Since northern California is an area where neither of us have spent time, and we ultimately wanted to start making our way north for the summer, we decided to spend a few weeks exploring northern California on our way to Oregon/Washington/Idaho. As always with our lifestyle, our timeline also gets dictated by work, so although we explored Mammoth, Tahoe, Sierra Buttes, Lassen National park and Sha...
Blake’s family came to visit us in St. George for a week of camping and riding in the Sand Mountain OHV area in the end of April. We headed into St. George from Kanab to restock the rig and get a head start on finding a good camp spot since we’d be staying for 6 nights in one spot. We wanted a good spot that also had cell signal, because the service is generally pretty bad in this area, but we were hoping it would be better since we’ve both gotten new phones since we were last here. Plus it was crowded on a Friday night and we came in after dark which we don’t normally like to do. We ended up finding a basic spot for the night for us and in the morning we drove up and down Werner Valley Road for an hour trying to decide where to camp with the family, and settled on a spot with some fun rock formations and 1 bar of intermittent LTE, which was the best we could get anyway. Blake’s family arrived just in time for a beautiful sunset that night. The only problem with the camp site was it was right next to some cow troughs, so there were thousands of cow pies everywhere, and we were hoping that their dog wouldn’t get into them. Luckily all the piles were old and rock hard and the dog completely ignored them. Our friend Nobu also came to visit with his dog and she was a bit more interested in straight up swimming in the trough!
Right before coming to visit, Blake’s brother, Clinton, found metal in the oil of this dirt bike and didn’t have time to investigate or fix the issue, so he brought his tiny pit bike out instead and planned to just hang out around camp or take turns in the RZR that their mom brought. This was okay because Blake was still recovering from his shoulder injury so we planned for some easier and shorter rides. Clinton brought the pit bike out on the first day and it ended up being hardier than he thought and we did a 30 mile first day riding up on top of the mesa, including rock crawling and sand dunes. We thought his bike was going to break down each day, but he kept pushing it every day so we were able to still hit some trails like normal. Obviously it struggled in some of the sand and steep inclines, but at some points he was still faster than me since I’m such a slow poke. It was quite hilarious to see what the pit bike could get through each day though. We did a mix of rock crawling, single track, and some scenic roads. This is one of our favorite riding areas so we had a really good week with family visiting.
On the second to last day of the trip we packed up from our camp spot and drove to Sand Hollow State Park to hang out on the lake for the day. We got out our Kokopelli packrafts, and Blake’s mom had a new SUP that she was trying for the first time! The water temperature was perfect compared to the hot air temp and the state park has such a beautiful backdrop overlooking the Red Cliffs Conservation area. Clinton’s dog doesn’t normally like water, and even she was having a blast playing in the lake.
After the park we drove north to La Verkin and camped underneath the Hurricane Mesa in a BLM area that is pretty packed with other campers because it’s a great spot for camping before going into Zion. It’s a big dirt parking lot full of questionable vehicles and other full -timers and everyone just parks right there next to each other. The road can get rough, but if you are willing to drive a bit further, you can get all the way out to the canyon rim above of the Virgin River and away from everyone else. Even though we were only there for one night we felt like this was definitely worth the extra time to get a good camp spot. We came here because the next day we wanted to ride one more trail to this beautiful waterfall.
This used to be a pretty hidden spot in southern Utah, but lately has blown up. What people may not realize is there’s actually 3 different ways to get here. There is a 6 mile dirt road that a Subaru could make it on that most people take, but there’s also a 10 mile single track full of flowy turns and tons of exposure on the high up cliffs of the mesa. The third route is an OHV trail that has over 30 water crossings through the La Verkin creek. So Blake, his brother and I took the dirt bikes up the single track while Blake’s mom took the RZR up the dirt road. We met at the falls and all took the water crossing route back to camp. We did this same loop last year in April and the water was about 3 feet higher than this year and some of those water crossings got really spicy. Last year we had to fully commit to just being soaked with our boots full of water and we almost put a couple bikes down in the river. This year the water was so much lower which made it way easier to get through all the water crossings. At a couple points the RZR had to drive fully in the river. There is one spot that if you aren’t careful could swallow a bike, and we only knew this because of watching Youtube videos. Last year, this spot was hidden under the river but we knew to look for it, but this year it was actually visible and we knew to avoid it. Nobody got soaked, and nobody sank a bike, so it was much less eventful, but still a successful and enjoyable ride. The trees in the canyon were perfectly green and it was the perfect temperature, and a perfect way to end the trip.