When you are living in a region that fully embraces 4 seasons, it is crucial to soak up as many fall weekends as possible by getting on your bike and out into the backcountry. We took a quick overnight casual bikepacking trip to do a section of the Kokopelli’s Trail right before Halloween, and although chilly, it was glorious. We camped out the night before the ride at the Dewey Bridge Campground off of highway 128. The Dewey Bridge is a half-way point on the route. After dialing in our rigs for the departure the next morning, we spent a very cold night camping next to the Colorado River. We did not want to head out too early in the morning because we figured it would be better to let the temperatures rise a bit before we started pedaling.

Kokopelli’s Trail Route

We woke up at 8:00am to find all of our belongings completely frosted over. We brushed frost off of our saddles and bike bags and ate some muffins while we waited for the sun to rise above the canyon wall to warm us. About an hour later, the sun hit our skin and everything started to instantly thaw. We changed into our cycling clothes, made final preparations, and off we were to climb the sandy Yellow Jacket Canyon. Due to work commitments, we had hoped to reach Loma by early afternoon the following day. The goal was to make it at least 50 miles on the first day. IMG_6669 Yellow Jacket warmed us up quickly, which was welcomed after our frosty night of sleep. After we finished the section of sandy doubletrack we reached the point where the trail crosses highway 128. The next section would be much faster, consisting of hilly gravel road riding through Cisco. This section is erie, it is such a barren landscape I am not sure who would ever want to live there. Needless to say, we didn’t expect to see a soul between Yellow Jacket and Westwater. We were wrong, we passed 4 dudes riding fat bikes. IMG_6693 We continued on through the flat road section along the railroad tracks at about 13 miles an hour all the way to the Westwater Rangers Station, where we traveled about a mile off route to fill up on water at the spigot. We had driven this road the night before when we were heading to Dewey to make sure that the spigot was on. It was really nice not to have to carry all of our water for the trip knowing we would have a chance to refill. At this time it was about 3:oopm, the sun was starting to lower and the breeze had kicked up a bit. It was time to keep pedaling. IMG_6710 We ascended the pavement to the trailhead and continued on towards Rabbit Valley. We figured we would probably stop somewhere in between Bitter Creek and Rabbit Valley to camp. The section between Westwater and Rabbit Valley consists of fun, ledgy, two track that never ends. It is fun, but when you’re legs are tired it can be daunting. We made it to mile 50 of our journey at around 6:30, right as the sun was setting. Hungry, chilly and tired, we whipped up some quick warm noodles and tuna for dinner and shared a Snickers bar for dessert. We set up our bivvys in the most beautiful location. A rock slab overlooking the Kokopelli’s Trail with the La Sal’s in the distance. The sunset was unbelievable. Anticipating another chilly night, we gathered some firewood and started a small fire. We hung around and drank our flask of Jack Daniels, enjoying the warm fire, before drifting off to sleep for the night. We woke up to the sunrise. Wow. That is all I have to say. The most beautiful sunrise I have witnessed – and all from the warm comfort of our bivvys.  We took it slow that morning and ate some Justin’s Stingers for breakfast while hydrating for the day. IMG_5182 We got back on route at around 9:00am and were in Rabbit Valley within the hour. We continued on from Rabbit Valley to the Salt Creek section – pushing out miles on gravel.  Once we reached the singletrack section of Salt Creek, we began to feel the presence of the finish, although we had a lot of work ahead of us. After a few technical hike-a-bike sections, and waiting by the train tracks for a while thinking we might get lucky and see a train, we reached the Troy Built and Mary’s Loop intersection. Strapped for time, we hopped on Troy Built leading us to the Mack Exit where we took the road to the Loma Trailhead. This was a great casual experience bikepacking a section of the Kokopelli’s Trail. In total we rode 75 miles of beautiful terrain. Doing only a section of the trail allowed us to make it a quick overnight, without having to bust out two huge days. Although the record for this trail stands at around 12 hours, we were looking for more of a relaxing experience and this was perfect. Riding this section also allowed us to resupply on water at Westwater and not have to carry the weight of two days worth of water which kept our bikes lighter.

One Comment

  1. Nice article and pictures. Great reminder that we don’t have to pursue the epic (or record) attempts on every outing. So many articles on doing this entire route at once, it was nice to read of a different way to approach this route. It made me think of other possibilities of how to shorten “epic” routes and trips.

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