We had high hopes for this trail since we saw it on the topo maps. The maps show a trail going into a river and then starting up again on the other side. Was it possible that we could actually drive through the river? Were there bridges? Did the trail just end there? We were going to find out.
We had just come off of Dome Plateau and the light was fading fast. We had a feeling that the Delores River trail just ended at the river anyway, so we took the time to go out and check.
The trail started out as expected, wide and mellow. Then it suddenly got narrower and rocky as we wound through a dried-up riverbed. The Cottonwood trees were half yellow and half green and very leafy, making the trip through the canyon very beautiful. This was already a nice trail.
We wound our way up and around the rocks and out of the canyon, and finally we could see the Delores River. It was huge! We didn't believe there was any way we would be able to cross it. We saw a sandbar in the middle of the river, and it actually had tire tracks on it (ATV or 4x4, we couldn't tell just yet). Wow!
We kept going, and then Don just laughed and stopped his Jeep. The trail just ended and went straight into the river. We all got out to look.
You could see the sandbar ahead, and the river didn't seem too deep on the way there. Then, far in the distance, we could see a place where the trail picked back up and left the river. Could we do this?
We threw a lot of rocks into the river, trying to test the depth. Finally, we just decided to do the first part and go from there. Don went across to the sandbar and it turned out to be not very deep at all. Everyone else followed and soon we were all on the sandbar with plenty of room.
The next portion looked deep and it was really flowing. Don decided to just go for it, and soon he was in the water. He has 35" tires on his Jeep, and the water covered them at one point. It was deep, but soon he was clawing his way out of the river on slick mud.
Bob followed, and then Michael and Mike brought up the rear. Everyone covered their bumpers in water, and it got very deep. Still, we knew where the air intakes were on our Jeeps and we knew we were okay.
We had seen vehicles on the other side, so we knew we could get out. We also knew there was another river crossing coming up. The trail was dry, and then suddenly we were crossing a wide and muddy section. We had no idea why there was mud there, but it was slick.
When we got to the second river crossing we noted that it was wider and there was nowhere to stop in the middle. Don just went for it, noting lots of tracks on both sides. It was deep, but we were driving downstream and it all went just fine.
We all took our lines through the river, grinning from ear to ear. We couldn't believe we were driving through a river -- in Moab, no less. We were having a fantastic time.
The trail ended soon after the second river crossing, and we went back out to the parking by the old Dewey Bridge to air up and reconnect. We were heading to Canyonlands the next day, so we needed to get ready for that by putting enough air in our tires for the long highway drive.
Delores River was such a blast! It will definitely be on our list of favorite trails, and one we'll do often.
Reports from Other Days: 2
Use the arrows or dots to flip through the previews of the other reports for Dolores River. Click one of them to read more and see all of the photos from that day.