Solo desert trip part 2 : Hole-in-the-Rock road, Grand Staircase
On Wednesday morning I woke up to a clear cold morning camped at dispersed camping area near the start of Hole-in-the-Rock road. This road is around 56 miles one way to the end, which as the name suggests is a "hole" in the cliffs that allow you to scramble down to Lake Powell. I left pretty early, just before sunrise (see video) and the washboard I read about started right away. I thought I've driven some serious washboard, HA! Nothing compared to this road, this road is vehicle damaging washboard if you aren't careful. I aired down a good amount and flew over it as much as I could at 40-50mph to keep from jarring my teeth loose. When I had to go slow, I had to go under 10mph to keep the harsh washboard from making life miserable. I read the road is worst up until the popular slot canyon trailhead for Peak-a-boo and Spooky slots. That was sorta correct, although I'd say the washboard was pretty bad for another 10 miles after that also! However, once the road becomes a truly 4x4 road (the rest of the road is considered a standard vehicle road, no 4x4 needed) is when it's the best because the washboard is pretty much gone in the between sections of sandy roads. Once you get to Reflection Canyon trailhead, it's almost like an easy Moab trail switching from sandy trail to slick rock sections. After a few miles of this awesomeness I could see the slot in the rock ahead and I knew I was almost to the end. I took a video of this, as well as when I first started and some in-between. It took me about 2.5-3 hours to get to the end, but I was not in a hurry.
I scrambled around the cliffs and looked over Lake Powell, I had cell service there so I hung out and had "brunch" and was there the entire time all by myself so it was really cool. After a while, I headed back and swung off the road a couple times to check out some rocks but I had planned to check out this 10 mile road to Egypt trailhead so that's what I did. This trailhead is actually just 15 or 20 miles from the start of the road so I took my time going back down, except I ripped it thru the washboard sections as much as I could. I didn't see any other vehicles on the road until I was about 10 miles within the start of the road. I did see one other vehicle parked way out at the Reflection canyon trailhead when I drove by it both times. It just so happens this vehicle was also a Ram Powerwagon, with a Government plates so I'm pretty sure it was a BLM truck.
I thought the road to Egypt would be more of a single track run 4x4 road, but it was actually washboard for the first 2 miles and after that it was a wide 4x4 road with sections of easy road in between. I thought it would be more challenging, but it was pretty easy and then I reached the end. There was no amazing view, it was a trailhead where you descend into slot canyon heaven..... so I hung out and had a little snack and then headed back to Hole-in-the-Rock road. When I got back, I spent the next hour driving up various sandy roads looking for a good campsite that had cell service. I found a few but nothing that felt right, so I headed back to the dispersed camping area I spent the night before and with some daylight still I was able to drive back quite a ways and find a rather nice spot.
This was a really rewarding and fun day exploring a very remote area that I've been wanting to visit for some time. I ate dinner at my camp and watched the sun go down, was able to speak to the wife and check email while relaxing at a 530pm sunset (lots of alone time in the dark). Tomorrow is going to be another long day driving 2 different routes, so an early to bed and early to rise mentality is in order once again
2005 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon TJ
2021 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon Xtreme Recon edition
2018 Ram 2500 Powerwagon