In this wash is the intersection with Green Trail, where I met 2 mid-age bikers from SLC, the only people on the trail that day. Another short climb to a ridge and then several miles of fast downhill, first on the hills, and then dropping into a wash, that leads all the way to the trailead in Farnsworth Canyon, several miles north of Temple Mountain. There was a lone SUV of the bikers I met, but no ride for me.
What followed was a climb out of Farnsworth and drop into North Temple Wash, and then ride up around North Temple Mountain. I originally planned to take a shortcut on the way back and ride on a doubletrack, that heads north-east from Temple Mountain, but I have missed it, so I ended up just riding around the mountain, then dropping down to the main dirt road and riding up towards Flat Top Mtn. and back to the campsite. This last stretch was quite unpleasant, it was a constant climb, in baking mid-day sun, but, a symbolic way to finish an epic ride. Total loop length about 62 kms, 5 hours (4 hrs. riding time), about 1200 m elevation change.
In Spring 2004 I spent a whole day further exploring the area. In the morning, I rode the complete Five Miles of Hell (which in fact are more like 7 miles). Topo map and fotos are here. Then I rode Red to Orange to Green trails in the afternoon. Topo map and fotos are here. For an advanced rider, this is the best that the Swell has to offer.
Jeep trail in the north-central part of the Swell, I rode it up and down with some exploration in Spring 2004. For longer ride, better combined with other ATV trails in the area. For map and detailed description look here.
A good whole day loop on ATV track to explore quite remote parts of north-central swell. A 50+ mile loop requires some stamina, but, since it's a figure 8 shape, even less strong riders can enjoy the area doing only half of the ride each time. For map and detailed description look here.
About 10 miles long ATV track from the upper Swell through a narrow canyon to the San Rafael Desert, paralleling I-70. Since both the upper and lower part are relatively easily accessible, wussies do it as a shuttle. However, it's also a pleasant, not too steep, ride up. In Spring 2004, I made a whole day here exploring access to the Lower Black Box and looping on dirt roads around Jackass Benches. For map and detailed description look here.