Saturday, April 11, 2015

Posey's Trail Road, or Thank Goodness for a Paved State Highway.

State Highway 95 was a primitive dirt road from the 1930s until 1976. It became an official paved highway, and was named the Bicentennial Highway to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the birth of the United States (1776-1976).   Until 95 was fully extended, the only other way to travel through the Comb Ridge was via Posey's Trail Road (CR 240).  The graded dirt road basically travels up one side of the Ridge, along the top, and then winds down the other side of the Ridge.  We almost made it through, except for one section that made me say, "Oh Hell No!!!", and you'll see why in my photos.  At first my husband was, "Oh, we can make it."; then later on agreed that he would have, more than likely, killed his vehicle.

I was telling my friend Amy (yes, school teacher Amy) about it, and her story was, "My dad was one of the men that worked on maintaining that road.  It was not unusual to see the fathers driving the RV, or truck pulling a camping trailer; the wives and children would be walking the road behind the vehicles."  Here's a big hint, 4WD with high clearance, skid plate and independent suspension if you intend on trying CR 240 out yourself from starting point (South Cottonwood Road - CR 277) to ending point on State Highway 95.

William Posey was a Paiute who made sure that settling in San Juan County would not be easy for any white person; whether rancher or pioneer, Mormon or non-Mormon.  The trail is named after him as this was the final trail he attempted to make his escape on in 1923, during the "Last Indian War".  If interested in this history, one book you can purchase is "Posey, The Last Indian War" by Dr. Steve Lacy and Pearl Baker.  There is also a small write up in  the locally published book, "They Came to Grayson".

Even though I try to put some historical research into my posts now and then, I want to make it more about the adventure itself, so here we go...

Posey's Trail Road (CR 240) can be reached via South Cottonwood Road (CR 228); make a left onto the road one mile from when you first enter CR 228.  It is quite a scenic drive, many an ATV trail to the left and right sides, and a couple of creative camping sites.

At 2.1 miles, look to the right and here is Posey's Trail version of "Balancing Rock"; at first it blends into its own sandstone background, but examine more closely to see the huge rock on top of that small "neck".

Look down into the canyon on the left when you reach mile mark 3.4, there is a large "amphitheatre" off on the left side; as far as I can make out, there are no ruins inside.

Here's the first of those "creative campsites" I mentioned earlier.

Mile mark 5.6 is truly an awesome sensation; first there is the "creative campsite", it took someone a lot of time and effort to create it, and thank you whoever you are!  Then there is the scenery that opens up before you at this campsite, Comb Wash.  Oh, I'm not done yet with the spectacular.

Mile mark 8.0 there is a split in the road; the left continues on straight, while the right dips down and around....left trail first and don't reset the odometer yet! About 3 to 4/10ths of a mile, stop and walk out to one of ledges...Comb Wash below, Comb Ridge stretching down to the south.  Oh, and take a good listen; silence, nothing but silence.

The trail ends at mile mark 9.0, a few primitive campsites and wonderful views of Black Mesa Butte to the south, the Abajo Mountains to the north.

Now to see where that trail to the right gets "Oh Hell No!" is where.  It will only be 2/10ths of a mile before you see a sign post...STOP!!!  The road ahead is, well there isn't any road anymore; it's a deep dry wash.  Look to your left and you'll see the trail actually continues up a steep incline; just relax, lean back and get ready to say, "Oh look, I can see only sky".  It levels off for a bit, goes around the dry wash and then back down again.  Turn the corner and get ready to say, "OMFG!!! Oh Hell No!!!"; unless you're ready with the decked out 4WD, then it'll be, "Yeeee Hawwww!!!".

Welcome to the rocky part, and I mean rockin' and rollin' part, of Posey's Trail.

Roy trying to convince me that it's not that bad.

View before the rocky road curves down.

The dirt trail winding down the side of the Comb Ridge.

...and this is me saying, "Oh Hell No!", walking back up to our vehicle.  Roy and I have traveled some pretty rough trails, but sometimes you just have to know your limit; or should I say, the limitations of your vehicle.

Returning the way we had driven in, we stopped in Blanding for a well deserved dinner at the new Chinese/Thai restaurant,Wonderful Gourmet.   Of course, as soon as we got home, we began plotting out our newest adventures.

Mary Cokenour


  1. There are a lot of sites along the southern part of the "trail" I hope to be investigating the area more when the temperature rises

    1. That so called "rocky" part is no big deal very easy you where almost to the top