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Discussion Starter #1
Parunuweap Canyon Run - Elephant Gap through Elephant Cove
On April 25, VOLHOO and I made a run at Purunweap Canyon (located s/w of the Mt. Carmel Junction (State Route 9 and State Route 89) in the Kanab Area.

The road is a loop of sorts. We left pavement near the Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park and traveled north on the Elephant Gap road.

The East Fork of the Virgin River runs through Parunuweap Canyon. In the late 1800's the area was a mail route/road.


Today it's used almost exclusively by ATV's which means that the "road" is very narrow in places. In other places, you have to use the "guess" method to decide where the road is because the sand is VERY deep - skid plate deep - through much of the trip.


VOLHOO in The Brigadier.


Scorpion on some slick rock.


VOLHOO negotiates a rocky decline.


This route is NOT-NOT-NOT 2WD friendly.


Winch recovery on The Brigadier. The sand was very fine and it caused huge traction problems on hills. The only solution in this case was the winchline. It didn't put much strain on the line - just enough to get VOLHOO through this tight spot.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
Parunuweap Canyon Run - (continued) Virgin River Crossings

The road down to the virgin river is very steep and sandy. I had the brakes locked up and slid down the 1000 or so feet on steep sand much like a toboggan. You steer with the front wheels and ....pray. No photos - we were way too busy.


After the sand comes the Virgin River. The trail crossed the Virgin River about twenty times (no I'm not exaggerating) and required road building to get our FJ's through crossings used by ATV's.


This isn't the best example - no photo of that one, but I was well over a 60 degree angle getting out of one of the crossings. VOLHOO has a photo. No, it's not doctored, I'm going STRAIGHT up.


The route should take you about 4-5 hours to complete and it's roughly 20 miles long - if you don't break down or slide off of the road (way down) into the canyon. Technically Difficult for an FJ.


I ended up using the axe to take down part of a tree and the shovel for some road building, but only because it's only used by ATV's. A heavy FJ makes the route a lot more of a challenge than an ultra light ATV.

We found that the all-terrain tires are not suited for this excursion and again, if you try it in a 2WD FJ, you won't make it. The skid-deep sand for at least 15 of the 20 miles is not 2WD FJ friendly at all.
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Parunuweap Canyon - Advice



(1) Run the route the way we did. If you come in from the Mt. Carmel Junction side, you won't make it up the long steep, deep sand hill down to the Virgin River without EXTENSIVE winching. I'm guessing 4-5 hours to get to the top of the hill in an FJ. Note that I'm not saying that it can't be done, I'm only suggesting that it will be far more work than it's worth.


(2) Air down to 10 psi or lower. (VOLHOO thought to bring sled dogs with him in case he got stuck)


(3) 4WD only.


(4) A winch and recovery gear including axe, shovel and a pull pal are highly recommended. Much better to have and not need than to need and not have.


(5) Take your time. Enjoy the scenery. It's a beautiful run.
 

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Thanks for sharing. Looks like a great ride. Not to far away for me, maybe next fall or winter when I am down in the area. Great pictures!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for sharing. Looks like a great ride. Not to far away for me, maybe next fall or winter when I am down in the area. Great pictures!
If it's raining, that sand would be even more difficult IMO and the slickrock would make things tough going. If the Virgin River is up, those water crossings would be even more challenging.

We met an old cowboy on an ATV - looking for missing cows and his ATV slipped off the side of a sand cliff while he was trying to pass VOLHOO. We helped him recover the ATV with a winch strap. Then we talked to him for a while. He said they get quite a bit of snow in the area (6000 ft) in the winter and the road is impassable in any vehicle. He said that it gets very nasty up there in the winter. Spring and Fall should work, but I wouldn't leave it too late in the season. The road is challenging now. If it's slick, you would stand a very good chance of going over the edge. It was tight for us in several places. Not insane difficult, but technically challenging.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Even though you say A/T's are not suited for the run, what do you think performed better? The Nitto's or BFG's?
AT's are fine, just not optimal in this application. In this case Dune Grapplers might have been better still. No 2WD FJ's on that trail.

My Nitto's are 12.5 inches wide and his size is closer to stock, so it's not as you can compare them. He went everywhere I did. BFG makes a great tire.
 

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WOW you guys had a blast!

I hope one day I can do all these trails.

Did you guys get to that gold mine place you were talking about in the other thread (the one that MoabRat was going to meet you at)?



