View Full Version : Thanksgiving Weekend on Comb Ridge

December 1st, 2008, 10:58 PM
Friday: Grand Junction to Blanding

Heading to Comb Ridge for Thanksgiving weekend is a trip I had been planning for a while. Our plans changed a little during the weekend and we didn't spend as much time on Comb Ridge as originally planned, but we made up for that in other ways. Unfortunately, Amanda had to work on Black Friday preventing us from heading down sooner, but the good news was that she worked much earlier than normal. This allowed us to leave earlier and take a few backroads on our way to Blanding instead of hopping on the interstate and taking US 191 the whole way.

We started out heading south on CO 141 through Gateway and then followed the Dolores River towards Uravan. Shortly before reaching Uravan, we got off the pavement and headed south through Saucer Basin and towards Paradox Valley. Along this route we passed underneath the Hanging Flume which was built between 1889 - 1891 to deliver water to a mining project.


The road along the San Miguel River with the Hanging Flume above


Soon we reached the confluence of the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers


After following along the Dolores for a few more miles we entered Paradox Valley


Made a quick stop in Bedrock


The post office

We then climbed out of Paradox Valley on CO 90 and continued on UT 46 to US 191. Made a left turn and headed to Blanding. We made a quick stop at Wilson Arch near sunset for a photo :)


Stay tuned for the rest for the trip report over the next few days!

December 2nd, 2008, 01:06 AM
I hate reading your trip reports...makes me hate living on this side of town.

December 2nd, 2008, 01:06 AM
nice trip though

December 2nd, 2008, 08:51 AM
Nice pics! I was in that area earlier this year, and I found it was much easier to get to Blanding if you turn LEFT when you get to 191!

December 2nd, 2008, 08:55 AM
Nice pics! I was in that area earlier this year, and I found it was much easier to get to Blanding if you turn LEFT when you get to 191!

oops...i missed that error :D

December 2nd, 2008, 09:32 AM
As always... great!!! Keep it coming!

December 2nd, 2008, 01:46 PM
Nice, especially the pic of Wilson Arch. I've been wanting to explore that area.

Where do you research all your trips? You always seem to know quite a bit about each area.

December 2nd, 2008, 02:51 PM
I hate reading your trip reports...makes me hate living on this side of town.

x2 , what do you do, just drive around all the time taking NICE trips:shrug: MAN, i need your schedule..haha.

great report as always and one of these years need to "hire you" as a tour guide:flipoff2:

December 2nd, 2008, 07:32 PM
:thumbsup:Nicely done IntrepidXJ...Great pics and sounds like a nice relaxing exploration.

December 2nd, 2008, 09:54 PM
Comb Ridge and more...

The original goal for this trip was to spend most of the weekend hiking to Anasazi ruins on Comb Ridge. However, after hiking a few miles we realized we were a little more out of shape than we had thought ;) So we didn't exactly spend the whole weekend hiking. Luckily we had the Jeep with us so we could still do some exploring.

On Saturday we woke up bright and early and headed south towards Bluff and made it to Butler Wash road just as the sun was starting to come up. Our first destination was the Wolfman Petroglyph Panel. Reaching the panel from the trailhead required only a short hike.

Comb Ridge in the background...parked at the Wolfman Panel trailhead


Part of the trail along the cliff face


Wolfman Petroglyph Panel



After making it back to the Jeep we headed further north along Comb Ridge and started our hike to Monarch Cave ruins.

Monarch Cave ruins with the narrow and off-camber path to reach them


Closer view


Hand prints above us


The view back down the canyon we hiked up


December 2nd, 2008, 09:54 PM
After hiking back to our Jeep, we had an early lunch and headed yet further north to our next destination. Our next goal was Fishmouth Cave. This canyon contained a few alcoves with ruins in them.

Fishmouth Cave in the distance


A few of the ruins we found along the way.




After completing the hike, we were pretty worn out and decided to stick to the backroads in the Jeep for the rest of the weekend. We started out by taking Deckers Road back to US 191 and looping back through Bluff on our way to Valley of the Gods.


