BLOG

Adventure

Wheeling Utah Off-Road Trip!

Author: Brant Repman | Houseboat Operations & QHSE Supervisor Think of this for a moment.  All that is required to have the best off-road trip in Utah, is a decision to have an explorers’ journey.  Racing down burr trail watching the sand fly from the rear tires of your favourite off-road vehicle as you head toward a 100-foot slot canyon.  You marvel at the beauty of the wide-open blue skies and amazing obstacles that lay before you.  All the while temptations to climb rocks and hills tug at your inner heartstrings to be a courageous adventurer and explore one of the best areas for off-roading. Wheeling Utah has been one of the best experiences I have had.  Driving through the woods, climbing logs, cruising the beach in Maryland and Pennsylvania, nothing has beaten the vast wilderness of Utah. Taking off-road trips up to Mt. Hillers is one of my favourite rides.  While the cooler temperatures are one of the main draws to the mountain, the trail to get there is amazing.  Taking you through an old uranium mine, down a deep rocky wash, and on top of an enormous slot canyon by a cowboy camp, there are plenty of obstacles to please every level of off-road skills.  Once on the base of the mountain, you go from the open desert to tight turns and switchbacks leading you through trees and shade to give you a break from the radiating sun.  After making your way through the trees and winding trails you make it close to the summit of the mountain. The cooler temperatures are refreshing, the overview of Ticaboo is breathtaking and is easily one of my favourite rides that I would highly suggest to anyone wanting to go wheeling in Utah. As one of the best places in America to go for all off-roading enthusiasts, Utah simply does not disappoint.  Moab has one of the largest gatherings of Jeeps, side by side, trucks, four-wheelers, and any vehicle built for exploring some of the best trails in the area.  Every year thousands of off-roading enthusiasts gather in the state of Utah looking for another trail to conquer and obstacles to test their courage and skills.  Ticaboo is easily one of the best of these areas for explorers, offering tapestry walls, Geo cash boxes, mountains, rocks, and slot canyons, plus the beautiful lake Powell for when you just want to cool off in the country’s second-largest man-made lake.  Discover the beauty of Utah in your favourite off-road vehicle, exploring all the amazing challenges and scenery that are some of the best in the world.

Read More

October 29, 2020
Travel

Becoming an Explorer

I have been in the guided business for over 27 years, and to me, there is nothing more exhilarating than exploring. When I read the accounts of Shackleford, Hillary, Roosevelt, and Goodall, my wife knows a big trip is coming up. Before I finish the read, I am already excited and plotting the next place to go and what we’ll see and do. Imagine the early explorer’s who were faced with life and death situations. They had no guidebooks, no firsthand knowledge, and set the stage for exploration that we endeavour to pursue even to this day; however, with the mad rush of traffic and life’s chores upon us, many people can’t just take off and explore, so they are relegated to going places and doing things they find on TripAdvisor or The Travel Channel. Although we all find reward in whatever passion we pursue, there is nothing quite like breaking from tradition and becoming your own explorer. Utah is a perfect example of where to go to become your own explorer. This state is full of some of the most beautiful places on earth, and many of those places have become overwhelmed with traffic, which leads to most people feeling as if they haven’t explored anything at all. I recommend you break away and explore the areas that few have gone – you’ll see the same beauty, and you’ll learn something about the past cultures, natural history, and a little about yourself. Think of something that intrigues you. Perhaps the ancient civilizations of the “Anasazi” people? You can drive from Hite, Utah, to Blanding, Utah, and only see two signs on the highway alerting the general public to as many sites, and one is reconstructed. Did you know there were hundreds of really interesting sites along that highway that leads you to incredible structures built over 800 years ago? Rock art sites exist that will make you sit and ponder their meaning for hours. All you need to do is conjure the idea in your head of what you want to do, and a little research will steer you in the right direction. On a recent exploration trip, my wife and I decided to summit Black Table, one of the numerous peaks in the Henry Mountains. The Henrys have five major peaks, and they rarely get any traffic, so Black Table is not on anybody’s bucket list, but that is what exploring is all about. On our hike up, while following a little wash, I found a beautiful point that was chipped from purple agate. It wasn’t perfect, as two points were broken off, but it goes to show that no matter where you go, exploring on your own can find many treasures. To become a modern-day explorer, think about something that is of interest to you well in advance of your intended travel date. For example, I recently decided that I wanted to follow in Lewis & Clark’s footsteps through Montana. Next, try to get something that depicts the actual sites and sounds that the party found on their exploration, in this case, journals of the travels. Then, immerse yourself in the writings to make sure it is something you want to do, and if so, then you have a ground floor to build off of for your trip. Purchase a few guidebooks, check out the NPS and BLM websites for information, and begin planning your trip. You don’t have to know every aspect, otherwise, it really wouldn’t be exploring. Then, lastly, just do it! Modern-day exploration is easy if you put time into your travels. In other words, you can’t wait to the last minute and decide you want to go somewhere, and then expect good results. Begin planning your trip now for next year, read books about the areas, research sites and information, and follow your heart into the unknown. That is how the real explorer’s found fame and fortune, and you will, too! About the Author: Capt. Ray Golden is the president of  Ticaboo Management, LLC, Offshore Marina, Inc. and Lake Powell Adventures & Hite Outpost. Prior to his position with Ticaboo, he and his wife Amy left the office environment and started a whitewater rafting company in Costa Rica. They have since managed lodges, rafting companies and have owned successful fishing bait and tackle businesses in North Carolina and Georgia.

