Activities, Colorado, Cycling, United States, Utah

Desert Escape Part 2: Kokopelli Trails, KlonZo Trails, and Hurrah Pass

You can read Part 1 here

After a very good night’s sleep, I awoke way too early, my body ready to go for more adventuring. My friend Sarah was still snoozing away, so I tipped toed around the hotel room, making some tea and reading, waiting for her to stir.

Only Sarah could convince me to ride the day after hammering out 100 miles on the gravel roads of the North Fruita Desert, so after joining some cycling friends for breakfast, we headed to the Kokopelli Loops trailhead west of Fruita for a short loop before the drive over to Moab.

Chicken and biscuits for breakfast?! The Buttered Biscuit is an awesome food truck!

I love love love the trails of the Kokopelli Loops system. (And so does everyone else, as all the parking was JAMMED packed! Luckily I could double park Sarah, and we squeezed into one of the last few spots.) Ideally we would’ve done a lot longer ride, but you know, that whole “I rode 100 miles yesterday” thing was plaguing my sore legs and I had some plans for the evening in Moab I didn’t want to miss.

Smiles and selfies!
Views of the Colorado River from Rustler’s Trail at Kokopelli Loops
Rustler’s Loop as it carves its way back a fun descent to the parking lot

After our little Fruita ride, it was time for the 90 minute drive to Moab. There’s always a sort of giddiness that comes over me as I cruise along I-70 and then head south to Moab. I’ve always been drawn to desert landscapes (though they’ve really be replaced in the last several years by the yearning to be in high alpine and arctic landscapes), and I’ve always been super excited for my Moab adventures ever since my first trip in 2012. I’ve had the privilege of being able to visit Arches National Park numerous times, including for camping overnight, and also do some off-roading during earlier trips. This trip I was excited about seeing some new stuff in Arches and to see Canyonlands National Park for the first time – even more exciting is Sarah had not been to these places before!

We did not head straight to our campground (Canyonlands RV Resort in the middle of Moab where Sarah scored us a nice little cabin to share), and instead opted for a second mountain bike ride of the day at the KlonZo trail system, which is 15-ish miles north of Moab. Overall this trail system wasn’t exactly anything amazing, but it included a trail that went by dinosaur tracks, so I cannot complain! In the scheme of mountain biking in the Moab area, these trails are definitely beginner friendly and/or a nice option when not wanting an extreme ride on technical terrain. They’re also a lot less crowded, and there are connectors to other systems like the Brands trails if you want to do a long day.

Driving out Willow Springs Road towards the KlonZo trail system north of Moab. The road does cross some sandy washes. We had no problem in our cars (Subaru Forester and Nissan Xterra).
The KlonZo trails are split into a north and south system with the parking lot in the middle, which gives a lot of options to keep the ride as short or as long as you want
Views of the La Sal mountains as we climbed up the Borderline trail
An educational sign near the dinosaur tracks by Carousel trail
Does it get better than dinosaur tracks, the desert, and mountain biking?!
Dinosaurs walked here!!!
Impersonating a dinosaur like the nerd I am

After the mountain biking came adventuring…

The one major thing I wanted to accomplish while in Moab was taking Mr. Fozzy (my beloved Subaru Forester) up Hurrah Pass like I did in October 2017. I like to think he gets quite excited to play a bit on rough roads, and hey, it’s beautiful scenery for me, too! Sarah and I grabbed some McDonalds to snack on, and we headed out on Kane Creek Road, which is worth the drive even if you’re not interested in continuing on when things get rough. There are several campgrounds out this way, and they were pretty much empty even though Moab was a zoo itself. They’re remote and there’s no cell service, but that can be perfect if you ask me!

Mini G helping drive with advice from the Adventuring Dinos. Sarah brought Mini G along for the trip, and he was quite good company!
Petroglyphs on the side of Kane Creek Road
The point where Kane Creek Road goes from a gravel road to something slightly more adventurous

We bumped along the road, taking in the scenery. Then we hit a part where there appeared to be a minivan having troubles getting up a slight incline. We watched until they gave up, and we decided to give it a go. Sadly erosion had ledged out the little climb quite a bit, and Fozzy just didn’t quite have the clearance (even if we made it up, I was worried how much I’d smash my hitch mounted bike rack coming back down it). I’m pretty quick to not get into situations I cannot handle with Fozzy, as he is a stock height Subie after all with summer road tires. We took some photo opps, and enjoyed the views from where we had made it. I was a little sad I couldn’t get him all the way up the pass like I had a few years earlier, but it was still a fun adventure, and I got to show Sarah a bit of the area she had not seen before!

Chugging up Hurrah Pass
Sarah wanted an extra strength workout and thought we could build a bit of a ramp to help Fozzy up this tricky part.
Sorry Fozzy, I think we’ve been defeated!
…But I got quite the desert glamour shot of him! (Subaru… come on, you know you need an adventuring photographer to capture what Subies can do in the wild!)
I love this rock feature near Hurrah Pass. I’ve gotten some great photos here in the past with the Milky Way. Also can get a bit spooky in the dark as a lot of the rocks look like faces and creatures.
A broader view of the rock formations
A closer look at this awesome geology!
Heading back to town
Had to do a bit of a photoshoot. Look at that geology!
Blue and red is a great color combo!
The darkness creeping in as the sun prepared to set… and the moon!

Snacks, showers, and adult bevies, and we settled in for the night. Tomorrow would be another busy day of mountain biking and national park adventuring!

Relaxing back at our cabin at Canyonlands RV Resort & Campground located in the heart of Moab. This cabin was perfect for Sarah and I – and all of our gear!

5 thoughts on “Desert Escape Part 2: Kokopelli Trails, KlonZo Trails, and Hurrah Pass”

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