Five Miles Of Hell, UT

Got back from Utah Saturday on the WR450. The San Rafeal Swell was swell on Friday. Went 88 miles that day on the WR450, one-half of which was on the infamous "5 Miles of Hell" trail.

When I got in to the 5MOH and looked down at three foot, sharp-edge ledges going down in to the canyon, I realized there must be the same going up out the other side. I took an escape route out of the canyon before it got too weird and caught a whole load of crap from my friends for not doing the whole trail. One of my buddies even questioned my gender.

My five "friends" that went further down the canyon and back up the other side testified later about lifting all the bikes up over these ledges just to go further up the canyon trail and doing it again, and again, and again. One was a TT600-285 pounds ? I'll bet the exhaust pipe wasn't cold to the touch either.

What's up with that ? To knowingly go down in to something that requires constant stop, lift, start to get up ? Get a trials bike ! I instead roosted the WR450 on "blue" trails around the Iron Canyon rim that afternoon, spotted them occasionally with the binoculars while I sipped on designer water in the shade, and was fresh at the end of the day.

Later that night at the trucks, I asked their sorry, aching butts "Who's the bitch now ?". :)

Anyhow, take care ya'll and see you on the trail.

Lol!! My opinion is that if something is hard, that doesn't necessarily make it fun. It is usually the other way around for me. :)


Some people can ride the big bikes through okay. I have been with riders who rode XR600's both ways in a few hours.

It makes a big difference whether you are riding the whole way, or falling over, etc.


Great story. You are definitely the smartest person in that group.

I got up very early on Sunday morning for a ride before church. It was about 45F outside. I didn't put on any thermal underwear because it warms up quickly in southern AZ. So I went riding. Do you know how cold it is when your doing 55 mph. Burrr, but it warmed up nicely and I had a great ride over to Montezuma's pass. It’s located in the Coronado National Memorial, which is about 20 miles south of the city of Sierra Vista. The Pass is located up in the Huachuca mountains via a narrow and twisty dirt road. Spent the rest of the day at church and then in the evening was called by a freind who just got back from San Carlos, MX. He brought back fresh oysters and crabs so the family went up to his house (on a mountain side) and had a mini feast. I had given him some money for oysters,so tonite two families will get together for a cookout in Carr Canyon. We will throw the oysters on the grill, wait for them to pop open and add a little fresh squeezed lime juice (I like a bit of hot sauce as well). Can't wait. :)

Sounds like a good day. Church, dirt riding, family and feast. Doesn't get much better than that ! AZ has got some good desert mountain riding sounds like. If I ever get to AZ to ride, or you get to CO to ride, let's connect.

Deadlifting bikes does not sound like a fun way to ride!!

Sounds like a good skid plate is a requirement!!

Has anyone done it and not had to do the bike deadlift??


I've ridden 5MOH and it is hands down the most difficult/technical trail I have ever ridden. It is also a trials riders paradise....however, I didn't have to lift my bike over anything. There were areas where we had spotters in case you flipped over or fell off a small ledge on to the redrock. I am not underestimating this is difficult, but it is very doable and is fun if you are in the right frame of mind :D

The key is to do it with an appropriate sized group (3-5 is optimal), and make sure that everyone in the group is very competent. You also need to ensure your bike is totally prepared....skid plate, handguards, pipeguard, etc. I have very fond memories of the one time I rode's been 3 years now so I think my memory is faded enough that I want to do it again :)

Hey mknight, Let me know if you want to go do FMOH again sometime. I may be dumb or crazy, but I'd like to try it, especially if I could find a group who's done it before to go with me.

Competent rider here who's not afraid of scratching his bike or pushing/carrying if needs be.


I'm going to ride it sometime. I;m hoping within a few weeks. It may be on my moutain bike though....I'll let you know if I go.

Hey Phil, You back from Japan? How was the trip/training?

Either way. Mountain bike or dirt bike I'd be interested. I've got a mtb race up near Wells, NV on the 24th, and I'm planning on mtbing in Park City while "attending" a CE conference June 8-11. So I don't know when I can break free, but let me know when you plan to go.


The trip was amazing. Japan is very cool and has a bunch of different types of bikes that we don't have in the US.

I don't know when I'm going to go to 5MOH. I was thinking I might try memorial weekend, but it's not looking so good right now. I really wish I could borrow a trials bike to use at 5MOH, but I doubt anyone would be so nice :)

Anyway, I'll let you know my plans. We'll definitely hook up this summer.

Hey HR, is this anywhere near Moab? We are going out there next weekend and are always looking for new terrain.

Yeah, about an hour or so out of Moab by truck. Go west on I70 past Green River, UT to the first Vegas Southbound highway, go South to the park entrance, turn West in to the Swell. You'll see the Swell - looks like the Flatirons on steroids. Get a map in Moab and definetly do the blue/orange trails South of 5MOH (Iron Canyon). It's a hoot. Definetly do a post on your trip. We're rooting that your WR is flawless.


I'm going to ride it sometime. I;m hoping within a few weeks. It may be on my moutain bike though....I'll let you know if I go.

5MOH is a lot of fun but can be very grueling on a motorcycle. Doing it on a mountain bike wouldn't even be close to fun. I guarantee you that you would be pushing, lifting, or pulling your bike about 80-90% of the time. There are several silty sandy wash bottoms and vertical climbs that wouldn't be capable on a mountain bike. Just a word to the wise....take your motorized bike, not your pedal bike, if you want to have any fun.

I just returned from a trip to FMOH and the San Rafael Swell and loved every minute of it- but you need to know what you're getting into and you should be a VERY competent rider as someone could get seriously hurt on FMOH. One of the guys in our group this year broke his wrist on it last year and had to walk out. Lucky it wasn't an ankle. We started with a group of 25 on the red trail and about 15 tried the fmoh. About six of us finished and I got through w/o any help from anyone. Going up the steps was definitely the most challenging section and this is where teamwork comes in handy for guys too whipped to get their bikes up themselves. There were some other challenging climbs out of deep sand, etc..., but the most fatiguing part of the trail is the endless first gear riding over tight and twisty drops, steps, etc... A good group of riders can motor through with little or no lifting, etc... Go to Ruxton Noble's website for a good idea of the trail and look at the "spodefest" picture sections for some good pictures of the steps. I loved it and will definitely be back soon to run it both ways.

That web site is awesome and says it all. For 5MOH, that's what I saw for the first half mile before bailing out. What a collection of photographs throughout the site !!!

My buddy and I rode 5moh on XR 600's. I puked half way. However, I'm blaming the Old Crow from the night before.

Some history: The five miles of hell is actually 8-9 miles of hell. You can take the easy way out via an escape route. I would not recommend it for MTB. You will be walking more than riding. This trail was fought to keep open with the BLM and their crap by the Bookcliff Rattlers MC, the Sage Riders MC and the UTMA. We are currently meeting with the BLM to enter into a cooperative managment agreement for this trail and others in the area. Too bad the BLM closed over half of the trails on this system (Temple Mt System) which I refer to the Dick Brass Trail system out of respect to Mr. Brass who had the vision and insight many years ago for this system.

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