Read More

October 29, 2020
Adventure

The 8 Scenic Stops and Stretches at Burr Trail UTAH!

Author: Gail Newbold | Senior Editor | Zions Bank Community Magazine Utah's Burr Trail is a 67-mile scenic drive between Boulder and Bullfrog into some of Utah’s most beautiful and extraordinary country. You’ll see views of the Henry Mountains, the colourfully contorted Waterpocket Fold, red Circle Cliffs and Long Canyon. Along the way are numerous hikes and side trips. Visit https://www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/driving-the-burr-trail.htm for an excellent mile-by-mile guide. One evening after dinner at Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, my friends and I spontaneously ventured onto spectacular Utah's Burr Trail where we found ourselves sandwiched in by sheer walls of sandstone towering hundreds of feet above the road. Awestruck and exhilarated by the remote and mysterious beauty, we reluctantly turned the car around since night was falling. But I vowed to return someday and begin in the morning. I made good on that promise in the spring of this year, and in spite of an entire day on the trail, still left longing for more. Take my advice: Start early and stay late. The Utah's Burr Trail can be driven in as few as two hours without stopping, but I recommend channeling a New York subway — stop often even if for just a moment. And allow time for hiking and picnicking. This blog details my favorite stops and stretches of road. It doesn’t mention the countless times we pulled over to exclaim over a view or rock formation, or photograph a patch of flowers. And on this day in mid-May, we almost had the Utah's Burr Trail to ourselves. We’d stop in the middle of the road to snap a photo and never cause another driver to wait. Stop 1. Deer Creek Campground. After cruising slowly past gorgeous checkerboard sandstone sand dunes and a meandering roadside creek lined with lime-green cottonwood trees, we made our first stop at the Deer Creek Campground. We followed a babbling creek for awhile until my friend freaked at the sight of a snake and insisted we turn back. We weren’t hungry, but this would be a great spot for a picnic. Stop 2. Singing Canyon. Don’t be surprised to see a flautist or ad hoc choir in this easily accessible slot canyon with incredible acoustics. But you don’t need to be a musician to appreciate its beauty. Green foliage contrasts with colorful walls that soar to 80 feet. It’s shady and cool even in the summer and makes for an enticing picnic spot. Look for a small, unmarked paved pullout on the north (left) side of the road then simply walk into the canyon for about five minutes on a wide, flat trail. Stop 3. Long Canyon. About five miles further along the Burr Trail, we entered the narrow Long Canyon whose mystery and majesty so entranced us that evening years earlier. Its vertical multihued walls continue for seven magical miles. Be sure the notice the diadem — the golden sandstone crowning the red cliffs.. Just before stop four (below), you’ll see the turnoff onto the 28-mile Wolverine Loop Road, highly recommended but only if you have a high-clearance vehicle. You might be able to drive 10 or so miles to the Horse Canyon Trailhead(?) and hike far enough to see 120-foot tall trees, one with a 13-foot diameter trunk. Stop 4. Western Boundary of Capitol Reef National Park. One of the things that makes the Burr Trail so uniquely fascinating is that in just 67 miles it passes through _ ecosystems(??) After the sheer cliffs of Long Canyon, we drove through pinon forests, fields of wildflowers and eventually, views of the jagged west side of the Waterpocket Fold, Henry Mountains, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and the Circle Cliffs (about the halfway point on the road). Stop to drink it all in. Stop 5. Peek-a-Boo Arch. We nearly gasped at the beauty of the Peek-a-Boo Arch set off by the surrounding red rock and green underbrush in the foreground. Stop 6. Lower Muley Twist Canyon. Park just off the Utah's Burr Trail road and enjoy superb views to the east and a picnic area and trailhead to Lower Muley Twist Canyon on the west. Drop into the wash and hike for awhile, looking for geodes along the way. About a mile before Lower Muley is the junction into Upper Muley Twist Canyon — if you’re lucky enough to have a high-clearance vehicle. There are hiking trails, views