Kokopelli - Dewey Bridge Section

Rating: 
One-way Distance: 18.6 miles
Difficulty: Strenuous
MTB Skill level:
Elevation: 4124 - 6376 feet
Cellphone: 0-3 bars
Time: 5 hrs. 15 mins.
Trailhead: Dewey Bridge
Fee: none
Attractions: Multi use trail




The Dewey Bridge Section of the Kokopelli Trail begins off of Highway 128, north of Moab, Utah, near the historic Dewey Bridge. From there it climbs past the Top of the World trail and descends in and out of Cottonwood Canyon. After that it continues with a lot more climbing that eventually takes it to the infamous Rose Garden Hill and on out to the Onion Creek Road. The difference in elevation between the lowest and highest points is 2,252 feet but the total elevation gain for this segment of the trail is an incredible 4,362 feet.


Dewey Bridge is about 15 miles south on Highway 128 from Exit 204 on Interstate 70 or 32 miles north of Moab on Highway 128.


From Highway 128 the trail follows the graveled Entrada Bluffs Road.


The elevation increases steadily as the trail climbs what looks like the tilted landscape of a monocline from a distance but it isn't without plenty of downhill stretches where you give up some of the hard earned elevation just to gain it back once again.


The elevation profile shows how all the major hills are laid out but it tends to disguise many of the smaller dips and valleys. At the trailhead there is a sign that implies that the overall elevation gain is 2,000 feet. Simple math shows that the difference between the lowest and highest elevations is 2,252 feet. When you let your mapping software calculate the elevation gain and loss by taking into account all of the dips and valleys the total elevation gain comes out to be a grueling 4,362 feet. That implies that there is 2,110 feet of elevation that is lost and then regained over the more than 18 miles of this section of the Kokopelli Trail.


The trail passes a small campground near the 4 mile point that has picnic tables, firepits and an outdoor privy. Around the 5.5 mile point the Kokopelli Trail branches off on the right onto a different road.


Almost immediately after that fork there is another one where the Top of the World trail continues to the right and the Kokopelli Trail takes the left fork. Probably less than 1 mile after that the trail drops down into Cottonwood Canyon. It reaches the bottom of the canyon around the 7 mile point and begins climbing out again up a steep and rocky route.


The trail gets out of Cottonwood Canyon near the 7.8 mile point where you might notice some petroglyphs on the left side of the trail. Rather than spend the time getting a closer look we used a zoom lens to take some pictures.


Around the 8 mile point the trail comes out on another maintained road which it follows to the right.


The climbing continues at a steady rate for the next 3 miles to another fork that comes up where the Kokopelli Trail takes the left branch. At present there is a Kokopelli trail marker at the intersection but nothing that says where the other road goes. As near as we can tell it is one of several roads that leads out onto Sevenmile Mesa which overlooks the Fisher Towers area.


The trail reaches its highest elevation just past the 11 mile point. After that there begin to be some incredible views of the canyons around Gateway, Colorado which is only a little over 10 miles away as the crow flies. At the 12 mile point the Kokopelli Trail follows a right fork and becomes much more primitive in nature.


The rest of the trail is following the Rose Garden Hill Road. It is a real mess in places where there are steep sections that are covered with clunky chunks of talus. The sign at the Dewey Bridge trailhead warns jeeps about this area and advises them to take a different route. That is probably a pretty good idea for casual jeepers and Kokopelli Trail support vehicles.


As the trail approaches the 18 mile point it is descending into Fisher Valley and approaching Onion Creek.


We end this section of the Kokopelli Trail at the Onion Creek Road. We road the Kokopelli Trail up to this point before the middle of March. There is still some snow along the La Sal portion of the trail so we are going to wait another month or so before we complete the rest. We could work our way through it but the pictures would be pretty drab. In our opinion the Dewey Bridge Section of the Kokopelli Trail, with all of its elevation gain and the rocky mess that is Rose Garden Hill, is by far the most difficult segment. It is also one of the most scenic sections of the trail. If you would like to see it for yourself then all you have to do is grab your bike or 'Take a hike'.