Hurricane and Grand Staircase Escalante

Adventure Meets Enduro

rider on a motorcycle in a dry wash

Exploring a wash in Grand Staircase Escalante.

The plan was to meet outside Hurricane, UT for a week of enduro riding, followed by another week of exploration of the dirt roads of Grand Staircase Escalante. But first, I had to get to Hurricane. The bike was parked in San Diego for the winter, so that's where the trip started.

KLR is not made for intersates and they do not have much to offer in terms on riding. So I tried to use smaller roads as much as possible. For a significant portion of the ride through California and Arizona, that meant following the route 66.

motorcycle parked in an old-western town

Oatman - well-preserved old western town on route 66.

Old, rusty Ford car

Route 66 is all about automotive relics from the time long gone.

Motorcycle on a dirt road with towering mesa behind

The really fun riding starts after Page - Grand Staircase Escalante.

motorcycle parked near a cliff high above a lake with mesas in the distance

Mesa Romana - my favorite camping spot, unfortunately, overrun with people lately.

Sun setting behind mountains

The sunsets are still as beautiful as ever, regardless of the crowds.

Having ridden over a thousand miles, I was ready for some hiking. I tried lottery for a permit to the Wave on two consecutive days, but didn't get it. Over the years, as the number of people trying to get the permit increased, authorities kept reducing the number of available permits. Luckily, I visited the Wave when the regulations were more reasonable. Buckskin gulch requires a permit, but one does not have to win it on a lottery. This 12 mile slot canyon eventually meets Paria river. It is as picturesque as any slot canyon in the area but much longer. I hiked 8 miles in, not thinking about having to go back. By the time I returned, I was hugry, thirsty and tired but very content.

Colorful walls of a slot canyon

Buckskin gulch is hands down, the best long slot canyon around.

My friends and I camped on a cliff overlooking desert of Arizona and Utah. It was a great spot with virtually no people around. The area offers numerous riding opportunities, from dry washes to sand dunes.

Friends posing at the edge of a cliff

Finally met friends for a week or enduro riding outside Hurricane.

riding motorcycle on sand dunes

Playing on sand dunes outside Hurricane.

rider climbing steps in a desert wash

Exploring side canyons.

riding through a creek

Getting to Torquerville falls involves many creek crossings.

rider atop a steep climb

Going back from Troquerville falls on the Twister single track.

friends at a table eating

Well-deserved steak dinner after an exhausting day of riding.

sitting next to a motorcycle at the edge of a cliff

Just happy to be there.

After a week or riding near Hurricane, we were supposed to camp just outside Bryce Canyon. But a major cold front was about to blow through, so we decided to head south, towards Page. We set up the camp on Mesa Romana, high above Lake Powell. Every morning and evening we were rewarded with spectacular show of colors and light.

motorcycle parked on a dirt road with eroded hills behind

The road to Mesa Romana is spectacular in itself.

Sunrise over Lake Powell

Sunrise over Lake Powell.

Pastele colors of after-sunset at Lake Powell

Even after the sunset, mother nature's show goes on.

motorcycle rider high above lake powell

Grand Bench mesa, much more remote and harder to get to - no crowds here.

If one sticks to the paved roads, it's a long way from Page to Escalante. But there are direct, much more scenic and advneturous roads to take between the two. Smoky Mountain road and Croton roads being the best. Besides those roads, there are many tracks that criss-cross the national monument. Many dead end at a wash or edge of a mesa. Even when the dirt roads are relatively crowded, it is unlikely to encounter anyone on these dirt tracks.

Motorcycle parked on a dirt road with desert cliffs behind

Cottonwood canyon road.

Motorcycle parked at the edge of a mesa with desert valley behind

Edge of a mesa high above the Smoky Mountain road - nobody's been here for months.

After two weeks of enduro riding and exploring Grand Staircase Escalante on two wheels, it was time for some hiking. The town of Escalante is a popular base for hiking nearby slot canyons. Escalante Outfitters is a popular and convenient place to stay. They have great campground, fast Wi-Fi and their pizza is to die for.

Motorcycle parked on a dirt road with bright yellow cliffs behind

Exploring dirt roads of the Grand Staircase Escalante.

red and purple walls of a slot canyon

Zebra slot canyon - easily approached and very scenic slot canyon just outside Escalante.

a trail winding through a verdant canyon with steep walls

Upper Esalante canyon is another popular hike that starts at the edge of the town.

dead tree with canyon and cloudy sky behind

Mother Nature's art along the trail to Bighorn canyon.

long shadow in a canyon

Early morning start of the Little Death Hollow hike.

narrow passage through a slot canyon

Picturesque narrows of the Little Death Hollow canyon.

motorcycle parked at the edge of a mesa

Moki dugway is a cafe-racer's adventure ride.