Day 13 - Driving from St George to Grand Junction via Thunder Mountain

Thunder Mountain Mountain Bike Trail (Utah)

 
 
 
 
 
La Quinta Inn St George - Click to Enlarge La Quinta Inn St George - Click to Enlarge La Quinta Inn St George - Click to Enlarge

Today I got up and packed up my stuff ready for the long drive to Grand Junction via Thunder Mountain, I had stayed a few days more than intended at this La Quinta in as the room I had had been so great and keenly priced, and the riding in the area had been so good. Also I had been keeping an eye on the weather and over in Colorado it had not been looking that great. But I now needed to head that way as I was going to fly home from Denver.

La Quinta Inn St George - Click to Enlarge La Quinta Inn St George - Click to Enlarge La Quinta Inn St George - Click to Enlarge

Driving route 420 Miles

St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge
St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge I drove north along the I15 until Cedar City where I turned off and headed up hw 14. St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge
St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge

As the road climbed up into the mountains there was a lot of snow on the ground, but the road was completely clear so the journey was quite quick. This is one of things that's so good America such contrasts over relatively short distances.

St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge
St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge
St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge Once over the mountain range the road dropped back down on the way I spotted the Van full of single speeders again. St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge

Thunder Mountain

St George to Thunder Mtn - Click to Enlarge Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge
Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge I arrived at the thunder mountain car park and unpacked my bike, as it had been raining the night before I decided to ride up the bike path this time. The bike path headed upwards on a gentle grade, and was actually quite scenic asides from the road off to the left. Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge
Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Play

Thunder Mountain Bike Path

 

At the top of the bike path I turned off onto the gravel road heading towards Coyote Hollow. As the gravel road got into the trails it started to get quite sticky. Which made riding up the road quite a drag.

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Play

Coyote Hollow Road

 

It must have rained quite hard the night before as the ground was quite tacky, and I could clearly see the tracks made by 3 riders who were ahead of me. Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Play

Upper Thunder Mountain Singletrack (13MB)

Riding the trail was hard work, as there was a layer of very sticker mud about 2 inches thick, plus it was even harder as the riders in front had churned it up. Unlike the last time I had ridden here where it was bone dry and the trail was very fast. Plus the trail does have quite a few ups which ended up being hikes as the mud jammed up my wheels. Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge
On the way down I met a guy pushing his bike up the trail, he had started the trail from the bottom not a wise move !! It was hard enough to ride down the trail with the sticky mud let alone up it. I was glad i'd decided to ride the bike path up after speaking to him.

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Play

Random guy pushing his bike up hill (13 MB)

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Play

Thunder Mountain trail (16 MB)

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge

 

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge
Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Play

Thunder Mountain is not just a down hill ride (18 MB)

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge The ground had started to dry out at this point in the ride and the riding started to get a bit easier. Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge
Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge

At one point the ride you ride down a section of trail on a rock fin, which is pretty cool. I took a view videos and photos here.

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Play

Riding down the Fin (7 MB)

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge
Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Play

Thunder Mountain switch backs (34MB)

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Play

Monarch Crest Trail last section (12MB)

Once the trail had dropped to the valley floor the ride back to the Car park was very fast, by the point in the ride the trail had dried out completely.
Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge

Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge

Thunder Mountain Route

Just as I finished packing up the Single speeders arrived from down the trail, they had set off an hour later than me, and by that time the trail even at the top had dried right out. If only I'd turned up later the ride would have been much Better. I will ride this trail again but ONLY if I know its not rained within the last 24 hours, as that extra sticky mud is no fun to ride through. Thunder Mountain (Utah) - Click to Enlarge

I set off on the road again heading north towards the I70, this part of the drive was pretty boring I stopped at Salinda for fuel at 16:28, and bought some food and a can of red bull to keep me awake.

Thunder Mtn drive to Kokopelli trails Thunder Mtn drive to Kokopelli trails Thunder Mtn drive to Kokopelli trails
Thunder Mtn drive to Kokopelli trails Thunder Mtn drive to Kokopelli trails Thunder Mtn drive to Kokopelli trails
Thunder Mtn drive to Kokopelli trails The drive was more interesting as it passed through the huge sandstone formations of the San Rafael Reef Area. Thunder Mtn drive to Kokopelli trails
Thunder Mtn drive to Kokopelli trails Finally I was almost at Fruita but looking over towards the book cliffs it looked like it was raining so I decided to go and ride at the kokopelli trail area.

Thunder Mtn drive to Kokopelli trails

 

Horsetheif Bench ride

Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge
Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge I decided to just ride round Horse thief Bench, so I set off from the Kokopelli trail head and rode up the Mary's loop double track to the track that goes down the horsethief Bench. I actually had to wear a wind proof as it was quite cold. Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge
Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge
Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge It was good fun riding at this time of day as the sun was setting, all the crickets and insects stated to make chirping insects and the low lighting made everything look different. Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge

Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Play

Heading back on Horsethief Bench singletrack (5 MB)

Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge
Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge
Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge

I finished the ride in the dark and then drove to Grand Junction and checked into the La Quinta Inn & Suites. The room I had was ok but nowhere as good as the La Quinta in St George had been. I had a shower and then drove over to the Safeway on Horizon and bought some ice cream, ready meals and fruit for dinner quite late at 22:46.

Kokopelli Trails - HorseThief Bench - Click to Enlarge

Day 14