Grand Confluence Circumnavigation

I’ve had this one as an idea since college, inspired by the first time I rode the White Rim, and this September is reserved for it to happen. Thus, I put up this summary for consideration and inspiration, in case anyone would want to join.

In summary, circumnavigate the confluence of the Green and Colorado, staying as close as possible to the rivers while staying on dirt roads and trails, starting and ending in Moab. You’d take Potash to the White Rim, the WR to Queen Anne’s bottom, cross the river in a small raft, ride through the Maze district, hike-a-bike down to Spanish Bottom, cross the river, hike up Red Canyon, ride through the Needles and finish up on Lackhart Basin and Kane Creek. The whole deal would entail 300-350 miles of riding, and would likely take 2-3 days.

I plan on September of this year for several reasons, first of which is that I need one of these:

The Alpacka raft. Five pounds, room enough in the larger versions for you, a pack, and a bike. Expensive, but purported to be very durable. I’ve had bad experiences with Wal-mart rafts.

The second of which is having a combination of good temps, long days, and low water in the river. All of which point to late September.

Water will obviously be problematic. You’ll have three, maybe four sources: the two river crossings, Indian Creek, and perhaps a spring in the Maze. There’s also the Needles visitor center. Lots of water to be carried the first day, one of the reasons why I’m inclined to start in the dark, and then try to do the ride in two days.

The most brutal section of the ride will be the twin hikes down to and up out of Spanish Bottom. The hike down on the west side I’ve never done, the hike on the east in Red Canyon is four miles, a good 1.5 of which is a rough trail up a very steep talus slope. I’ll need a good system to strap the bike to the pack.

My fitness should be rockin’ by then, so two rough 14 hour days in a row will not be out of the question.


7 responses to “Grand Confluence Circumnavigation”

  1. I am interested although not yet commited. Any chance we can do the trek with one raft and split camping gear? We’d be lighter and move faster and be able to allow for more water carrying ability.Timing is pretty good. There is one other 150 mile MTB race right in my backyard in Sept but I doubt I’d race it, just ride it for the adventure.With all the rivers I suppose water might not be too big a deal. The water might not be tasty but we wouldn’t dehydrate?

  2. Spliting camping gear would work very well, splitting the raft(s)is really not practical, because how would you get it back across? I presume you’re refering to the Zinger? I want to do that one too, again just for fun.

  3. A long rope prehapps?very very interesting….I’ve had my eyes on one of those rafts for over a year =)

  4. Worked a couple season on the Yampa and Green and *knew* a girl working at Deadhorse Point. So spent off time in that neck of the woods. I’ve used a 12 lb. k-mart raft to ferry me’n a bike and just me, but closer to upheavel dome. I got a hole the last time I did it so used the raft as a kick board for gear. I’m pretty sure you could get across with an air mattress and an inflated dry bag if you get some low flow. You’ll need a permit for the Maze portion, unless they’ve changed things and a port-o-crapper. I wouldn’t count on the spring too late in the season. Hard to hide on a bike as opposed to foot. This was before BLM officially made the trail (91-ish I’m guessing. I found the river guide pretty helpful.

  5. A friend and I also discussed this very endeavor years ago. I think if folks were travelling together, especially if you’re thinking more of a social ride, the raft choice might not be so important. At any rate, you’ve got my respect for thinking out loud about it.

  6. Sounds like an epic ride. This kind of trip would be one of my dream rides, even though it involves one or more river crossings and I am unfortunantly terrified of these rivers (I blame Cataract Canyon.) Not very practical for me this year, but … I can’t wait to read the eventual trip report.

  7. My thought was use the raft as a ferry. 1 person and one bike, go back, get the other bike, go get the other person. I’m not sure how long it takes to cross though so maybe that’s asking a lot more timewise? If you could fit one person and two bikes you could eliminate one of the trips.Just thinking out load. As with any trip like this, it’s not a race but a quicker pace is desireable. Less food and water requriements, less time off work.

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