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Kane Creek Trail Report #EJS2019

Posted in Events on April 24, 2019
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A sunny and blustery morning greeted an excited group of Jeepers in Moab for the 12th Annual Dynatrac Bunny Run; co-sponsors of this year’s event were Bestop and Falken Tires. The trail selected to challenge the group was the 7-rated Kane Creek trail. The moderate-sized group was up for any challenges that lay ahead.

Getting to the start of the Kane Creek trail isn’t for those squeamish about shelf roads; the 11-mile trek from downtown Moab takes you through a picturesque canyon along the Colorado River, climbing ever higher to the turnoff for the trail. The trail starts in a wide basin where the views of the red rimrock makes one wonder what early settlers thought when first gazing upon this land. The dirt track twists and turns through the dusty plain, inching ever closer to Kane Springs Canyon (the official name of the area). The first optional obstacle is a deep gully that offers a bypass, and next up Jeepers have a tight pinch area to navigate between a large boulder and a jagged rock next to the hillside—having a good spotter is essential to prevent body damage.

The trail meanders along the canyon bottom, crossing the creek more than 50 times. During wet weather the water may be deep in places and some areas can be impassable; scan the weather forecast, as flash flooding is common on this trail. Watch for areas of quicksand; having another rig or two with you is a wise decision. If you are worried about your paintjob, this isn’t the run for you, as the trail is lined with shrubbery just waiting to add some pinstriping to your Jeep.

As you continue up the canyon it narrows considerably, and wheelers are forced to decide—either turn back or tackle “Hamburger Hill.” This section of Kane Creek is what draws Jeepers who want to test their skills, their rigs, and the limits of their acrophobia. This section of trail is ever changing due to use and erosion, and the trail rating can change from year to year. The first challenge is a rock ledge; a permanent winch point has been installed on this obstacle for those not wanting to try the bypass. The bypass is far more heart stopping than the undercut ledge, as it requires slow, careful navigation on the edge of the cliff around a large rock. The route continues along the bumpy shelf road to Muleshoe Canyon, where you face a tough rock ledge after a creek crossing; this is a challenge on wet tires. The trail climbs through the upper canyon with a few more obstacles and finishes on the plateau just south of Hole in the Rock.

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