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Ut313 - Spring Canyon Road (sh)


Ut313, the road to Island in the Sky, has a cleverly disguised turnoff, that leads to several overlooks and access points of the Green River. The sign at this junction simply reads "Big Mesa Group Camping Area". Following it takes some tenacity, because the canyons are still some distance away, and also - you have no idea that you are near the edge of the canyon of the Green River, until you are actually at the very edge.

When riding to Spring Canyon, this cleverly disguised turnoff also happens to be the highest point along the route. Ut313 just keeps on climbing past this point to more visited overlooks.  Consequently this summit point is a shoulder summit to the Ut313 Island in the sky s(u)


1.(4500ft,mile00) START-END EAST: jct Ut313 to Island in the Sky area of Canyonlands Park - US191, north of Moab
2.(5490ft,mile09) TOP: turnoff from Ut313 onto dirt road on right, Spring Canyon Road
3.(5280ft,mile10) profile stays left on Spring Canyon Road
4.(5050ft,mile15) intermediate low point
5.(5390ft,mile16) intermediate high point at junction: right connects to SS road, left goes to Deadman Point
6.(3980ft,mile22) START-END WEST: Spring Canyon Bottom


Approaches

From East. The profile begins where Ut313 turns off US191. This lower part of the road is also called Seven Mile Canyon. It passes two square buttes on the right (one is Merrimac Butte), and pronto - you are at the top already. It's all downhill from here, in a netto sort of way.


From West. (described downwards) A long fast ride over a good, straight dirt road, with periodically occurring crossings of where the road may be washed out, leads across the high, rolling dessert. An intermediate summit point (point 5) has two important, unlabeled turnoffs. The left goes to a southern overlook on the Green: Deadman Point. The right is labeled SS road and connects with other Green access points. The route ahead descends slightly, but as already mentioned there is no evidence that a canyon intersects the far view to the horizon and the Henry Mountains.

The drop off appears in front of you, about 15 seconds before you find yourself on a shelf road, heading for a gap between a cliff on one side an a rock monument on the other. The road is still level on this short shelf section, but that soon changes. A single switchback gets the trail down to the bottom of Spring Canyon, and follows it to the Green. Unlike the geologically more complex descends closer to Moab, here the sheer ciffs over the Green are uniform Wingate formation with Entrada caprock.

Actually the second nicest part of the ride starts here, even if it is not included in the profile. Old mining roads follow the Green both up and downstream as far as the next side canyon.




But you don't have to descend to Spring Canyon Bottom from the top of this shoulder summit. One can go right at point 3 and connect over another nearly equally high point towards the south, even if this bypasses all of the really scenically most interesting areas. It was my first ride in this area, and I still consider it a good training ride. In most other places I also felt lucky to see this scenery. But things are relative, and we are after all in the Moab area.


1.(4500ft,mile00) START-END EAST: -p1 above- jct Ut313 to Island in the Sky area of Canyonlands Park - US191, north of Moab
2.(5490ft,mile09) -p2 in first profile- TOP: turnoff from Ut313 onto dirt road on right, Spring Canyon Road
3.(5280ft,mile10) -p3 in first profile- profile turns right onto Dubinky Well Road
4.(5200ft,mile11) intermediate bottom, at turnoff to Jug Rock Flat on left
5.(5469ft,mile17) intermediate top on Debinky Well Road
6.(4550ft,mile22) START-END NORTH: jct Dubinky Well Rd - Blue Hills Road

 

From East.  same as above

From North. (described downwards) The profile turns off to the right onto Dubinky Well Road at point 3. A confusing sign at this map information turnoff gives the impression that the route to Spring Creek Bottom also stays right here. It does not, it stays left. As the road makes a small descend on the plateau and then climbs again, it can deliver quite nice views of Merimac Butte foregrounding whatever weather and cloud happenings are going on in the La Sal Mountains. The climb to the top of Dubinky Well Road (rd137) feels higher than the Ut313 turnoff, but the topographic map says that it is lower. This road tops out at a rock outcrop area and has a short steep section before this intermediate top. The descend down the other side is on an elaborately engineered dirt road, that can surprise with a few short sandy stretches. The view shed is now to the north and west, taking in the Book Cliffs and the San Rafael Swell. It imparts a much more desolate feeling than the sheer red canyons on the other side of this shoulder summit. Finally a telephone line appears in the low distance. That's the intersection with the Blue Hills Road, and also the end of the profile. Even though the Blue Hill Road visually feels like it is descending to US191, it actually climbs, then descends, with almost no overall loss of elevation.

History

Cycling: An early guide book included a description of the western approach as part of a loop. The critical connecting link in this loop is a portage back up to Spring Creek Point. "Above and Beyond Slickrock" by Todd Campbell was published in 1991.




Dayrides

PARTIALLY PAVED / UNPAVED

Ut313 - Spring Canyon Rd(sh): Willow Spring Road (north of Moab, off US191) > US191 south > up Ut313 > Ut313 - Spring Canyon(sh) <> out and back on Spring Canyon Road and a spur road to turnaround before reaching Colorado River >> Dubinky Well Road (rd138) north > Blue Hill Road (rd137) east  > US191 south  > Willow Spring Road back to starting point: 63.5miles with 3070 ft of climbing in 5:07hours (VDO MC1.0 m3.11.10.7).

Ut313 - Spring Canyon Rd(sh) x2: out and back ride: Willow Spring Road (north of Moab, off US191) <> US191 south <> up Ut313 <> Ut313 - Spring Canyon(sh) <> Spring Canyon Bottom <> upstream/north along the Green River <> turnaround point a short distance above Joe's Mine, plus a few short spurs: 71.8miles with 3880ft of climbing in 6:42hours (VDO MC1.0 m3.11.10.9).
Notes: Trip also includes a hike above Joe's mine. But I couldn't locate the portage route to the top.

 


 

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