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  1. #1
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    Vernal Recs?

    I'll be in Vernal the next 5 or 6 days with the Missus. Hoping the Homers have some intel to pass on, so the Sultan and Flux will find some fun.

    Also open to some group riding, if anybody else is in the neighborhood.

    Thanks!
    Whining is not a strategy.

  2. #2
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    Altitude Cycle in town has the low down and maps of much of the great riding. I was there for 4 days a year ago in early June. It's probably still a bit cold now.

    You can primitive camp a few miles west out of town in McCoy Flats area. The Altitude guys built a singletrack trail network, from easy smooth ride loops to very sketchy rock climbs and drops and catwalk, looping from an old coral in the center of McCoy Flats. It would be hard to ride all the McCoy Flat trails in one day.

    There's a Gooseberry-like slickrock moderate climb to downhill loop north of town. You'd probably need a guide to find where it starts through some trees off a jeep road. They keep the start of the single track camouflaged to hide it from motorcycles. I hooked up with a regular Wednesday night group ride with some locals referred by the shop. That ride was about a 4 mile, mostly low middle ring climb up a jeep road to the singletrack, and very spectacular mostly slickrock and boulder winding ride back down. It took almost 2 hours to cover about 11 miles with a couple of view breaks.

    There's a stream-bed latter and gaps jump trail near some longer easier surface loops further north out of town.

    Altitude has maps for all these places except the slickrock trail.

    The locals say there are a few clans of local trail builders and some separatist rivalry, and they all continue building more trail in the area.

    Vernal is dinosaur country. There's a great Utah state sponsored museum in town that is a must visit if you like geology and fossils. Kids love it too. There's life size dinosaur models everywhere.

    If you have time and are going to Moab after, drive east not to far and then due south into Fruita. It climbs really high over a spectacular high altitude pass and unwinds straight south to Fruita. The drive to or from SLC is spectacular too.
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    Last edited by derby; 04-22-2010 at 08:51 PM.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo
    I'll be in Vernal the next 5 or 6 days with the Missus. Hoping the Homers have some intel to pass on, so the Sultan and Flux will find some fun.

    Also open to some group riding, if anybody else is in the neighborhood.

    Thanks!
    Except for the rain we had all last night and part of this morning, the weather's perfect, not cold at all.

    Red Mountain and Rojo are awesome right now. The trail down the backside is still muddy.

    McCoy Flats Area is awesome and good to go. As is Handsome Cabin Boy and the Red Fleet area.

    Haven't ridden much of the Springfield area this year, but I'm sure it's good. I hear the Flume Trail is good to go.

    Check out the Utah forum on here,

    Here's part of a PM I sent someone a few weeks ago:

    Camping: You can camp anywhere at the McCoy Flats area. There's no water or toilets and no shade; build your own fire pit. People do it if they want to be real close to the riding.

    If it were me, I would camp up Dry Fork Canyon. It's shaded and feels more woodsy up there. If you go to Massey's Meadow, there's a toilet there. No water, but the runoff might be going and you could get water from that. It'd be close by the Flume Trail (not sure how much of that would be ridable due to winter runoff). This would be about 15 minutes from Red Mountain 20 minutes from Springfield area and 25-30 minutes from Red Fleet.

    Or you could camp at Steinaker Resevoir (or Red Fleet Resevoir), it'll cost money but it has toilets and water. That would be close to the Red Fleet riding area, about 10-15 minutes from Red Mountain and 20-25 minutes from McCoy Flats and the same from the Springfield area.

    Driving by Altitude Cycle, it looks like they do have water there in their parking lot. I assume it's working.

    Riding: All Mountain type stuff would be Red Mountain. There is a way to shuttle it, I've never done it so I couldn't tell you how. I think it's fun to climb it anyway. Lots of techy climbing. Halfway up it is the spur to Rojo, my favorite trail; techy singletrack. I think it's about 3 miles long in all but it always takes me about an hour to do the whole thing due to the climb to it and then then techy stuff. To find the spur, always keep to your left when climbing and look for a little rock cairn (the cairn isn't there anymore). The start of the trail is hidden to keep 4-wheelers off it.

    The ladders and jumps are across from the "parking area" of the Red Fleet trails. I've never seen it so I can't tell you much about it. I assume it's still there. BLM is not happy about it so it may not be.

