End of an era, the Dewey Bridge, the longest wooden suspension bridge in Utah, destroyed by fire in 2008.
I hope you love history and you’re as fascinated by the ingenuity the people had back in a day as I am. Even though the bridge is gone, the area is still holds other historic stories and is a very popular recreational spot.
My name is Don Clever, founder of CampWildRide.com and creator of the Rhino Zing product line.
In 2017 we did a camping trip to this area and I was fascinated by the history of the Dewey Bridge, The history of the Kokopelli’s Trail, and Exciting and challenging off-road riding trails.
So what’s so special about the Dewey Bridge? The original bridge was constructed in 1916 to span the mighty Colorado River. It was a single lane, only 8 ft across, and marked the longest wooden suspension bridge in the state of Utah and the 2nd longest west of the Mississippi. I am told by my mother I was fortunate enough to have cross this bridge, but I was too young to remember.
Because the bridge was too narrow, a more modern bridge was built next to it and the Dewey Bridge. Dewey Bridge was restored in 2000 for foot and ATV traffic for those wanting to ride the Kokopelli trail. In April of 2008 the bridge was destroyed in a fire caused by a boy playing with matches. Nothing remains except the iron towers and the suspension cables.
As mentioned the Dewey Bridge was once part of the route of the Kokopelli trail. The Kokopelli trail is a 143 mile long off-road route from Loma Colorado to Moab Utah. The trail was created in 1989 and named in honor of its mythic muse, Kokopelli. The section we travel on during our camping trip was from the Dewey Bridge camping area to Fisher Valley, about 20 miles. Sections of this trail are extremely hard, requiring high clearance 4x4 vehicles and a wench. It is challenges like this that make camping trips very exciting.
Speaking of challenging trails, there are three trails in this area that bear mentioning. The first is actually part of the Kokopelli trail called Rose Garden Hill. The tail gets its name because there is one section on a hill that is very steep and has several rock ledges that you much climb (or wench) over. Although the rest of the trail can be a bit rocky, it is tame compared to the actual Hill section.
The second trail is call “Top Of The World”. Rightfully names, this trail starts off from an easy road and quickly become very rocky and bumpy. There are a few section along the trail that present quite a challenge. The trail is just over 3 miles up and at the name implies, it ends at the top of a very high cliff ledge. The view from the top make it all worthwhile. From there you can see Fisher Tower, Titan Tower and look down into Onion Creek valley. Better watch your steps as it is only about 1300 ft. straight down. Going back down was just as challenging as going up, but well worth the ride.
The final trail is the Dolores river overlook trail. This one is very easy but what make is great is the view of the Dolores River once you get to the lookout. There are some side roads off the main road that can make this a more challenging trip.
As you probably guessed, we had a great time on this camping trip and I hope you get the chance to enjoy this area yourself. I shared the history and tragedy of the Dewey Bridge; The long recreational Kokopelli trail; and a few of the many fun and challenging trails in the area.
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This is Don with Camp Wild Ride, and as always, Show us your Wild Side!
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