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Thread: The Spur

  1. #1

    The Spur

    I was feeling lethargic this past weekend and on Saturday, after doing very little all day, I half-heartedly made plans to drive to the end of the Spur the following day. The Spur is a long, narrow strip of land bordered by Horseshoe Canyon on the west and the Green River and Millard Canyon on the east. These deep canyon drainages converge at the north end of the Spur and create a formidable barrier that is only penetrated by a single road from the south. I didn't even set my alarm clock. I figured that if the trip was meant to happen I would be awake in time on Sunday morning to prepare and leave town. At 6:37AM I was wide awake and ready to make it happen.

    After eating breakfast, drinking coffee, readying my camera and GPS, packing food and drink for me and the dogs, and fueling up the Jeep, I was on the road by 8:00. I topped off the fuel in Green River and reset the odometer when I hit the gravel road leading south toward Hans Flat. I had been on the San Rafael Desert road many times, but only twice have I been past the Hans Flat ranger station: once on the way to the Maze in 2012 and again later that same year on the way to descend the High Spur slot canyon. This time I had two dogs in the Jeep and I wasn't inclined to stop at the ranger station and potentially be denied access to the BLM land just beyond the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area land. It looked like nobody was home when I rolled past the ranger station, and a short distance beyond it became clear that nobody had been down the Spur road since before the last snow storm sometime late last year.

    Humorous sign on the way to Hans Flat

    Sloppy road that was frozen during the drive in

    Breaking trail through the snow just north of Hans Flat ranger station

    Descending from Hans Flat onto the Spur

    I actually had a hike planned out, but when I got to the starting point it was evident that I didn't have enough time to hike, let alone get back to Green River before dark. I stopped briefly several times to take photos and took quite a few from the Jeep. Once I passed the boundary from GCNRA to BLM land, I stopped to let the dogs run around a bit.

    Cleopatra's Chair across Millard Canyon

    Wild burro

    Millard Canyon

    Lower Millard Canyon

    The La Sal Mountains over canyon country

    The road across High Spur

    Formations on the rim of Millard Canyon

    Glen Canyon National Recreation Area boundary

    Letting the puppies run now that we're back on BLM land

    I'd seen a few distant rock outcroppings that looked like they would have attracted cowboys or sheepherders to scratch their names into the cliffs, but eventually the road passed right by one such outcropping and I stopped to examine the rocks. I found that George Larsen had apparently been there many times and left several nice cursive inscriptions. Antonio Romero was also there in 1926 (though my photos of his name didn't turn out well).

    Sign pointing to Horseshoe Canyon road and Tidwell Ranch

    View over Low Spur

    Low Spur, Horsethief Canyon, Labyrinth Canyon, and the La Sal Mountains

    Irresistable rock outcropping that I had to examine

    George Larsen, Feb 12, 9

    The road got rougher the farther along I got, but I made it to the end in 2WD. There was a lonely geocache at the end of the road which I found easily, then I took a few photos and began the return trip. In this case it really was more about the journey than the destination!

    Flat terrain near the end of the Spur

    The final stretch of road before reaching the end of the Spur

    Road ends ahead 1 mi

    End of the road on the Spur

    Panorama from the end of the road

    Green River at Cottonwood Bottom

    The La Sals over Mineral Point

    The Book Cliffs through the haze

    During the drive out I had to shift into 4WD for one very short uphill section of snow-covered road. I'd seen a solo wild burro while driving in, and on the way out I saw several more. I passed the ranger station and this time there was a Park Service Jeep there but, not being obliged to stop, I blew on past again. The sun slipped behind the horizon before I got back to the San Rafael Desert road and it was fully dark when I got back to the pavement near Green River. I'd spent nine hours and 179.9 miles on dirt roads. It was a decent sightseeing trip, but not something I would do again without spending at least a couple of nights and exploring more of the area on foot.

    Rear-view of the Spur road

    Henry Mountains

    View across Low Spur

    Wild burros

    Wild burros

    I laughed at my wife when she washed the Jeep last week. Now she knows why.

    Sunset over the Flat Tops

    179.9 miles on the trip odometer, all on dirt roads

    Full photo gallery:

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  4. #2
    Great trip. I have looked at this road before and I would like to drive it. I also believe it takes more than a day to do right. On google earth just north of the end of the spur I found a road or trail that goes down a canyon to the river Looks like 4 wheelers did it. Have you ever been there or want to go there. I would love to someday. I envy you that you live close to this country I have to drive 3 hours just to get to price.

  5. #3
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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  6. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by chaos View Post
    On google earth just north of the end of the spur I found a road or trail that goes down a canyon to the river Looks like 4 wheelers did it. Have you ever been there or want to go there.
    It looks like maybe that's the road in Hell Roaring Canyon? I'll definitely be going there someday, probably this year. There's the Denis Julien inscription at the mouth of the canyon that I'd like to see, and it's accessed from the Mineral Bottom road which, if I float the Green River this year, will be my takeout spot.
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