    Flowy singletrack: McCoy Flats is the funnest, imo, due to the rocks. My recommendation is do Jackelope, More Hoes, first part of Retail, Slippery When Wet, second part of Retail, then Fire Sale. More Pimps is kinda boring but it does have a big boulder you could play on if interested.

    Springfield area is fun. It's relatively new and doesn't get a lot of traffic. Mr. Burns is my favorite trail but it was hard to find even in the summer last year due to not being ridden enough. I wouldn't be surprised if the trail is almost impossible to find in spots.

    The Springfield area has few rocks while the McCoy Flats has more. An xc bike is fine for both.

    Another fun trail is in Roosevelt (30 mins west of Vernal). It's called Far Side or Carnage. It's kinda a slow speed techy trail it has a lot of places that people who like to jump and play could have fun with. The problem is that it's only one trail and it's 30 minutes away. It'd be my favorite if it was closer.
    Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see!

  4. #4
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    Thanks for the info. We've been riding in Vernal for 2 days now. Camping at Steinaker in our little trailer. The park isn't "open", but it's ok to camp, and power and water are on, and the place is nearly empty. Very nice.

    Been riding McCoy Flats loops. I don't know if I've ever been somewhere that has so many fun easy trails to ride with my wife, AND some slightly more advanced stuff for afternoon solo rides. Very cool, and no people, and NO COW HOOF DENTS ON THE TRAILS.

    Going to try Red Fleet trails today. If those don't suit Mrs. Kosmo, we'll head up towards Dry Fork. Will post back when we return home from the journey!
    Whining is not a strategy.

  5. #5
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    OK, here is the final quickie report on Vernal (no Tscheezy-level photos, unfortunately):

    1. McCoy Flats Area: Fantastic, flowy xc riding, from beginner to expert. Think Fruita's Road 18 trails, but more mileage, narrower trails, and more advanced options. Much better scenery than you would guess, when pulling into the parking area. No people. No cows or hoof dents in the trail.

    2. Red Fleet Area: Two fantastic intermediate trails. Did not get a chance to ride the expert loop "Cabin Boy". Great scenery. No people. Some cow denting of the trails, but pretty insignificant.

    3. Dry Fork Trail: Fairly rocky, challenging xc trail for the first half, then pretty easy. Not that long, but superb scenery in the canyon portion of the trail. A woodsy, non-desert experience, very different from the other riding we found in the area. My wife loved Vernal riding, but absolutely hated the "Hard 100" portion of this trail.

    4. Can You Moo: Has promise, but does not appear to get ridden AT ALL. We put "first tracks" on this trail 5 days after a rain event. It is supposed to be a loop, but the trail petered out at the 5 mile point at a fenceline, so we backtracked, since it was a driving day, and time was limited. Anybody know the story on this trail?

    We camped in our trailer at the Steinaker Reservoir State Park. It was nice, and nearly empty, since it doesn't officially open until May. Power and water were on at the hookup sites, anyway, so that suited us fine.
    Whining is not a strategy.

  6. #6
    JMH
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    I might head out to Vernal again this year after my first trip in 08. When I was there, the McCoy flats area still felt new, still quite a bit of soft sand, there were sections that seemed like they just hadn't been ridden enough.

    Red Mountain was fantastic, even with the nasty hike up the backside in the muck (it wasn't quite ready yet). The descent was insane, think Porcupine Rim but with more ledges and less climbing.

    It sounds like everything might be pretty dialed now, good to hear the positive reports.

    Pics here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/9169486...7604647165422/

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kosmo
    4. Can You Moo: Has promise, but does not appear to get ridden AT ALL. We put "first tracks" on this trail 5 days after a rain event. It is supposed to be a loop, but the trail petered out at the 5 mile point at a fenceline, so we backtracked, since it was a driving day, and time was limited. Anybody know the story on this trail?
    The Moo area was washed out a couple of years ago in heavy rains and really hasn't been rebuilt since. On top of that, the cows destroy it almost every year anyway. It did have several fun trails. C'est La Moo (I believe) is the only one left that people ride and you access it over on the other side by the Jensen trails.
    Nothing but sincerity as far as the eye can see!

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