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Trail HAPPENINGS February 2015

Jewel Tibbetts Arch Hiking Trail
by Sandy Freethey

Just a few miles from busy Utah Highway 313 is a spectacular arch in the head of Hell Roaring Canyon, the Jewell Tibbetts Arch. Despite its proximity to the highway, relatively few people visit this treasure, so it is a good place to avoid the crowds. The trail is fairly easy, but includes a few spots where maneuvering around rock obstacles occurs. Most of the trail winds through pinyon and juniper forest, with patches of black brush and cactus. The 2 mile hike is very scenic and the arch is quite dramatic.

Jewel Tibbetts Arch is named after a Moab-area woman who lived at the nearby Horsethief Ranch in the 1950’s and 1960’s with her husband, Bill Tibbetts. The Tibbetts’ often took ranch visitors to see the arch at the head of Hell Roaring Canyon. The arch is named after Jewel, in her honor. Read more about the life and times of Bill and Jewel Tibbetts in the book entitled; Last of the Robbers Roost Outlaws: Moab’s Bill Tibbetts, by Tom McCourt.

The Jewel Tibbetts Arch trailhead is accessed off Utah Highway 313 (the road to Dead Horse Point). Go approximately 9.5 miles up Highway 313. Turn right onto a dirt road, (this turn is located just prior to a cattle guard and a fence across Highway 313). There is a small BLM sign just after you make the turn. Proceed down the dirt road for 1.3 miles to a kiosk and parking area. Be sure to follow the arrows at route intersections to get to the parking area. The dirt road may require some vehicular clearance, but is a fairly good road. The Jewel Tibbetts Arch hiking trail starts from the parking area. Go through the pass-through in the fence and follow the dirt road, hiking south for a few hundred yards. Soon a sign directs you to leave the road and turn west down a dry slickrock wash. The recommended direction of travel is to walk the loop counter-clockwise, which is what you will be doing by turning right, entering the slickrock wash. You won’t be in the wash very long, so be alert watching for a sign that indicates an exit to the left, heading south again. The hiking trail meanders through arroyos and over low hills until you reach a trail junction marked by a sign that says, “Arch”, with a directional arrow. This trail spur leads you to the rim of the curiously-named Hell Roaring Canyon and to the view of Jewell Tibbetts Arch in the canyon.

The hiking trail is marked by cairns (small stacked piles of rocks) and a few posts with arrows. As you get closer to the rim of Hell Roaring Canyon and the view of Jewel Tibbetts Arch, be careful of steep drop-offs. After viewing the arch, return to the jct. sign, then continue the trail loop going to your right, counterclockwise. The trail goes gently up the hill behind the arch viewing area. The trail will take you back to the parking area on a higher ridge which affords views of the surrounding area.

Hell Roaring Canyon: When you reach the arch, you will be overlooking Hell Roaring Canyon. This canyon travels about 12 miles to the Green River. It does not have permanent water for most of the year, but it floods during severe rainstorms. These flashfloods carry a tremendous volume of water to the Green River. Hell Roaring Canyon has been formed through the endless forces of erosion, including the flooding that has repeatedly scoured the canyon over the ages.

Geology: Hell Roaring Canyon cuts through several layers of sandstone as it descends toward the Green River. The hiking trail is largely on the Kayenta Formation, which forms relatively flat surfaces. The cliff face in Hell Roaring Canyon is formed from Wingate Sandstone.

Hiking Safety Tips: Although the Jewel Tibbetts Arch Hiking Trail is a fairly easy two-mile walk, some simple concepts will ensure a safe trip:
• Watch for steep drop offs and cliff edges.
• Bring plenty of water, especially in summer (at least 2 quarts).
• Follow the route markings. If you lose track of them, return to the last marker and look hard for
the next one. Look for the stacked piles of rocks
called “cairns”.

Jewel Tibbetts Arch makes a wonderful excursion on its own. The hike can also be combined with a trip to Dead Horse Point State Park or to Canyonlands National Park. There are many wonderful sights to see along Utah Highway 313, the Dead Horse Mesa Scenic Byway.


“Du-ing” it the Moab Way!

Moab’s first annual Off-Road Duathlon will be on March 7th, 2015. The duathlon consists of an 8k (5 mile) trail run followed by a 13k (8 mile) mountain bike ride. Participants can race as a solo, where they ‘du’ both the run and the bike, or as a team where one person runs and then tag-off to their teams biker.

Moab has long been a destination for both runners and bikers for its stunning and unique scenery. In the past bikers and runners had to share the trails with motorized vehicles. A few years ago the Grand County Trail Mix began building superb trails for non-motorized use. They put Moab even higher on the “must-go” destination list for endurance athletes. The Off -
Road Duathlon is match made in heaven for these folks. The race features trails in the North Klondike area. Local race director and multisport athlete Danelle Ballengee expects to see the race growing quickly and potentially become a championship event.

The run course features the Dinosaur Stomping Ground Track; a foot-travel only trail that goes by an actual dinosaur track site. This trail combined with the ‘Mega-Steps Trail’ were built by Trail Mix and our local chapter Paleontology Members and the Sierra Club. The area is what paleontologists call the “Dinosaur Dance Floor”. We expect participant will enjoy “dancing” on this beautiful and unique trail! The bike course features the “Newab” or New-Moab style trails: super-fun singletrack mixed with slickrock, red dirt, and scenic views. This course has the scenery that has put Moab on the map combined with the superb new trails!

In conjunction with the duathlon there will be a “Spring Trail Run” with the option of either an 8k or Trail Half Marathon. The run course follows basically the same route as the duathlon. This scenic and fun trail race is a great way to start off the season.

Those interested in participating or volunteering are invited. Participants may find more info or sign up at www. Those interested in volunteering can call or email Nellie at 970-389-4838 or
A donation to a local non-profit of the volunteer’s choice will be made by the race on behalf of each volunteer.
Come on out and “Du it!”


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