The Kokopelli 4×4 Trail

Background:

Who was Kokopelli?

Kokopelli was known as a fertility god amongst the Hopi Indians, a prankster, healer and story teller, Kokopelli has been a source of wonder throughout the country for centuries. Kokopelli embodies the true American Southwest, and dates back over 3,000 years ago, when the first petroglyphs were carved. Although his true origins are unknown, this traveling, flute-playing Casanova is a sacred figure to many Southwestern Native Americans. Carvings of this hunch-backed flute-playing figure have been found painted and carved into rock walls and boulders throughout the Southwest.

There are many myths of the famous Kokopelli. One of which is that he traveled from village to village bringing the changing of winter to spring; melting the snow and bringing about rain for a successful harvest. It is also said that the hunch on his back depicted the sacks of seeds and songs he carried. Legend also has it that the flute playing also symbolized the transition of winter to spring. Kokopelli’s flute is said to be heard in the spring’s breeze, while bringing warmth. It is also said that he was the source of human conception. Legend has it, everyone in the village would sing and dance throughout the night when they heard Kokopelli play his flute. The next morning, every maiden in the village would be with child.

History:
Segments of the trail date back to uses such as mining, rail road access, river access and ranching operations. In 1989 the Kokopelli Mountain Bike Trail in its entirety was put together by the newly formed Colorado Plateau Mountain Bike Trail Association (COPMOBA). Local mountain bikers realized the potential of a cross-country route from Fruita to Moab utilizing nearly all existing routes, by forming COPMOBA they were able to solicit enough support from within the mountain biking community to map, sign and work with local land agencies to ensure the route would exist for years to come. The name Kokopelli was a natural fit, a wanderer through these parts.

4×4 owners have been enjoying segments of the Kokopelli trail for many years, in fact long before the linking of the mountain bike trail was completed. For example the Dome Plateau and Rose Garden Hill sections are part of the annual Easter Jeep Safari event lead by the Red Rock 4 Wheelers out of Moab. It wasn’t until mountain biking groups started using a 4×4 as a support vehicle that vehicle owners realized the potential for this trail amongst our populations. Nearly 90% of the recognized Kokopelli Mountain Bike Trail can be driven in a full-size 4×4 vehicle. There are two sections of single-track closed to vehicles that are easily bypassed with a minor detour. For the purpose of clarity, we will discuss only what we will call the “Kokopelli 4×4 Trail”.

Future:
Public lands are continually being reconsidered in this region and it wouldn’t be completely unrealistic to see one or more sections of the Kokopelli 4×4 Trail re-routed for motorized vehicles or closed all together. We will attempt to update this article as often as possible, if you see a change we have not addressed, please let us know. Lastly, always check with state and federal land management agencies prior to embarking on a trip.

Side Trips:
Top of the World Trail
Dolores River
Dome Plateau Overlook & Mining Relics

GPS Coords & Map:
GPX File

Turn-x-turn directions:

Mileage

Trail Segments:
Fruita To Rabbit Valley
Rabbit Valley to Westwater
West Water to Highway
Dome Plateau to Dewey
Dewey to Rose Garden Hill
Rose Garden to Thompson Canyon
Castleton-Gateway Road
La Sal Loop Road
Sand Flats Road to Moab

Camping Areas:

Area Attractions:
Dewey Bridge
Rock House

Planning a Trip:
BLM:
Vehicle Prep:
Food/Water/Fuel:
Fruita/Loma, Colorado – All services available including lodging
Cisco, Utah (currently no services but in the past a small general store has been open during the summers)
Moab, Utah – All services available including lodging
Contingency

References:

Online:
COPMOBA – http://www.copmoba.org/admin/fckedit…elli%20Map.pdf
BLM Website re: Kokopelli MTB Trail – http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/moab/recreation/mountain_bike_trails/kokopelli_s_trail.html

Books:
Wells, Charles – Guide to Moab, UT: Backroads & 4-Wheel Drive Trails
Massey, Peter & Wilson, Jeanne – Utah Trails: Moab Region

Trip Report Links:

http://www.expeditionutah.com/forum/…read.php?t=788

http://www.expeditionutah.com/forum/…read.php?t=144

http://www.expeditionutah.com/forum/showthread.php?t=342

http://www.expeditionutah.com/forum/showthread.php?t=804

(last updated 10/04/11)

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