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Old 06-19-2012   #1
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 337
Westwater. Kokopelli Trail

I'm going down to Westwater to shoot a few pictures of Skull Rapid. Is it easier to bike up the Kokopelli trail from the Cisco takeout, or down to the Skull from the Westwater Put-in. I'm getting up really early in an attempt to beat the heat, and really want to take the easiest path because of the heat. Any suggestions?

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Old 06-19-2012   #2
hojo's Avatar
Lakewood, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1989
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 1,234
I advise a tubing it from the putin. Lol. Looking at the map it looks like it'd be closer from the putin. That's a lot of effort for Skull rapid at low flows. You'd be better off buying a disposable camera and a case of beer, giving it to a raft party and collect the camera at the end. Hell, there's likely someone with an open spot that'd take you for a case of beer.,0&sz=17&z=20

Edit: I take that back.. closer to takeout but then it's all uphill.

On the river, I can abandon who I am and what I've done. However brief it lasts, while on the river I am nothing important and everything insignificant. I am flotsam, and happy to be so.
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Old 06-19-2012   #3
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 337
I would rather float it, but don't have a permit.

I also want to set up my camera equipment from the cliffs above and take multiple high quality images. I want to catch different light, angles, etc.
More of a photo shoot.
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Old 06-19-2012   #4
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 883

It's about six of one and half dozen of the other. If you take the usual route, you have to cut off the actual Kokopeli trail way out on the flats - miles from Skull. The cutoff is perhaps a bit closer to the ranger station, but not by much. If it's rained recently (yeah, fat chance this time of year), coming from Cisco could be problematic because of the need to cross Cottonwood Wash.

Once you cut off the Kokopeli, you can bike your way back to the fenced boundary of the Wilderness Study Area and go downriver until you reach the Hades Overlook cutoff. Or you could go all the way out to Big Hole, then work your way back upstream to a place to overlook Skull.

The Hades Overlook route involves a two-track that eventually will take you to where you actually have a distant view of Skull. I've never come up from the Big Hole side, but perhaps some else will chime in on that.

There is a "shortcut" entry to the WSA on the ranger station side, but it's sort of hard to describe. About a mile from the hardtop road, there is an abandoned gate on the left of the Kokopeli, that leads off to an old abandoned building. Next to the building, a two track leads down and up a few hills, and you reach another entry point for the WSA, with a signboard. Follow that two track a couple of miles and you'll get to the Little Hole WSA gate. After that, you're on the same route that you'd be on if you had cut off the Kokopeli way out on the flats.

I'm not sure if the current Wilderness Study Area regulations allow the use of bikes. I know no motorized traffic is permitted behind the fence, but a call to Moab BLM could tell you if mechanized travel is also prohibited. It that's the case, it's a long hot hike from the gate in the fence to Skull.

Check with the rangers and go over their maps to firm up your thinking about how you want to go about this, and so they know you're out there. Good luck on putting your jaunt together.

Rich Phillips
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Old 06-19-2012   #5
Salt Lake City, Utah
Paddling Since: 2008
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 337
Thanks very much for the beta. I truly appreciate it. After looking at Google images, I have followed a faint trail that ends at a turn around almost parallel to Skull. If I could follow that trail, then perhaps I will be good.
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