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Friday, August 2, 2013

Utah's Maze District With Friends, Family & My Expedition Trailer

This is a story of 8 people and 3 offroad vehicles tackling the terrain of one of Utah's fabled offroad destinations. The perceived difficulty of the Maze is relative to your own personal experience, driving ability and vehicle capabilities. I can say that after reading countless books, blogs, forum posts and watching YouTube videos that beauty and offroading adventure of the Maze exceeded my expectations. On top of that there are excellent camping and hiking opportunities as well as endless vistas of prime Utah scenery.

The Adventure Team! 
Photo by Kim

Our original trip schedule:

3/29/2013  Fri
Leave Friday afternoon to get ahead of Los Angeles traffic to get to Primm and stay overnight
3/30/2013  Sat
Drive to Hanksville, stay at Whispering Sands Motel (435-542-3238)
3/31/2013  Sun
Enter via Hans Flat. Ranger #435-259-2652. Camp at Maze Overlook Site #1
4/1/2013  Mon
Camp at Maze Overlook Site #1
4/2/2013  Tue
Go to Land of Standing Rocks, Camp Dollhouse #2
4/3/2013  Wed
Camp Dollhouse #2
4/4/2013 Thu
Camp Dollhouse #2
4/5/2013 Fri
Drive to Hite 30 miles & 3 hours then 6+ hours & 365 miles to Mesquite and stay 1 night
4/6/2013 Sat
drive home

Our Off Road Vehicles

Norm's 2005 V8 Sequoia, lifted with Fox Racing coilovers up front as well as taller Toytec Springs and longer shocks in the rear. Updates included new tires all around and a high volume air compressor for airing up the tires. 
Photo by Kim

Chris' very well built 2010 V6 Toyota Tacoma. It was the most capable vehicle of the group and traveled the Maze terrain with ease.

My 2005 V6 4Runner & Expedition Trailer

The Maze District is part of Canyonlands National Park in Utah and is the most remote and least accessible section. The long offroad 4x4 distances and difficulties are what makes this more of an expeditionary trip than just a car camping trip. Permits are required for overnight stays and can be difficult to acquire due to the limited number of camp sites.
Our launch point in Hanksville, Utah. The very nice Whispering Sands Motel 

Hollow Mountain Gas Station

Leaving pavement, not to return to asphalt for days!

GPS map display at the top of the much "dreaded" Flint Trail switchbacks

Well built offroad vehicles and good driving skills will be the main defense against vehicle damage or injuries. Drivers with excellent skills and average vehicles can slowly drive through the challenges. With well built vehicles they can sail through most of it. When our team moved from the Maze Overlook to The Dollhouse it took about 9 hours to cross 36 miles of varied terrain due to our caution, my trailer and the need for spotting in many sections.

Chris was the first to launch down the Flint Trail switchbacks and during much of the trip we relied upon him to take the lead and scout out the challenges of the trail ahead. Chris also provided excellent spotting to Norm and I whenever we needed savvy guidance to avoid damage to our vehicles.

Norm & Chris driving well ahead of me and showing how quickly you will lose elevation when descending the switchbacks. 

 Stopping to check out the next steep and tight turn 

 After the switchbacks

Norm spotting for Chris on the way to the Maze Overlook 

 Chris takes a turn at spotting for Norm

Made it to the Maze Overlook!! 

My trailer set up at the camp site.

One of the great features of the area at the Maze Overlook is the opportunity to descend into the canyon to see an amazing example of ancient art.

Here are some highlights of the hike in the canyon!

Photo by Kim

Photo by Kim

Norm & Chris relaxing back at camp!

 Next day it was time to drive out to Dollhouse Rocks.
 across all sorts of interesting and challenging terrain. It took us about 8 hours to traverse 36 miles

Gratuitous shot of my rig..... 

Norm negotiating a turn on a slickrock shelf. Note the rain clouds in the distance. We never directly encountered significant rainfall or mud.

Norm scooting up the trail 

Chris spotting Jim throught the infamous Z-turn where trailer hitches are pushed to their limits and sometimes meet their doom 
Photo by Kim

Chris' Tacoma waltzing through a tight and rocky section of the trail 
Photo by Kim

Jim spotting Norm through a tight turn
Photo by Kim

Made it to Dollhouse Rocks #2!
Cramped Camp! Sweet Camp!
Bill The Cat's Petrified Skull?
We went on two hikes in this area, one out to a granary site via the Spanish Bottom Trail and one long one out to an overlook near the Colorado and Green Rivers confluence. Here are some photos.
On the way we swung by the ancient grainaries, tucked neatly into an alcove.

 This close up lets you see the clever construction with local materials.
 This is a picture of the enclosure on the right.

This area offers a fantastic view of the rivers' confluence.

Kayaker in his own world, unaware of us up high above him 

Time to head out of Doll House and head back home!
Photo by Kim

Chris directs Norm up a rock ledge

Photo by Kim

Photo by Kim

Photo by Kim

Airing up before the pavement trek back to Nevada

Chris in the lead again! 

Sentinals of eroding rock watching us speed by....

Getting closer to civilization, sigh.... 

Once again, thank you for visiting my blog and riding along on another offroad adventure!


  1. Enjoyed the latest post & graphics!

  2. Nice! Great chronicle of your adventure!

  3. Nice! Great chronicle of your adventure! Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. Hey these are great. We are heading there in June this year! Hard to find decent pics so I am glad you shared!