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Tenmile Wash – White Wash Sand Dunes – Moab
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Overview
Location

Near Green River, South-Eastern Utah

Sights

Sand Dunes, Red Rock Canyons, Green River

Distance

29.5 miles for full Tenmile Wash

Parking Lot Elevation

4,337 ft

Summit Elevation

3,960 ft

Elevation Gain/Loss

377 ft

Time Required

4-6 hours

Pets

Yes

Fees

No

Water Info

Bring your own water supply as there are no facilities when camping at Whitewash

Best Season

Year Round

Hours

Any

Sun Exposure

Moderate

Trail Condition

Mostly shallow sand with several advanced obstacles

Restrooms

At Tenmile Wash trailhead

Visitor Center

No

Camping

At White Wash Dunes

Food

Closest to Purchase is at Green River

Equipment

N/A

GPS Coordinates: 

Tenmile Trailhead: 38.74626 N, 109.96795 W
White Wash Dunes: 38.79106 N, 110.04277


Driving Directions: 

 


The Trail: 

Whitewash Sand Dunes are a perfect place to camp. There are lots of dunes but not enough to need paddle tires or to only ride at the dunes. I loved riding the near trails then riding the dunes in the evening. Here is a website on info for the dunes. Make sure and review all the rules here before you camp.

http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/moab/recreation/motorized_routes/0.html

There is a VERY large open camping area on a flat above the dunes. There are no services so you need to plan to bring everything you may need.

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These are very beautiful dunes. They are unique because cottonwood trees grow in the middle of sand adding some pretty color in fall and little bits of shade in summer. Here is some of the beautiful terrain of White Wash.

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Around the area there are many different riding trails. Just wandering around I was able to find some beautiful areas. Make sure not to trespass as there is a fair amount of private land. Here is some of the terrain.

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Now the main prize of this area is the Tenmile Wash ride. This is one of my five favorite rides. It is fun with several different terrains and obstacles. This trail should only be done by very experienced riders. There are some crawls and water crossings that should only be done by experienced riders. I also recommend having at least one 4×4 machine. We used it to do the rock crawls and then tow the sport quads up the really bad obstacles. There are areas where if the water is too high you won’t make it all the way to the green river. From beginning to end it is only about a 7 mile difference but the canyon weaves so much that you actually go almost 15 miles. The trail starts out as mostly light sand that is lots of fun to play around in and go fast. You pass lots of cottonwoods that aren’t common in the desert. It makes for a very beautiful canyon!

UPDATE: This canyon has suffered major washouts and is no longer passable all the way to the Green River at Tenmile bottom. You can make it as far as the large water crossing choke point but will not make it much further. You won’t be able to make it all the way so please don’t try so the rest of the canyon can remain open.

The trail follows the wash the entire way and there are lots of good views. I have visited in winter and fall. Take it from me and go in fall. I’m all for cattle but in the winter the cows had completely destroyed the canyon making it unrecognizable from what I experienced in fall. I really couldn’t believe how torn up everything was. Its also just much prettier when all the trees are in bloom.

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There are a few water holes along the way to cool off in if you desire. They are very cold haha.

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Make sure to keep an eye on the weather. In a storm you can be caught in floods and the soil turns into a thick soupy mess. You can see it on our tires here.

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You will come to the really hard but very fun obstacles about ten miles in. There is a pretty deep water crossing that I imagine would give you lots of trouble in spring.

UPDATE: I no longer suggest going further than this point. You can make the water crossing and the shelf climb but will quickly be blocked after that due to severe washouts. You can still hike to Tenmile Bottom for the gorgeous views at the end of the trek.

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After here depending on water levels you may not be able to make it past this point. Even if you can’t make it further this is an amazing ride but the setting at the end makes it worth the extra expelled energy and you may need to help eachother through some spots. I would NOT recommend doing this canyon alone. There are just too many risks. There is a short but very steep rock lip you have to crawl. This is where the 4×4 was very nice. Without it we could not have made it past the water section.

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After these obstacles it is smooth sailing to the shore of the green river. There is lots of vegetation here making it almost seem like you are riding through a tunnel. The setting at the river is absolutely gorgeous with huge cliffs rising above you. Please respect this trail and don’t tear up the beach or abuse the trail in any way so we can all continue using this trail for years to come. We saw lots of kayakers pass by while we were eating lunch as well.

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Here is a video of our most recent trip in the winter. Not as pretty but still a lot of fun.


The Return:

This trail is out and back. You must return the same way you came in and make sure you stay on established routes.


Personal Thoughts:

Like I previously stated this is one of my five favorite rides when done in the fall. I also have to rate it lower since the river at the end was my favorite part and is no longer accessible. The dunes are a great place to camp and it is free to do so. There are relatively few people here. Maybe 30 people were camped when we were there. This is a great place that is much less crowded than nearby Moab. If you like riding ATV’s or Dirt Bikes then Tenmile Wash needs to be on your to-ride list. Just make sure to visit in the fall.

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Difficulty
6.0
Technicality
7.5
Enjoyment
7.0
The Bottom Line

Difficulty is basically the length, duration and stress of the Trek. If the Trek is really long then it will receive a higher rating. If the Trek is short then it won't receive that high of a rating. However, difficulty rating also includes how tired we were at the end of the Trek.

Technicality is how strenuous the Trek is. If there is lots of bouldering or if there is bushwhacking involved then the rating will be higher. Technicality also includes if there are steep inclines or the need for ropes and other equipment.

Enjoyment is strictly how much fun we had doing the Trek. Regardless of how tired and exhausted we were, if we had a ton of fun doing the Trek then it will receive a higher rating.

7.0
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About The Author
Josh1990
I love adventure! I live in Cache Valley, Utah. Do you have questions on any of my Treks? Email me @ joshua.oyler@gmail.com

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