When you first said the AT weren't that good I was wondering what you would like, as AT's are normally much better for sand then a more aggressive tire. I forgot all about the Dune Grappler's it does have the market in the sand. Not sure if i would run that tire if I did anything other then sand though.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Did you guys get to that gold mine place you were talking about in the other thread (the one that MoabRat was going to meet you at)?
MOABRAT wasn't able to make it. Stuff happens in life. We went to the north end of Cottonwood Canyon (posted "no trespassing") and while we were there by the sign, a guy drove up in a truck - that's the route to the tunnels.


I guess they charge $15.00 a head to let you in. At first, I thought the sign read $1500 each. I spoke to the guy in the truck and he said, "It's private property (go away)"

So we never made it to the tunnels. I tried to get in from the South through the Piute Indian Reservation but the road was blocked at the state line. I guess that the private parties who own the north end of Cottonwood Cyn. are protecting their ricebowl - but that is NOT the way to win hearts over to your cause to save the tunnels. They seemed to be a strange and unfriendly group of people.

That notwithstanding, we did have a great time elsewhere in the Kanab area, particularly on the


Parunuweap Canyon Trail - AWESOME!

When you first said the AT weren't that good I was wondering what you would like, as AT's are normally much better for sand then a more aggressive tire. I forgot all about the Dune Grappler's it does have the market in the sand. Not sure if i would run that tire if I did anything other then sand though.
In gritty sand/regular sand and through most of the trip the A/T's were fine. However I think I might go to the Nitto M/T next time because the more aggressive sidewall lugs would help in estremely fine grit sand -- like quicksand only dry. I have never encountered that sort of sand on very steep mountain slopes (not sand dunes at all). It's a tough call whether an M/T - noisy to drive, or an A/T - better mileage and good all around in SoCal is the way to go. Clearly if I was living or spending a lot of time in this area I would have sand ladders on the rig and maybe a Dune Grappler. I'm with you that the Dune Grappler is not the tire for general use in SoCal.
 

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Not sure how much time you spend in southern Utah and northern Arizona, but between some of the local Indians and FLDS members, there are dangers other than deep sand. You're getting into a part of the country that keeps to themselves and sometimes lives a few steps outside the law.
 

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Discussion Starter #13 (Edited)
Not sure how much time you spend in southern Utah and northern Arizona, but between some of the local Indians and FLDS members, there are dangers other than deep sand. Your getting into a part of the country that keeps to themselves and sometimes lives a few steps outside the law.


We offered no offense and didn't cross posted land. But I do know what you're talking about. I've knocked around that area now and again and the presence of California license plates seems to get everyone worked up and irritated.
 

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You guys had a great time! We are going to plan a club weekend for Parunuweap this fall. Thanks for the pics. Sorry again that our babysitting fell through. Turns out our girl had strep throat anyways. Good thing Mom and Dad were home with her. You always post good road trips. I'll email you our club run info if you want, and you will be very welcome to join us any time for our runs.
 

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Thanks for the advice about a winter trip. I was thinking the sand might be better when it is wet. I didn't think about high water that time of year or the fact that the solid rock parts might be slick. It must be a different kind of sand than we have here. My wife is from California so I complain about the Utah plates instead.:lol:
 

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I've thoroughly enjoyed the trip you and Volhoo shared. Thanks for posting.
 

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I love reading about your guys trips. Wish I had that stuff around here.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Thanks for the advice about a winter trip. I was thinking the sand might be better when it is wet. I didn't think about high water that time of year or the fact that the solid rock parts might be slick. It must be a different kind of sand than we have here. My wife is from California so I complain about the Utah plates instead.:lol:
(1) It's like dry quick sand if that makes sense. Very fine stuff.

(2) Based on what the cowboy we spoke to on the trail said, and I believe him, it's was impassable last winter by ATV because of slick conditions. The last hill I wrote about (toboggan run in the sand) was extremely steep and I have no idea how an ATV could ascend it, but they do.

(3) If the slickrock was slick with ice or even rain, I wouldn't attempt the trail. Call me a wimp, but you could slide over one of many edges and down several hundred feet. The slickrock is almost all off-camber driving. Great traction in good weather. Slick at other times.

(4) If the Virgin River was flooding you'd never make it in an FJ. The river is more than 6' deep in at least half of the twenty or so fords. There were a few that would have been 3-4' in flood, but even that is a stretch IMO.

But in weather like we've had, the run is a kick in the pants with enough pucker to make it interesting.

I love reading about your guys trips. Wish I had that stuff around here.
Scam a trip to the West and we'll show you a good time! :cheers:
 

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Nice.................
 
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