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Cathedral Valley, Burr Trail, Hole n Rock, Hell's Backbone?

Belleville, IL
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305 posts
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Cathedral Valley, Burr Trail, Hole n Rock, Hell's Backbone?

We are planning on spending 2 nights in Torrey and would like to do one of these scenic backway roads. We will have our own 4WD vehicle (and lots of off roading experience) and could do an all day loop or just part of a route combined with hiking. Which would be the best for a photography and short hiking perspective?

Also, if we decide to drive some of Highway 12 and then turn back (basically a round trip to/from Torrey) what would be a good turning around point as far as being able to see some scenic spots without driving too far due to time constraints? I was considering leaving very early and hiking to Calf Creek Falls, then continuing back to Torrey by way of the Burr Trail and Norton/Bullfrog Road, but I don't know if that is the best option.

If it helps, we are planning on 3 nights in Moab (our second visit there), 2 nights in Torrey, and a couple nights in Colorado end of May. We will probably stop at Little Wild Horse Canyon and possible Goblin Valley State Park on the way from Moab to Torrey.

Golden, Canada
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for Regina
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1. Re: Cathedral Valley, Burr Trail, Hole n Rock, Hell's Backbone?

<<I was considering leaving very early and hiking to Calf Creek Falls, then continuing back to Torrey by way of the Burr Trail and Norton/Bullfrog Road, but I don't know if that is the best option.>>

That is a very good option. Road conditions will dictate it's feasibility however.

Last year Hell's Backbone was still closed by snow late May, but it was a heavy snow/late spring year. Each has good points, but Burr Trail is the most famous for a reason and gets my vote.

Edited: 03 April 2012, 02:58
Torrey, Utah
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for Torrey, Capitol Reef National Park
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2. Re: Cathedral Valley, Burr Trail, Hole n Rock, Hell's Backbone?

Your Calf Creek/Burr Trail plan is excellent, since you have a 4WD and experience you should try to make time for the Strike Valley Overlook side road just above the Burr Trail switchbacks. It's only a quarter mile or so easy hike from the end of the road to the overlook and I think it's the best view in the park.

Belleville, IL
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305 posts
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3. Re: Cathedral Valley, Burr Trail, Hole n Rock, Hell's Backbone?

Thanks for confirmation that Burr Trail and Calf Creek would be good combo! Does anyone know about how long the Burr Trail and Norton Road combined would take to drive from Boulder to Torrey?

Steamboat Springs...
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4. Re: Cathedral Valley, Burr Trail, Hole n Rock, Hell's Backbone?

The road is actually called the Notom Rd not Norton. These times are rough estimates, because nobody would just drive the Burr tr-Notom Rd- UT 24 without any stops. Way to much to see!

Boulder to bottom of Burr Tr switchbacks Capitol Reef NP. 1- 1 1/2hrs non stop.

Switchbacks to UT 24 1- 1 1/2 hrs non stop.

UT 24 to Torrey 30- 45 mins non stop.

These are rough estimated times. Lots of windy roads, plus gravel, sand and clay on parts of Burr and Notom roads.

Formations along the Burr Tr, Strike Valley Overlook, Burr switchbacks, 2 or 3 spots on the Notom to see the reef... should all be stops along the way. More on 24 to Torrey.

Good luck hurrying thru that!

Belleville, IL
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305 posts
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5. Re: Cathedral Valley, Burr Trail, Hole n Rock, Hell's Backbone?

Oops, sorry Notom, not Norton. So it looks like we could leave early(we always get up early even on vacation!) drive hwy 12 to Calf Creek Falls, hike, have lunch in Boulder and then drive back to Torrey by way of Burr Trail and Notom Road in around 4-6 hours depending on stops along the way of those roads. I can't wait until our trip!

Salt Lake City, Utah
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for Utah
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6. Re: Cathedral Valley, Burr Trail, Hole n Rock, Hell's Backbone?

Is hell's backbone grill open for lunch yet?

Golden, Canada
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for Regina
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7. Re: Cathedral Valley, Burr Trail, Hole n Rock, Hell's Backbone?

They are Kbec... opened on March 16th.

Salt Lake City, Utah
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8. Re: Cathedral Valley, Burr Trail, Hole n Rock, Hell's Backbone?

Okay, so I checked. They still do not open for lunch

Edited: 05 April 2012, 05:46
Golden, Canada
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for Regina
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9. Re: Cathedral Valley, Burr Trail, Hole n Rock, Hell's Backbone?

No, unfortunately only til 11:30am and you can't officially "go for lunch" there. I should read the forums in the daytime, lol. Breakfast and dinner... open for the season yes, but not ever for lunch. Maybe one day...

Belleville, IL
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10. Re: Cathedral Valley, Burr Trail, Hole n Rock, Hell's Backbone?

Oh man, I was thinking of stopping there for lunch after I had heard about it on the forums here. Maybe we could make it a late breakfast stop instead.