Bikepacking Hey Joe Safari- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Bikepacking Hey Joe Safari

    Howdy! First time in this sub, and hopefully my first time out to the Moab area this year!

    My buddies want to do a bikepacking trip and have leaned into trying to plan the Hey Joe Safari (link below). The thought at the moment is to fly to Salt Lake, stay the night. Get up early and drive to a Moab bike shop (as they open) get rental bikes and hit the trail. From there, three days of riding and on a midnight flight back home.

    I have some concerns about this that I feel are rather significant.
    1. The distance: we are looking at up to 37 miles a day with no margin for getting out of the backcountry. Is this a good route choice? Would you recommend something else?

    2. Rental bikes: all the shops that I have looked at mostly carry 140mm trail bikes. I know that I would prefer a 29+ hard tail for efficiency, sand and frame bags. The best I am seeing is a SC tallboy with 120mm, which would likely be fine. Does anyone have equipment recommendations? Best rental shop?

    3. Tires: I have no concept of what tires to run on my 29er. I have 2.35 DHF/DHR on it at the moment and have 2.4 Ardents on the shelf. I have read that we are in for a mix of sand, mud, and slick rock. Any recommendations?

    4. Weather: We are planning for mid April. I am expecting 35-70F from night to day. We will be prepped with rain gear and cold gear.
    Should we expect large amounts of mud?

    https://bikepacking.com/routes/hey-joe-safari/

    I appreciate any input!
    Last edited by tims5377; 2 Weeks Ago at 12:30 PM.
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  2. #2
    Thin Man on a Fat bike
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    Most of that route is heavily trafficked at that time of year so it won稚 be too remote for aid if necessary. You can probably do it in two days so leaving a third open gives you time to do it in a relaxed manner. I would travel light, not bring much gear but extra water. Depending on snowmelt the Green will come up over the road down there and close access so that will be an issue you値l need to keep an eye on.
    I would highly recommend Double Down bike shop, they are closed now but call and talk to Dustin and he値l set you up with appropriate bikes for that ride, lotsa sand so you値l want wide tires........

  3. #3
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    I second the travel light suggestion, if for no other reason than the hike-a-bike scramble down into Hey Joe Canyon would be a bigger challenge with a heavily loaded bike. A lighter load will also make the Mag 7 stuff near the end more fun.

    Here we are scrambling up that hike-a-bike section that you will be going down at mile 52:
    Bikepacking Hey Joe Safari-pic2.jpg

    This is a photo from the top of the 800' climb you will have at mile 63:
    Bikepacking Hey Joe Safari-pic.jpg

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SAM313 View Post
    Most of that route is heavily trafficked at that time of year so it won稚 be too remote for aid if necessary. You can probably do it in two days so leaving a third open gives you time to do it in a relaxed manner. I would travel light, not bring much gear but extra water. Depending on snowmelt the Green will come up over the road down there and close access so that will be an issue you値l need to keep an eye on.
    I would highly recommend Double Down bike shop, they are closed now but call and talk to Dustin and he値l set you up with appropriate bikes for that ride, lotsa sand so you値l want wide tires........
    Does it become impassable? Are flash floods a concern?
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  5. #5
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    If it rains, you will be hating life. The adobe-type mud on some of that route sticks to everything, and is like riding on snot. It rains in April. Those photos look like Fall, which would be much less likely to have heavy rain.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by honkinunit View Post
    ...Those photos look like Fall, which would be much less likely to have heavy rain.
    I took the photos the first week of May in 2015 or 2016. I did get caught in an absolute downpour with tons of thunder and lightning on the ride back into town after that Hey Joe loop. Found myself hiding in the bike path tunnel under the highway near the Gemini Bridges parking lot while I waited for the thunder, rain, and wind to die down before riding the rest of the way back into Moab. Fortunately I was already on the pavement when the storm rolled it, so I didn't have to deal with the mud, but I was soaked to the bone.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by sgltrak View Post
    I took the photos the first week of May in 2015 or 2016. I did get caught in an absolute downpour with tons of thunder and lightning on the ride back into town after that Hey Joe loop. Found myself hiding in the bike path tunnel under the highway near the Gemini Bridges parking lot while I waited for the thunder, rain, and wind to die down before riding the rest of the way back into Moab. Fortunately I was already on the pavement when the storm rolled it, so I didn't have to deal with the mud, but I was soaked to the bone.
    I guess my seasonal sleuthing skills failed me!

    You are lucky you had made it back to pavement. When those huge rains hit out there, or if there has been a big snow that is melting fast, those roads are hell, regardless of what you are riding or driving, or even walking. I did an ill-advised driving loop of White Rim in November a few years ago, and it was all dry except for about five miles before and after Murphy's Hogback. Those ten miles were terrifying, and I was in a Jeep with brand new BF Goodrich Mud Terrains with lockers. I got out to scout ahead once and fell flat on my butt in that goo. I had that Jeep for three more years and *never* got the mud off of the exhaust, it literally hardened into a concrete casing on the pipes.

    I've had a couple of similar situations on motorcycles in the desert areas. That mud is crazy. You just have to hope you don't encounter one of those gully washers if you are out there riding.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by tims5377 View Post
    Does it become impassable? Are flash floods a concern?
    Depending on the river flow, yes it can become impassable. You can check the Island In The Sky website and if they have closed the White Rim trail then the bottom of Hey Joe is likely impassable too. There aren稚 really flash floods on the river but it can come up rapidly depending on what happens upriver. Mud/rain as mentioned are definitely a concern. I check the weather by the hour even for day rides because there can be drastic changes within short time periods. Just keep an eye on things, be flexible and maybe a plan B route and you値l be fine.

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