While I love this trail, there are several issues that need to be specifically pointed out. The first is a barbwire fence that actually crosses the trail and has absolutely NO WARNINGS at all! If you are flying down the trail and happen to admire the view for a few seconds you can end up in the fence and in quite a mess. You have to dismount and open gate. No problem but a few orange ribbons tied on the wire can prevent some unnecessary injuries. This is in the Bull Run section on the trail.
The second is a shooting range in the canyon floor of the Bull Run section. The shooting range is a boy scout camp so I should need to say much more on that. If you hear shooting, get off your bike and walk, keeping low, lol.
Utah has the most bizarre, most frustrating, most confusing liquor laws in the United States; even the locals are baffled. And they change them as often as I change my socks so just about the time you figure them out, they throw you a curveball. We found the situation just a bit better on our 2011 trip than in 2004 as they'd finally gotten rid of the strange club law that required a membership to get near a mixed drink, but kept other nonsense - and added more - on the books.
Some of the absurdities include:
• A type of liquor license that allows mixed drinks but requires a partition - nicknamed the Zion Curtain - between customer and bartender so you can't see the bottles or mixing of the drink itself
• Another type of license that forbids the enjoyment of a libation unless you've ordered food
• Still another restricts to wine and beer only with the same barrier in place to hide evil taps and bottles
• No happy hours or drink specials. Ever.
• Spirits for sale only at state-owned liquor stores with goofy hours
• No doubles or heavy pours. Ever. Bottles are gauged to dispense state-approved amounts.
And so forth and so on. Knowing that locating a stress-free, post-hike adult beverage was questionable in some locations and virtually impossible in others, we picked up a cheap styro cooler and 2-week supply of goodies en route from Grand Junction and had civilized nightcaps at our rental apartment and motels. A bit of digging also turned up one local oasis in Moab where we could have beer o'clock with no baloney.
In a nutshell: BYOB, baby.
An unusual amount of heavy rain/flash flooding threw bit of a wrench in our hiking agenda; not that we had any trouble finding other things to do. This region only sees about 8 inches a year but when it comes there's no place for it go except rushing over rock and washes - many of which you may be on the wrong side of. Deep/narrow canyons or slots and trails/roads which cross arroyos are no places to be in a storm as, at best, you may be stranded for awhile or, at worst, dangerously trapped or washed away by a quickly rising, debris-filled torrent.
Rain in the forecast? Choose activities in places unlikely to put you in a tight spot. High, open plateaus or peaks are also really lousy places to be in a thunderstorm so if you see lighting coming your way, make tracks for lower ground.
The visitor center in Moab and the rangers' desks at both Arches and Canyonlands are excellent places to check current weather, trail and unpaved road conditions before heading out.
When the normal temperature in July is 99 degrees it doesn't take make to get over heated. Take plenty of water and try to take breaks from hiking and biking. The Moab area doens't have a lot of trees and especially in and around the National Parks.
Watch where you feel you need to have some relief. The pit toilets are merely holes in the ground and they have not vent except up that hole you are looking into. The methane gases may kill you, if the smell does not make you pass out first. Not all are this bad as described, but, yes a lot are, and you do not have the privilege to choose if you are out in the wilderness.
Yes-the methane gas is deadly if in a confined area. I did not pass out, but my weak stomach and tolerance definately let me know I was in danger. It the vent does not work sufficiently, then the problem of keeping the smell away is moot.
Off Hwy 191 is treacherous for any vehicle; even 4WD. There are spots that can stop the progress, and the biggest problem is the climb up some sandy hills, let alone the hanging off the side of a mountain coming to or from Hwy 191 about 1/2 mile in. TAke Hwy 313 going to Canyonlands, and go the 6 miles in that way and return the same way. It is easy on the vehicle and the nerves.
It is rated as the most difficult in the MOab area for Jeeps and mountain bikes. That is why they were going so slow at 2-3 MPH and bikers walking the trails. I hiked, and that is the way to go, if you want to save your transportation.
