Colorado State Line to Westwater Ranger Station: Kokopelli’s Trail follows an old dirt road through here. The road is somewhat narrow and also includes a long steep hill that requires four wheel drive. A Kokopelli’s Campsite is located at the top of the hill at the Bitter Creek overlook. Vehicle access to the campsite is best gained via the Westwater Exit on Interstate 70 (Exit #225). While there is also a small campground located at the Westwater Ranger Station, this campground is usually quite busy with parties preparing to raft Westwater Canyon.
Kokopelli’s Trail is a 142 mile multi-use trail that goes from Loma, Colorado to Moab, Utah. The primary use of the trail as a through route is by mountain bikes. Trail surface varies; the trail utilizes dirt roads (of varying degrees of difficulty), paved roads and some small portions of narrow track. A multi-day Kokopelli’s Trail outing requires extensive planning. This description is intended to give you a rough idea of what to expect on the portions of the trail that are within the Moab Field Office.
Kokopelli’s Trail includes 8 small camping areas (2-3 campsites each) along its length. Each camping area has a toilet; some have picnic tables. Each of these is described briefly, along with vehicle access information about the campsites. Please remember that there is no water anywhere along the trail.
Westwater Ranger Station to Cisco Boat Landing: Kokopelli’s Trail follows a series of dirt roads the entire length of this segment. Due to sand and some small ledges, four wheel drive is recommended if full sized vehicles wish to traverse this portion. Alternatively, vehicles may drive to Cisco on Interstate 70 and use the paved road to get to Cisco Boat Landing.
Cisco Boat Landing to McGraw Bottom on Highway 128: The trail follows a graded dirt road from Cisco Boat Landing to Fish Ford, where a Kokopelli’s Campsite is located adjacent to the Colorado River. (This campsite is easily reached by any type of vehicle from Cisco). The trail leaves the Fish Ford road (prior to Fish Ford Camp) and becomes progressively less driveable. When the trail reaches the Colorado River, it becomes a single track trail. The trail again becomes a four wheel drive road, crosses Cisco Wash, and becomes a graded county road for the last mile before reaching Highway 128. Full sized vehicles wishing to go from Fish Ford to Highway 128 must go back to the town of Cisco and follow Highway 128 to McGraw Bottom.
McGraw Bottom to Dewey Bridge via Yellow Jacket Canyon: (Alternately, riders can go from McGraw Bottom directly to Dewey Bridge on Utah State Highway 128.) This portion of the trail is comprised of somewhat difficult-to-drive dirt roads. Due to two very bad sections, it is not recommended for full sized vehicles, even if they are four wheel drive. Support vehicles should rejoin their parties at Dewey Bridge.
Dewey Bridge to Fisher Valley: Kokopelli’s Trail crosses Dewey Bridge and goes up a very good county road. Cowskin Campsite is located four miles up the road. At about six miles from Dewey Bridge, the trail leaves the graded county road and goes through a fence. While this section of the trail was originally a road, it has become virtually a single track. Support vehicles should not follow bikers on this portion of the road.
The trail rejoins the main county road and continues up Entrada Bluffs. The road gradually worsens as it ascends. Support vehicles should only go as far as their drivers feel comfortable. Under no circumstances should support vehicle drivers start down “Rose Garden Hill” (when the trail starts to descend, you have entered the approach to Rose Garden Hill).
The trail then descends into Fisher Valley. Support vehicles may rejoin their bikers by going up the graded Onion Creek Road. The Onion Creek road is susceptible to flooding, but is usually passable to any high clearance two wheel drive vehicle. (There is a private ranch in Fisher Valley, and the Onion Creek Road accesses this ranch. Please follow the Kokopelli signs carefully to respect private property and to stay on the trail.)
Fisher Valley to North Beaver Mesa: From Fisher Valley, the trail ascends a hill and descends into Hideout Canyon. This road is very steep, and four wheel drive is required to get out of Hideout Canyon (in either direction). There is a Kokopelli Campsite in Hideout Canyon. From Hideout Canyon, the trail ascends to the Manti-LaSal National Forest. This portion of the road is driveable only by four wheel drive vehicles. Once in the Forest, the trail goes through the ponderosa pines of North Beaver Mesa. The trail intersects the graded and graveled county road that runs from Gateway, Colorado to Moab, Utah. Turn right (toward Moab) on this road.
North Beaver Mesa to Porcupine Rim: the trail from North Beaver Mesa to the top of Fisher Mesa (and the Bull Draw Kokopelli Campsite) is graveled and passable by any type of vehicle. From Bull Draw, the road is paved for 12 miles. It descends into Castle Valley, accessing the Rock Castle Kokopelli Campsite. The paved road then ascends into the mountains, accessing the Cold Springs Kokopelli Campsite (this is called Mason Draw on some maps). The trail leaves the paved road just after a beautiful viewpoint. The trail goes down an old, eroded, brushy road, which is not passable by full sized vehicles. It reaches the Sand Flats Road, where support vehicles can rejoin the bikes (motor vehicles should continue on the paved road to the Sand Flats Road, turning west on Sand Flats). The trail goes down the Sand Flats Road, passing the Porcupine Rim Kokopelli Campsite just above the Porcupine Rim Trail.
Porcupine Rim to Moab: The trail simply follows the Sand Flats Road all the way into the town of Moab. On the way, it passes the many campsites in the Sand Flats Recreation Area, and also passes the Slickrock Bike Trail parking lot. Support vehicles will usually have no problem with any portion of the Sand Flats Road.
If you are doing the entire Kokopelli’s Trail, you should be advised that extensive planning is necessary. The season of year must be carefully considered; elevations range from 4000 to 8000 feet. In Spring, snow can still be a problem in the mountains while heat is starting to increase in the desert. Providing sufficient drinking water can also be a challenge, especially if you do not have a support vehicle. However, the trip is a great adventure and makes a very enjoyable outing.