It’s been a great year for dirt biking so far, not so great for keeping up on this blog… I’ve been riding with my kids a lot, they are able to do a lot of technical trails that I like, but at a lot slower pace than the guys I usually ride with. It’s so fun to see them push their abilities and overcome the trail and mental obstacles.
I signed up for this year’s UTMA ride and volunteered to run sweep on the advanced loop. It turned out to be a 9-hour epic adventure at a length of 66.4 miles. I wasn’t prepared with my helmet cam or camera, but thanks to a couple of other great riders, I can share their pictures. Thanks to Brent, Shane, Drew and Matt for taking the pictures and videos sent to me or stolen from Facebook. Big thanks to Wes Thompson and Matt Groll for being the ride leaders.
Crew: we started out with 12 riders and were whittled down to 6 that made the full ride, with other bailing out at various stages. From memory – we had Wes, Colton and me from Smithfield; Brent, Bryant and Shane from Vernal; Rich and Drew from Ogden; Todd and Kim from Preston; and Chip and ?? (Clint/Brian?? somebody help) from Morgan.
Trails: Sink Hollow to Gibson Basin, Highline to Danish pass, Down St. Charles North Fork, up Davis Canyon, over to Midland and Horse Flat, took a right on Bloomington road, up Middle fork jeep road and over to Paris Flat, up to German Dugway summit, Highline all the way back to Danish pass, down the road to Beaver Creek campground, up the Highline back into Gibson Basin, then back down Sink Hollow to finish it off.
Conditions: cold, wet, raining, slick and greasy until we got to Bloomington road, then the sun came out and made for perfect conditions on the highline for the ride back.
Download the Google earth GPS tracks.
I’ve seen videos and blog posts about this trail for many years, apparently this is one of the most difficult dirt bike trails in the US, it was made for trials bikes and isn’t really 5 miles, it’s more like 8-9 miles of hell in a 20 mile loop. It’s been on my bucket list and it was a lot of fun to check it off. Now we need to go back and do it backwards or out and back if we’re really feeling it. We hadn’t really planned on riding this trail during the trip, but we spent the first day riding out of Woodside, the second day riding south of Green River and Brandon mentioned trying this for the third day, so we did it kind of last minute.
We camped in the sprinter and woke up to a really cold morning. I don’t think either of us realized how much elevation gain there is between Green River and up in the Swell where 5MoH is located. There was a little snow on the ground at the trailhead, but the trail conditions were good and the weather started cloudy, but ended up being a beautiful day.
Some of the reviews online are pretty entertaining:
“There’s really 7 miles of Hell (gnarly, gonzo, sick, and abusive technical riding on very rough rock), 2 miles of Purgatory (advanced-tech singletrack), and 11 miles of Limbo (doubletrack with tire sinking soft surface and some rough rock). This trail is extreme, trials-level technical. Don’t ride Hell unless you’re good at tech riding. “
“We both ran out of water using 3 liter camelbaks + two water bottles. If you are going to attempt this trail, be sure to be adequately rested and bring snacks and food that will give you energy (not a 24pk of mtn dew and doritos).” –https://motoutah.com/component/content/article/60-utah-trails-by-region/southern-utah/84-san-rafael-swellfive-miles-of-hell
“Five Miles of Hell by far this is the toughest dirt bike trail you’ll come across in Utah. “5 Miles” is a lie. It’s more like 8. The entire loop runs some where around 20. … Imagine every challenging obstacle you have ever ridden your dirt bike on or over. Put those obstacles back to back, over and over for about 8 miles and call it “5 Miles of Hell”. ” –http://www.dirtbikeutah.net/five-miles-of-hell.html
Crew: Brandon and me.
Click here to download the long (9 minute) version of the helmet cam footage, or you can watch the shorter version on Vimeo (click on the vimeo logo to go to the website and watch in HD).
Talk about a beautiful day! We were looking at the forecast and decided we better cash in on some good fall riding. The ground was moist, the puddle frozen with ice and in the higher elevations and north slopes, there was a layer of snow on everything. We only saw one other ATV during the ~46 mile ride. It was good times.
Crew: Ken and me.