The second half of the Kokopelli Trail is all about gaining, and then losing altitude. Big climbs follow big descents follow big climbs.
From Dewey to the summit of Entrada Bluffs road is an 11 mile grinder. Made more difficult than it needs to be by loose rocks and sand. I think Mike Curiak once used the term “shandy”.
After the gnarly descent through Rose Garden you are climbing once again, this time into the scenic Fisher Valley. Take some deep breaths in the valley because once through it, its time to get serious again. The North Beaver Mesa climb is rhythmic and consistent. But that doesn’t mean it is easy. Combined with the steady pace, and mega views, this was my favorite section of the trail on Saturday.
After a short respite, Gateway road tops out the entire Kokopelli trail, at nearly 8600′. The climbing is on graded dirt, but it’s steep and late in the day. Rest up on the fast windy pavement plunge because waiting at the bottom is La Sal Loop Road.
Long, steep, switchbacks are the final order of the day. They are paved, but that isn’t going to make things any easier with 125 miles already in your legs. The reward is in the views, and the very fact that this climb, is the final climb. Save some gas for La Sal Loop Road, you will need it.