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TRAIL HAPPENINGS May 2012

Got a Horse? Try Tombstone
Story and photos by Richard Coffinberry


If you’ve got a horse, visit Tombstone Rock, northwest of Moab. Several great rides start at Tombstone Rock and many other great rides exist within several miles: Spring Canyon Point Overlook, Bartlett Canyon, Hidden Canyon, Tusher Canyon, Mill Canyon, Monitor & Merrimac and The Old Stage Coach ruins.

Getting to Tombstone: Take 313 West from Highway 191, the turnoff for Tombstone will be about 8.5 miles on the right at Spring Canyon Bottom Road, but the only sign there says Lone Mesa Campground. Exit 313 and follow the road 1.5 miles, turn right on Dubinky Well Road. Follow Dubinky for about 4 miles, then turn left on Spring Canyon Point Road, also known as the Secret Spire (SS) Road. Tombstone Rock is another 3 miles. No water or other amenities are available at Tombstone.

Unammed Photo from authorTombstone Rock gives you the best access to Needles loop, Secret Spire, Dellenbaugh
Tunnel, Dubinky Well, and Spring Canyon Point overlook (11 miles one way). The other routes are 3–4 hours total riding each. This area is used for the Moab Canyons Endurance Ride, to be held October 18-20 in 2012.
You can also park or camp close to 313. The Lone Mesa group campground can be reserved through the BLM in Moab.
A nice campsite also exists on a hill just before the turn onto the Dubinky Well road.

From here, you can ride the east side of Bartlett Canyon or south along some cliffs to Wipe Out Hill, which is popular with Jeeps. If you are an experienced horseperson, you can walk (recommended) or ride your horse up Wipe Out Hill and get to the backside of Merrimac Butte and continue on to either Tusher Canyon or Mill Canyon, or go east to Uranium Arch. If you ride through Tusher Canyon, you can loop back through Bartlett Canyon and return to the Lone Mesa campground. This ride will be around 20 or more miles.

Unnamed Photo from AuthorAnother area you can park or camp is the Mill Canyon Road/Cotter Mine Road access. Exit 191 onto Mill Canyon Road about 1 mile south of the airport, and park about 1 mile in. Mill Canyon Road gives you the easiest access to Bartlett Canyon, The Pickle, Tusher Canyon, Tusher Tunnel, Mill Canyon, and the Old Stage Halfway ruins route to Monitor & Merrimac.
Many of the trails in this area are shared with off-road vehicles, and some are just hiking and singletrack mountain bike trails. All users that we have met have showed respect for our horses, and we always exit the roads and trails to allow for safe passage of all.

My favorite trails are the canyon trails; Mill Canyon, Tusher Canyon, Old Stage Coach Halfway Canyon, Bartlett Canyon, Hidden Canyon, and the Pickle. These canyons usually have some water, but not always. If you are near Tombstone, the closest water is Bartlett. Pickle Canyon is a short but nice slot canyon, just narrow enough to be interesting and safe to ride.

It has three ledges where most riders should get off and walk their horses for safety’s sake. The Pickle can be found by riding southwest from the Bartlett Wash campground along the Bartlett Road until you come to a right turn at the “Pickle” sign. After you exit Pickle Canyon, you can turn right to Hidden Canyon or left to the Bartlett Wash Road.
Signed Jeep routes in the area are 3-D, SS (Secret Spire), CG (Crystal Geyser), WO (Wipe Out Hill), and MM (Monitor & Merrimac). The road names are Spring Canyon, Spring Canyon Point, Bartlett Canyon, Dubinky Well, Mill Canyon, Cotter Mine, and Dripping Spring.

Points of interest include Dellenbaugh Tunnel, Secret Spire, The Needles, Tombstone Rock. Dubinky Well, Monitor & Merrimac, and Determination Towers.

Depending on you and your horse, rides can be as short as 6 miles or on up to 20, 30, or 50 miles. All you have to do is plan what sections you want to ride and then combine them for length.

Helpful websites:
• http://www.discovermoab.com/horseback.htm (DiscoverMoab will have ride photos & maps starting in May.)
• http://www.utahmountainbiking.com/trails/monitor.htm
• http://www.moabendurance.com/


Richard Coffinberry is a member of
Canyonlands Back Country Horseman, Canyonlands Rodeo Club, Grand County Trail Mix, and Grand County Search and Rescue.
He has been riding the Moab area since moving here in 2009 with his horses Outlaw and Dundee.


 
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