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Trip State: Utah

Moab, Natural Bridges, Red Rock, Alstrom Point, Capitol Reef, ...

The Other Side (May 2024)

  As temperatures have started to rise across the west, areas that were covered in snow or otherwise too cold to wander during the winter are once again opening up. And, while I have an endless list of desert destinations to explore, it's always an exciting time to venture beyond the confines of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts that we've recently called home. And so, we're headed to Utah. There, San Rafael Swell and Cedar Mesa will be our destinations. Like the desert, an infinite number of days could be consumed savoring the sandstone formations, deep canyons, and Native American…

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Before and After (Apr 2024)

Making our way back-and-forth from Las Vegas to the Arizona Backcountry Discovery Route (AZBDR) was a whole lot better than a round-trip from Washington. Still, we had a 10-hour drive to the Mexico border before starting the BDR, and a full day between when we crossed the Arizona-Utah border and our return flight home, so we made the most of it by checking out a few places with some of the most unusual rock art - of one type or another - we've encountered!  

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Utah Backcountry Discovery Route (Jul 2023)

As always, we wanted to run a BDR this summer, and I'd had my eye on Colorado or Utah as both are always beautiful states through which to travel. With record snowfall across the west, we realized a few weeks before our departure date that Colorado was completely out of the question, and even portions of the Utah route could still be blocked by snow. Still, the Utah BDR is an iconic route. Meandering 871-miles through the Valley of Gods, climbing the Moki Dugway, picking the perfect route through the rough roads of Lockhart Basin, and winding through four mountain ranges…

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Three Days of R&R (Apr 2023)

I've been itching to get out of California for a while now. Over the last 16 months, a full 15 of my 24 trips have been to the Golden State, and I'm starting to miss the variety offered by places like Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming. Of course, the high elevations and northern reaches are still snowed in, but there's never a shortage of amazing hiking and exploration to be done in the Grand Gulch and Cedar Mesa area So, with a few days to burn, I'm headed out in search of history. With more than 30 miles of trails, it'd…

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Not the Rock Art I Was Looking For (Jan 2023)

It was with the best of intentions that I planned a trip to explore the Pahranagat Trail in southeast Nevada. The very first trip where I'd be flying - rather than driving - to make the trek south, I'd work my way north from Las Vegas to explore three wilderness' that were once home to Native American Indians: Arrow Canyon Wilderness, South Pahroc Wilderness, and Big Rocks Wilderness. With little more to go on than a series of roads that would take me to the edge of each wilderness, and the knowledge that there was lots of rock art to…

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Rock Art Overload - Nine Mile Canyon (Apr 2022)

I didn't discover Nine Mile Canyon in my own research. Rather, after posting a story of one of my trips to some fantastic place in the western United States, a reader - Tim - reached out to me to suggest a few places he'd discovered over his years of exploration. At the top of his list was Nine Mile Canyon, and a photo he shared with me was enough to make me add it to my list without any further information. Under a blazing blue sky, a panel of petroglyphs overlooked a green valley surrounded by the patinaed red rock;…

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Oh, So, (San Rafael) Swell (Apr 2022)

I can't really believe that I've been exploring the western United States for nearly five years now and have yet to spend any time in the San Rafael Swell. That's not entirely true - technically. I did camp one night on - what I now know to be - the extreme eastern edge of the Swell, just before a trip into The Maze with Ben @m3bassman and Zane @Speedytech7, but since then, I've never even driven through this amazing place on the highway! This week would change all that. With eyeballs as big as saucers, I set about planning what I…

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New Mexico Backcountry Discovery Route (Jun 2021)

After doing the same thing annually - for five years running - it's probably safe to call it a tradition. Backcountry Discover Routes (BDRs) have become that for us. Oregon got us hooked, and after adding Washington, Idaho, and Nevada over the last several summers, this year we decided that we'd make a run at New Mexico. Weaving our way more than 1,200 miles back and forth across the Continental Divide, our elevation varying from 3500- to 11,000-feet, and with temperatures predicted to be 100°F (or higher) for much of our journey, we knew it was going to be quite…

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Forty-One Miles of Mesa (May 2021)

