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moab - utah

Bikepacking: Moab to Boulder Town Photo
28th of January
Descent -14007
High 6888
Length 294.3
Low 3968
Ascent 16628
Weather 42° Scattered Rain/Snow and Areas Fog then Mostly Sunny

Trail Difficulty: greenBlue

A 5-day, southern-Utah desert bikepacking tour on about 60% dirt, 40% pavement and bike path.

We took off from Moab and rode self-supported to Boulder Town, Utah, using as much dirt as we could. In about 290 miles, we went through only two towns, and linked together the San Rafael Swell, Capitol Reef National Park, and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. Tons of potential for detours onto singletrack or other improvisation.

What I Brought:

  • Steel touring bike
  • Revelate Designs Viscacha Seat Bag
  • Revelate Designs Gas Tank Bag
  • Revelate Designs Ripio Frame Bag
  • Outdoor Research Duct Tape Dry Bag
  • Camelbak Hawg 18 hydration pack
  • Frame pump
  • Patch kit
  • Tire levers
  • Extra chain links
  • Leatherman Wave multitool
  • Crank Brothers M17 multitool
  • Chain lube and cleaner
  • Zip ties
  • Duct tape
  • Baling wire
  • Parachute cord
  • Gorilla Glue
  • Extra disc brake pads
  • MSR Whisperlite Universal stove
  • MSR Base cook pot
  • Platypus GravityWorks 4-liter water filter
  • MSR 4-liter Dromedary (one per person)
  • Black Diamond ReVolt headlamp
  • Big Agnes Copper Spur UL2 tent (fly and footprint only)
  • Big Agnes Bellyache Mountain 17 sleeping bag
  • ThermaRest Prolite sleeping pad
  • Outdoor Research Deviator Hoody
  • Outdoor Research Axiom Jacket (rain shell)
  • Outdoor Research Tantrum Hooded Jacket (wind jacket)
  • Outdoor Research Transcendent Hoody (down sweater)
  • Outdoor Research Wayward Short Sleeve Shirt
  • Outdoor Research Tangent Long Sleeve Shirt
  • Outdoor Research Equinox shorts
  • Outdoor Research Voodoo Pants
  • Vasque Grand Traverse shoes
  • POC Octal helmet
  • Gnarly old Pearl Izumi winter gloves from 2010

Temperatures will reach 42° today, with Scattered Rain/Snow and Areas Fog then Mostly Sunny. Weather conditions this week are expected to range between 40° with Areas Fog then Mostly Cloudy to 42° with Scattered Rain/Snow and Areas Fog then Mostly Sunny over the next 5 days. It doesn't look like there's any substantial snow forecasted this week with air temperatures ranging between 40° - 42° over the next 5 days.


There is one creek ford at approximately mile 190 - Muddy Creek. When we did it in mid-March, the creek was mid-shin height. Fatter tires recommended for sandy sections. Finding/managing your water supply is the crux. Reliable water is available in the town of Green River, in the San Rafael River about halfway across the San Rafael Swell, at the entrance station at Goblin Valley State Park, in the Rodeway Inn in Caineville, Utah, and in cattle ponds that can be seen along the route in satellite images.

Ride north out of Moab on the canyon bike path, then cross the highway and turn left on UT-313. After climbing through a couple hairpin switchbacks, turn right onto Dublinky Well Road (dirt). You can ride any combination of dirt roads from there to Green River, but basically you want to keep trending north and slightly west. After almost 50 miles, you'll cross over I-70 on what's called Ruby Ranch Road on Google Maps and get on the old Highway 6 & 50, a rough, cracked old east-west frontage asphalt road that heads into Green River. From Green River (your last chance for supplies), ride down Main Street and merge onto I-70 for two miles, exiting onto US-6 heading northwest. This is just under 20 miles of pavement (which you could avoid if you want to do a little more complicated dirt route to the north side of the San Rafael Swell).

After the canyon begins to open up, you'll climb out of it on a Jeep road on the right-hand side of the wash, to great views of the Henry Mountains and Factory Butte to the south. The road will parallel the Crack Canyon Wilderness Study Area, giving you views of large red-and-tan-striped dunes along the road. Continuing south, you'll ford Muddy Creek, then ride the flat gravel of Coal Mine Road to its intersection with UT-24. Turn west onto 24 and ride asphalt into Caineville, Utah, where there's a small convenience store in the Rodeway Inn.

From Caineville, continue west on 24, looking for a dirt road on the left at about 6.5 miles. Turn onto the dirt road and follow it for 3.5 miles to its intersection with Notom-Bullfrog Road (asphalt). The asphalt ends after 16 miles, and the dirt road has intermittent sandy sections but is generally pleasant all the way to its intersection with the Burr Trail, 22 miles from the end of the asphalt.

Turn west onto the Burr Trail and climb up the steep switchbacks. After the initial climb and a few rolling hills at the top, the road turns back into asphalt as you ride from Capitol Reef NP into Escalante NM. Rolling climbs and descents eventually lead into a winding descent into Long Canyon, a meandering red sandstone canyon, and then up and into Boulder Town.

Weather Forecast

000 FXUS65 KGJT 270536 AFDGJT Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Grand Junction CO 1036 PM MST Sun Jan 26 2020 .SHORT TERM...(Tonight through Monday night) Issued at 257 PM MST Sun Jan 26 2020 Satellite imagery continues to show low level cloud cover over eastern Utah near KCNY. Expect that this will continue through through at least tonight. Elsewhere, high clouds continue to move into the region ahead of the next disturbance. Radar returns also picking up on (what is believed to be) virga rounding the top of the ridge over northern portions of the forecast area. As previously mentioned, the ridge axis moves across our CWA this afternoon/evening giving way to the next trough by daybreak Monday. There will be some dynamic lift associated with this system but orographics looks to be providing most of the precipitation. Therefore, it`s no surprise that the northern Colorado mountains will be the location for favored snowfall as this system moves through. It looks like the strongest precipitation rates (brief 1 inch/hour snow) will occur around mid-day tomorrow in northern portions of the forecast area before drier air moves in behind. Favored, localized amounts of 6-8 inches are possible in the Elkhead, Park, and Flat Top Mountains above 8,000 feet by Tuesday morning. However, it appears that snowfall amounts that high will be the exception, not the rule across the entire ranges. Lesser amounts of 1-3 inches can be expected below 8,000 feet. With wind not expected to pose an impact, decided to issue an SPS through tomorrow afternoon. Although light showers will remain possible on orographically favored northwest slopes into Tuesday, much of the snowfall is expected to taper off Monday night. This disturbance then digs south as it crosses the divide and moves into the central/southern plains as we continue ...

Area River Conditions

USGS Gauge Streamflow Gauge Height Elevation
Colorado River Near Cisco, Ut
11300 cfs 6 ft 4094 ft
Castle Creek Below Castle Valley Near Moab, Ut
4 cfs 6 ft 4095 ft
Mill Creek At Sheley Tunnel, Near Moab, Ut.
33 cfs 4 ft 5403 ft
Mill Creek Below Sheley Tunnel, Near Moab, Ut
3 cfs 1 ft 5345 ft
South Creek Above Reservoir Near Monticello, Ut
13 cfs 1 ft 7174 ft
Recapture Creek Near Blanding, Ut
10 cfs 1 ft 7198 ft

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