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Thread: Saucer Basin and Bull Hollow via Mountain Bike

  1. #1

    Saucer Basin and Bull Hollow via Mountain Bike

    Last weekend I took to the San Rafael Desert and did some mountain biking. I'd recently watched this video of biking at Saucer Basin and seen some photos of people riding near Bull Hollow, and I set out to ride in both areas myself. Saucer Basin was a lot of fun. I parked on the side of a nice graded dirt road and started riding the slickrock right from the truck. It had rained a lot in recent days and I found several pools full of water. The riding was smooth and flowing, and routefinding around bowls of sand and cracks in the sandstone was fairly easy. I rode to the west along a fin of sandstone to a point overlooking the upper drainage of Moonshine Wash just above where it becomes a slot canyon. I returned east then rode north to a local high point in the slickrock. The terrain became jointed and eventually I had to ditch the bike and hike for a while to reach the high point. On my way back toward the truck I wandered around a bit and explored the slickrock more by bike. I returned to the truck after almost three hours of riding and ate lunch, then moved along toward Bull Hollow.

    Parked on the slickrock near Saucer Basin

    Slickrock with Saucer Basin looking unusually green in the distance

    One of several pools in the slickrock

    Another large pool

    Old cairn and post

    This was steeper than it looks--I tried to stop and kept skidding downhill

    End of a sandstone fin

    View over Moonshine Wash toward Gruver's Mesa

    Saucer Basin slickrock

    Colorful chert that was everywhere

    Near the high point of the slickrock

    View north from the high point

    Possibly the only tree for miles around

    Drainage leading into Saucer Basin

    On the way to Bull Hollow I detoured to check out what looked like a dam in Google Earth. Before I started hiking I waited out a storm that was on the far side of Keg Spring Canyon and looked like it was moving in my direction, but after about 30 minutes it was clear that the storm would miss me. It was a short hike and I actually found two dams there. The first I encountered was an earthen dam with a basin that had been blasted out of the sandstone. The second (which I'd seen in Google Earth) looked like concrete, but after a closer look I realized it was some sort of concrete/styrofoam mix.

    Parked on a knoll south of Bull Hollow

    Storm to the east

    Fluffy clouds to the west

    Hiking out to two strange dams

    Reservoir that was blasted out of the sandstone, with an earthen dam

    Another reservoir with a styrofoam and concrete dam

    Styrofoam and concrete dam

    Blast marks

    Interesting green and yellow chert

    With my curiosity satisfied, I headed back to the truck and moved along to the Bull Hollow area. That turned out not to be as fun as riding Saucer Basin. The sandstone was rougher and there were more joints and sandy areas within the sandstone that made riding and routefinding difficult. I ended up following an old road for much of the distance as I made my way to an overlook of the Green River in Labyrinth Canyon. Despite the riding not being as fun, the views more than made up for it. I spent about two and a half hours riding to and from the rim of Labyrinth Canyon.

    Riding the slickrock around the head of Bull Hollow

    View into Bull Hollow

    Across the slickrock, nearing Labyrinth Canyon

    Rim of Labyrinth Canyon

    Green River panorama

    Nearby Entrada Sandstone formations with the Book Cliffs and Mt. Elliott in the distance

    Navajo layers

    Riding along an old road

    While driving home I stopped at Chaffin Ranch and checked out a cistern that I'd never noticed on my several previous trips there. It was fully lined in concrete and had a ceiling made of steel and wood beams topped with concrete. Inside were quite a few dead rabbits that I can only imagine ended up there accidentally. The geyser at the ranch wasn't erupting, though I took some photos of the interesting textures and colors in the minerals there.

    Cistern at Chaffin Ranch

    Roof detail

    Dead rabbits in the cistern

    Chaffin Geyser mineral textures

    Chaffin Geyser mineral textures

    Chaffin Geyser mineral textures

    Chaffin Geyser mineral textures

    Chaffin Geyser mineral textures

    Photo Gallery: Saucer Basin and Bull Hollow via Mountain Bike
    GPS Tracklog and Photo Waypoints:
    [Google Earth .KMZ] [Google Maps] [Gmap4 Topo]
    Blog | FB

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  4. #2
    Awesome report! Will have to ride out there some day.

    Sent from my SPH-L900 using Tapatalk

  5. #3
    Cool, looks like a lot of potential for rides out there. So how was it to navigate, was there an established trail, any cairns? Could you see any tire marks to follow, or would you pretty much just pick a point in the distance and make your way to it?

  6. #4
    Navigation was pretty easy because the terrain doesn't vary a lot in height. You can just pick a point in the distance and ride there without a lot of difficulty. It sounds like some locals have a route they want BLM approval for, so maybe at some point there will be a trail/route with painted lines. I didn't see many tracks except right near where I parked, which is the most logical starting point close to the road. Saw a couple of random cairns but they didn't appear to mark a route.
    Blog | FB

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