I was naive. I thought that returning to Cedar Mesa in search of more Native American Ruins (see Utah, Re-Ruined) would get me to the point where I'd have seen most of what we'd missed on our first trip to the area some two years earlier (see Ruining Around Utah). Yeah, calling that naive is probably being generous. While I was there, I quickly realized that I was only scratching the surface - that there was so much more in the area - that I could probably visit for years (decades even), and still have more to see. A lot like…

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Utah, Re-Ruined (Apr 2021)

We had unfinished business in Utah, after our Ruining Around Utah trip back in spring of 2019. An unseasonably wet winter meant that the higher elevation roads were still impassable due to snow, so one of our primary goals - the Lewis Lodge ruins - remained just out of reach. And I haven't gotten back since. I'd had so much fun on that trip - searching for Native American ruins - that I decided it was time to go back. This time, the plan centered almost entirely around ruins - Lewis Lodge, Hotel Rock, Moon House, River House, Jailhouse, and…

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An Island in the Sky at the Top of the World (Feb 2021)

When my buddy Ben asked if I wanted to go to the Island District of Canyonlands National Park in order to run the White Rim Trail, I was pretty pumped. While I've been to the other districts - The Maze and The Needles - I've never been to The Island in the Sky, and have always heard about how beautiful it is; some even describe it as the Crown Jewel of the park. With a plan to meet in Moab on a Thursday just after lunch, I set out on the long drive south Wednesday. My plan was to arrive…

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Mid-Winter Mojave (Feb 2021)

Smack in the middle of winter, we found ourselves with a little extra time and nothing planned to fill the days. That, in addition to the fact that it was going to be cold and snowy in nearly all of Washington state, signaled to us that an escape down south would be a doubly worthwhile endeavor. The question was: where should we go? We'd been to both Death Valley (Nadeau Trail, Loose Ends), the Mojave Preserve (Short Days), and Owens Valley (Tragedies, Right Back to Owens Valley) a couple times in the last couple months - and while another trip…

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Mojave East (Mar 2020)

Leaving home for adventure was a little different this time. Looking back now, as we headed south out of the Seattle area, we were leaving behind what would turn out to be one of the early epicenters of the Covid-19 outbreak, just before more info on the severity would come to light and large-scale cancellations and closures would become part of our world's lives. This was a trip like no other - and not for the normal reasons. Join us as we head south to spectacular hikes in the red rocks of St. George Utah. Follow along as we make…

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Ruining Around Utah (Mar 2019)

I've been to Canyonlands National Park before, but only to The Maze District. This, my first trip to The Needles District would be an experience I won't soon forget. We'd spend a week roaming around Utah, running the Elephant Hill trail and making our way into Beef Basin. We'd hike to the Druid Arch - a spectacular trek through canyhttps://adventuretaco.com/tripdest/canyonlands-national-park/ons and over red rock that is worth every moment of soreness you'll feel when it's over. And then, as if everything we'd seen wasn't enough, we'd head to Natural Bridges National Monument for the full tour. I must admit, it's…

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F.U.Rain - Exploring the Grand Canyon, Lake Powell, Bears Ears and more! (Oct 2018)

Our plan was simple, if long. Start in St. George, Utah, and work our way east - first along the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, then through Glen Canyon National Monument (Lake Powell), and then through Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument to Bears Ears National Monument and Natural Bridges National Monuments. Then, finally, we'd work our way back north through Capitol Reef National Park, having seen the plethora of sights and plenty of dirt roads along the way. It was, to be sure, the most ambitious trip to date! We'd been planning our trip south to Arizona and Utah for…

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The Maze, Canyonlands (Mar 2018)

This was our first trip to Canyonlands, and as such, our first to The Maze District as well. With three days to explore, we made the most of our time - entering the park from Poison Springs Canyon Road, and making our way out to the Doll House. A night there is like no other, and I highly recommend it if your vehicle is capable of the arduous journey. From there, we headed up the Flint Trail switchbacks to Panorama Point - a view unlike any other we'd seen to date. Of course, the view was a little different when…

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The De-Tour (Sep 2017)

Billed as an epic journey through some of Monte @Blackdawg's favorite places in Montana and Wyoming over the course of two weeks in fall of 2017, The De-Tour quickly became a trip for the ages - and not because of the epic views or grand overlooks. Rather, it was the weather that made this trip memorable. Record cold temperatures for this time of year, and a weather system that stuck with us for days meant we were wet, cold, and muddy much of the time. After a week, we'd had enough. Tails tucked, much of the group split for home,…

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