We came across this section of road that was built right over the carcass of an old car.


Setting Hen and Rooster Butte in Valley of the Gods


December 2nd, 2008, 09:55 PM
A few more pictures from Valley of the Gods




The washboard road through Valley of the Gods was terrible! After making it back to the pavement, we were right next to the Moki Dugway, so we took the short drive up to the top and back down again.


Next we took a short trip down Mexican Hat Road which ended at the San Juan River.

Mexican Hat Rock


San Juan River


...and finally before heading back to Blanding for some dinner we went back into Valley of the Gods to try and get a nice sunset picture. Unfortunately, the sky didn't cooperate with me....but here's a couple of pics anyways.



Stay tuned for Sunday, the final day :)

December 2nd, 2008, 10:04 PM
Where do you research all your trips? You always seem to know quite a bit about each area.

I use a lot of different sources. I use the internet to do some research and I also buy a lot of trail guides, history books and maps. I have a ton of maps ;)

December 2nd, 2008, 10:06 PM
x2 , what do you do, just drive around all the time taking NICE trips:shrug: MAN, i need your schedule..haha.

i work a normal M-F job....I just make the best of my weekends, vacation days and holidays :D

December 3rd, 2008, 12:00 AM
Next time you go to Moki Dugway... take a drive out to the end of Muley Point Road. The view from the end is astounding. Thats where I went 2 weekends ago.

December 3rd, 2008, 12:10 AM
Next time you go to Moki Dugway... take a drive out to the end of Muley Point Road.

Yeah, I really wanted to do that....but we were running out of daylight and didn't have time this time :(

I'll have to head back to the area in the spring :)

Dallas Lemon
December 3rd, 2008, 08:37 AM
I'm envious!! I love that area and would love to explore it, and my wife and I are also enjoy visiting petroglyph sights. Keep the pics coming.

December 3rd, 2008, 09:13 PM
Arch Canyon

Still sore from the previous day's hiking, we decided to run a local trail in the Jeep before heading home. Back in May we had run Arch Canyon for the first time, however it was cloudy and rainy much of the day. I wanted to head back with my new DSLR and a blue sky (though, we could have used some nice puffy white clouds). Amanda hasn't driven my Jeep much in the past, but she wanted to drive this trail to the end. She was a bit nervous at first but was much more comfortable by the end. I got to ride along and relax for most of the trail :)

Amanda dropping into one of the numerous crossings along this trail


Headed up canyon



A good place to stop for some pictures



Surprisingly, we also encountered a little bit of carnage on this trail. We were driving along and heard a loud snap when we hit a bump, followed by a noise every time the passenger side front coil spring flexed and compressed. It sounded like something was stuck inside the coil, so I got out to investigate...


December 3rd, 2008, 09:13 PM
That's right.....the smaller coil on top snapped off and now the coil was sitting up higher on the body. The Jeep still drove fine, it was just a few inches lower on the passenger side now. The good news is that just today I received word that Rubicon Express will be replacing my coils under their limited lifetime warranty. Happy to see a company stand behind their products.

Shortly after the coil snapping we reached the end of the motorized trail through Arch Canyon near Cathedral Arch.


Cathedral Arch



Trail on the way back out


Just a cool reflection in a puddle


If you look closely in this picture, you can see a few small Anasazi ruins along the cliff behind my Jeep


Crooked Jeep and Comb Ridge in the background on our way back home


On our way back home we headed up US 191 to I-70, but with a small detour down the Thompson Cutoff Road


That's all for this trip report :)

December 4th, 2008, 04:49 PM
nice pics. But some of them remind me of the "Hills Have Eyes" movie lol

Big Dave
December 4th, 2008, 04:58 PM
As usual, AMAZING trip report. One suggestion though, and I don't know how easy this would be, but would it be possible to post a map with a rough route shown on it for those of us who kinda know where you're going, but not enough to find out where the fawk all this is?

December 9th, 2008, 10:51 AM
I had no idea all that was in that area. Wow!! I'll parrot what was already said...amazing trip report and you seem to get around well. Good to hear about your coil spring being warrantied. What did RE say about it?