10 response to "Road Trip Utah: Potash Road"

  1. By: Scooter Posted: May 5, 2022

    Another great post, Bill. We’ve ridden out Potash Road from Moab to the end of the pavement, which is a wonderful ride too – you of course drove that way to get in. And we looked down on this road from above (iconic Dead Horse Point, where Thelma and Louise went airborne). I’d love to ride down on that plateau too though. Thanks for taking us there.

    And good job not going over the cliff when you fell!

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: May 6, 2022

      You hit it all right on the nose.

      I didn’t mention that much of the ending of Thelma and Louise was filmed at Dead Horse Point State Park, which is located on the high plateau looming far above Potash Road. The very final shot of the movie certainly matches the view from Potash Road, but when you understand the surrounding terrain you realize there is no way a car could actually be airborne like that at that spot, no matter where it started, not even falling from Dead Horse. But cinematic magic makes it looks very dramatic!

      And the paved part of Potash Road (Rte 279) from US 191 (the intersection is a couple miles north of Moab) to the end of pavement at the public boat launch is very nice. High cliffs on one side and right beside (and at the same level as) the Colorado River on the other side. It can be kind of busy because of all the climbers on the sheer rock walls, people putting rafts into the river, hikers at various trailheads, at least two campgrounds along the way, and access to Native American petroglyphs. An extremely outdoorsy area in the middle of Moab’s outdoorsy Mecca.

      When you get to the public boat launch (parking lot, restrooms), the pavement ends and from that point you need a suitable bike or 4WD/AWD vehicle. Potash Road immediately starts up to higher ground with a rough road. I considered parking at the boat launch and starting the ride from there, but I’m glad I drove up that rough climb.

      For those younger, fitter, and crazier than I am, I understand a challenging loop is to start in Moab, pedal north, turn left on Rte 313, enter Canyonlands, kamikaze down Shafer Canyon Road (Greg and his buddy drove that), then pick up Potash Road and pedal back to Moab. I doubt if I try that by bike any time soon. 😉

  2. By: gregblood Posted: May 5, 2022

    Yeah, it was the wind’s fault. Good one.

    Quite a number of years ago, I had the good fortune of switchbacking down the Schafer Canyon Road in my buddy’s 4-wheel drive Toyota from the top of Canyonlands N.P. In a few spots, his small truck was barely up to the task. Just past the turn off for the rest of the White Rim, we set up camp at a backcountry site we had reserved at the National Park visitor center. We still agree that it was one of the two or three best campsites ever (and we’ve been to a lot of great ones.) We were younger then, and despite the many beers, we were able to stay awake pretty much all night to see the sunset, the moon rise, and the moon set. We missed the sunrise though. Next time we meet, I’ll have to show you the incredible pictures we took. Oh, you’ll love those old-school photos that were developed at the local Walgreens store.

    The next day we continued to the Potash Road. Those salt ponds were what I remember most about that drive.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: May 6, 2022

      Sounds like a spectacular expedition! We’re all heading to your place to see the photos!

      By the way, similar to those switchbacks, the Moki Dugway comes down from the high plateau to the western end of the road through Valley of the Gods. Zacharias, the bike packer I met in VG, had just come down that way. I think he was still shaking. 😉

  3. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: May 6, 2022

    What a fantastic trip and a great journal == one of those we wish would just keep on going and going.
    The photos are outstanding and calendar worthy.

    The gust of wind and subsequent crash is frightening to say the least!
    That could have ended very very badly.
    Just out of curiosity, did you get one of those emergency locater devices spoken of in an earlier journal?
    Looking forward to your next adventure!

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: May 6, 2022

      Thanks for the kind words, Rich. I wish I still had the stamina to keep going and going! The crash really surprised me. I knew it was a treacherous stretch of road (most of the road wasn’t nearly so bad), but I thought I was being extremely cautious. Guess I should have dismounted and walked. Fortunately, no damage to the Ogre and just a few minor scrapes on me, although my leg looked pretty dramatic. I sheepishly looked around to ensure no one saw me crash.

      I carried the Garmin emergency communications device my ace support crew insisted I purchase a couple of years ago. Doing so makes sense, and definitely makes her feel better. In this case, Potash Road was by no means busy, but there were enough SUVs and Jeeps and ATVs that I never felt like I was in the remote wilderness. In Valley of the Gods I think I had cell service the whole time.

      PS: I managed to crash a second time just as I was getting back to the Forester on Potash Road, but that was entirely my fault for trying to perform an acrobatic maneuver in celebration of my safe return. Ha! No damage except to my pride.

  4. By: Suzanne Posted: May 6, 2022

    Spectacular! Glad you didn’t completely lose control and that the scratches were minor!

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