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This technically challenging trail follows the old indian trail from Uravan to saucer basin, a small collapsed site dome. The trail climbs along the south rim of the San Miguel River canyon, with great views of the hanging flume and the confluence of the San Miguel and Dolores rivers. It can be ridden as a lollipop overlooking the confluence, or as a loop featuring a very technical downhill into Saucer Basin and returning along CR Y-11.
The first section of the ride parallels the back (S) fenceline of the old Uravan town dump site for nearly half a mile. As the fence, ditch, and trail begin to descend toward some small cliffs, watch carefully for the trail to split from the fenceline and head southwest.
The next 3 miles feature a very technical singletrack climbing along the Kayenta Formation rimrock as the vertical cliffs of the Windgate Formation grow larger below. There are numerous great views of the remnants of the hanging flume on the opposite side of the canyon, which was constructed to bring water to placer claims downstream. Great views come with great cliff exposure in some places, so be careful.
As the trail turns southward, the main trail crosses a dry drainage and proceeds south uphill. A side trail leads west from here along the rim to overlook the confluence with a few fun little slick rock sections. Check out the views and either return the way you came for a fun exciting descent, or get back on the main trail and crank up the hill some more.
When the trail tops out, check the view of the Dolores river canyon and Saucer Basin before you begin descending into it. The trail is hard to find as it begins to descend, but you'll get funneled into the correct route as the Kayenta shelf narrows and gets very technically challenging. When the shelf finally disappears into the jumbled basin, watch for loose switchbacks, scary steeps, and rock gardens which will eventually drop you back onto another abandoned mine road leading back down to CR Y-11. Take Y-11 back to the northeast to complete the loop.
(100%)West Bench Trail