and more arches. Stop 7. Scenic Switchbacks. Before embarking on this drive, I was only intimidated by one section of the road — the scenic switchbacks. I imagined us plunging or sliding to our deaths. Needless to say, I was happy and relieved to see that as long as I took it slowly, there would be no loss of life. And in fact, that section of road was one of my favorites. The views from the top look like a path through someone’s exotic Playdoh creation. You’d be hard pressed to find a view that surpassed this one anywhere in Utah. Stop 8. High Desert. Just weeks prior to driving the Burr Trail, I spent a few days exploring Utah’s West Desert. After the Utah's Burr Trail, I decided I preferred the high desert landscape on this portion of the road — though both deserts have their beauty. Or maybe it was just that Ray Golden, president of Lake Powell Adventures at Ticaboo Lodge, made this high desert so fun. He pointed out petroglyphs, arrowhead rocks, Indian rock chips, petrified wood (you’re allowed to cart out 25 pounds of it), colorful flowers and blooming yucca. We sped to the Halls Creek Overlook over 3 miles of rutted roads (off the main road) on Razors feeling both exhilarated and terrified. At the overlook, we soaked in views of the Brimhall Natural bridge — a beautiful double arch, the Waterpocket Fold, the Grand Gulch and the tempting but difficult Halls Creek Narrows hiking trail. Back in our car on the Burr Trail, we drove about 20 more miles before ending our delightful day at the Anasazi Restaurant at Bullfrog Marina. We enjoyed views of Lake Powell while eating chipotle mac and cheese, street corn salad and maple apple salmon while telling ourselves we’d start earlier and stay later next time around. And drive a high-clearance vehicle in order to explore more sights off the main road. The Bookends: Before and After the Burr Trail Assuming you take my advice and spend from dawn to dusk enjoying this fascinating part of Utah, you’re going to need someplace to sleep and eat on either end. We spent our first night at the Boulder Mountain Guest Ranch located about 3 miles off Highway 12 on a winding road through pinon pines and a few miles from the start of the Burr Trail. Co-owner Brandi Hardman took us on a tour of the 150-acre property, showing us where groups rent space for yoga retreats, weddings and concerts. We saw the organic garden, grass-fed cows and nature trail past beaver dams to a small waterfall. During the summer months, there are firepits, s’mores, yard games, bonfires, fishing and much more. We stayed in a beautiful spacious cabin with massive windows, full kitchen and decks for relaxing outdoors. Guests can rent cabins, rooms in the lodge or upscale tents and teepees. We dined at Sweetwater Kitchen, the on-site farm-to-table restaurant presided over by Chef Eric Arballo and his team. I’ve enjoyed few meals in my life as delicious as dinner that night. We ate a green salad with shaved parmesan and golden raisins tossed with a pine-nut vinaigrette; focaccia bread with herb butter; Utah red trout with agave tomato sauce, pickled sweet peppers and shaved watermelon radishes; braised short ribs with a hint of thyme and saffron with polenta, stewed redbell pepper with Indian spices and sage chips. Dessert was a flavor-exploding bruleed goat-cheese cheesecake with coriander blueberry compote with fresh mint and blueberries. Our second night we slept at the Ticaboo Lodge, located 10 miles north of Lake Powell at the base of the Henry Mountains. It felt blessedly remote and blended beautifully into the surrounding desert scenery. There’s a pool, gift shop and S’Moki’s Grill. My room was surprisingly spacious with wood flooring, a white bedspread, art, a pretty round table and chairs in the corner, and even an artificial tree. The reality is that most people use the lodge as a convenient and restful base camp for the huge variety of rentals and off-site guided adventures on land and water offered by North Lake Powell Adventures. The staff can tell you the best places to go or escort you to beautiful Lake Powell, the high desert or hard-to-find slot canyons. Guides are certified with Wilderness First Responder, Utah Master Naturalist, and Certified Canyoneering and Self-Rescue Training. If you want to experience the same and plan it ahead of time. You can contact us and check the services offers.