Not really a warning-but the growth of the Tamarisk trees has caused a problem for the Forest Service and BLM around here and the west. These are/were hardy trees, but now infected with beetles, and then are dying. This is causing a fire hazard, and they are cutting them down to mitigate the spread if and when that happens. These pictures are from BLM cutting down trees along the creek at Negro Bill canyon.
On Potash Rd UT 297 and 3 miles north of town This is a rather difficult 3 mile hike for some; at least I thought so. You hike over a lot of rough rocks in the creek bed, some sand, but the big issue is the slickrock trek. This is the last portion of the hike, so by the time you get to that point, you do not want to turn back. Well the steel railing along the first slickrock and big angle is there so you do not slip and go downhill 50-70 feet-straight down. The next one is a climb on 40% angle straight up and the grip on the rail is necessary to make the top. I did not get a picture of that one-but should have; it is a "doozy". There even is a small ladder of old wood for ambiance.
The local liquor store is the only one in this County, or maybe State? to sell bottles of liquor and wine. I am not sure. what I was told was to go to the State Liquor Control Store to get 5% beer. So I tried. I found out all they had, and very little of it was foreign import types and in 6 packs mostly, and the prices I would guess were out of site. The whole deal was a rip off so I did not buy. You can buy 3-2% beer in grocery stores, so that is where I went, and am sure the prices are about 1/2.
Located on 200 block S right off Main in middle of town
Bring lots and lots and lots and lots of water. If you are going to do any hiking in this heat, bring even more water. I must have drank over a gallon a day, no joke.
If you are afraid of the sun, wear sun block, you are gonna need it!
Hope, the officials don’t mind that I place Smokey Bear here to warn of forest fires. But, during all my travels in US I was fascinated of the successful campaign of creating the bear as a “living figure” to give the message to prevent forest fires.
So: wherever you are hiking around in Moab's landscape – be careful when lighting a fire.
Don’t throw away cigarettes or matches, don’t cook with open fire when not protecting it against wind – the best of all would even be not to light a fire at all.
It is said that 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans.
A bit off-topic, but nevertheless interesting: Smokey Bear is actually based on an orphan baby black bear, who was found after a big forest fire in 1950.
You can read more about this, and also about wildfires, what they do, and how to prevent them on Smokey Bears Website
The picture is a 1949 poster of Smokey Bear campaign.
I'm not the most experienced hiker in the world, but i'm not the least either. While pushing my friends off the beaten path on a trail we went to we noticed some older people straggling along behind us. we'd stopped to chill for a bit on a flat outcrop, but we watched/overheard them for 10-15 minutes trying to decide where the trail went. after a while they started wandering off in a completely opposite direction because they couldn't get back up the way they came.
Long winded, but what i'm trying to say is that if you're an inexperienced, or incapable hiker, make sure you follow the trail or have someone who knows what they're doing. it's easy to take a wrong turn and change a fun thing into tragedy really quickly.
Be prepared for extremes of temperature when visiting Moab. In the summertime the heat is extreme and the sun intense. In the winter temperatures drop and snow falls. During the summer you’ll be hard pressed to find shade in this part of the desert. Moab attracts all types of adventure seekers. Just make sure you drink plenty of water and carry maps with you when hiking or biking. If you’re unfamiliar with the terrain don’t stray from the marked trails. If you get lost and caught out in the desert sun there isn’t much you can do to protect yourself from exposure. Know your limits, carry proper equipment and provisions, have a plan and be careful. But most of all have fun. If you’re a thrill seeker looking for adventure Moab is the place for you.
Most rivers and creeks you will cross in the Moab area will look very dry. But be very careful! They can become deadly if a storm hits! Suddenly a storm surge forms and a big mud-filled water wave rushes down the dry creeks destroying everything in its way!
At any rate, do not stop, camp or park your vehicle in the middle of a dry wash, especially during stormy weather.