Read More

January 4, 2021
Adventure

Henry Mountain Bison Herd

The Henry Mountain Bison Herd. Have you ever been to the Henry Mountains? Because they are the last named mountain range in the lower 48, does that not make you draw a thought as to why they are the last named mountain range in the lower 48? They are extremely remote, they are extremely rugged, and they are light years away from civilization. To me, that means simply that they are the place for adventure and exploration, if you are brave enough to face some challenges. The main UTV trail that accesses the Henry Mountains happens to also be a Scenic Byway called Bull Creek Pass Backcountry Scenic Byway, and it is as scenic as you can imagine. It is 68 miles with a dirt surface, has numerous rough sections, steep grades, and blind curves. The route ascends from the desert floor through badlands and buttes, canyons and cliffs, and into ponderosa and alpine elevations. You’ll see history, big mule deer, antelope, bighorn sheep, mountain lions, and, of course, bison. Explore the Henry Mountains and search for a genetically-pure Yellowstone bison herd! This isn’t the bison you see as you are driving by a farm in Montana. This is one of the four free-roaming and genetically-pure herds on public lands in North America! The Yellowstone Park Bison herd is the ancestral herd for the Henry Mountains. The bison in the Henry Mountains herd are American Bison of the Plains bison. The bison in Yellowstone may be the only location in the United States where free-ranging bison were never exterminated. As a result, this herd became the foundation for other herds in the US, including the Henry Mountain herd.  The bison in the Henry Mountains were introduced in the mid-1940’s with an original 18 members. They weren’t released into the mountains, but rather in the arid desert of Robbers Roost 50 miles to the northeast. However, the bison didn’t approve of this location, so they migrated by crossing the Dirty Devil River into the Burr Desert, but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, as the bison soon learned, as there isn’t much grass in the desert. In 1963, they migrated again, this time into the lush range of the Henry’s, and flourished as they grew to 80 animals. Today, the herd consists of 300-400 bison, about the limit for the Henry Mountain range. Explore the historic mining camps left behind in a rugged wilderness. The Henry Mountains have areas of alpine meadows and grass prairie, providing these beautiful creatures a near optimum environment. On top of that, it is your land, and with all the rich history, ghost town location, gold-mining creeks, old mining camps, and beautiful scenery all the way into Colorado, Arizona, and Nevada, you would be remised to never have seen it, and never went in search of this proud and noble herd. Summit the highest peak of the Henry Mountains and record your name in a registry book where few have ever dared! Ticaboo Lodge and North Lake Powell Adventures can provide lodging or camping advice, and steer you in the direction of the bison that you have to see in your lifetime. We offer UTV rentals and guided tours into this remote wilderness that you will find no other place on earth.

Read More

April 27, 2021