Kaibab National Forest – North Rim Grand Canyon

September is the perfect month to visit the North Rim of the Grand Canyon because the fall foliage is so colorful. Our first trip was the drive out to Sublime Point on a 4WD road. The drive begins a couple miles from the North Rim’s Grand Canyon Lodge, along a dirt road in the Kaibab National Forest. About 4 miles in we came to an impressive meadow, where bright-green ferns and deep-orange Ponderosas mark the passage and many young-quaking Aspens. At about 12 miles, we stopped at the first view we could see of the Grand Canyon. The next 4 miles we were in the woods and then it opens up with sheer drop-offs close in on both sides of the road, and Point Sublime at the end. Stunning, spectacular, sensational, and sublime are the words that come to mind on our first view from Point Sublime. We were sorry that we could not get camping permits here but we stayed and enjoyed lunch taking in the amazing sight of another of Mother Nature’s handiwork, the Grand Canyon in all its glory. We left Point Sublime and looked for a campsite in the Kaibab National Forest on the way to the Rainbow Rim Trail. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

A Day with EXP – Paria Lookout and Zion Camp

While staying in Kanab we were fortunate to be able to connect with Eric and Andrew, on a mission for EXP Journeys, who were exploring 4WD routes in the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness. Luckily for us they got a flat tire, so we were able to catch up to them before reaching the Paria Canyon Overlook. We stopped here and Andrew took some Drone footage of the red Jeep climbing up some difficult 4WD roads. Then we followed them out to Smokey Mountain Road, designated Route-230 and begins in the small town of Big Water, Utah. We turned onto Route-231 which goes to Warm Creek Bay. Along the way we drove 5 miles through Crosby Canyon, and the smooth texture of the canyon walls was evidence that the canyon was underwater long ago. Crosby Canyon is very narrow in places and the road surface is sandy, this route is tailor made for jeeps, so Andrew was filming us through the narrow slot canyon, great footage! Warm Creek Bay is a terrific fishing location, with a large peninsula to set up camp. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Coyote Buttes South Hike

The Witch’s Hat

Coyote Buttes North which holds The Wave is well known, but there is another nearby area that has just as fascinating formations and is much easier to get permits, Coyote Buttes South. Today we got permits to visit Coyotes Buttes South, located in just a small part of the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness. It supposedly has some of the most visually striking geologic sandstone formations in the world. We drove 11.5 miles to the Cottonwood Cove Trailhead which  accessible only by 4WD vehicle due to extremely sandy conditions. When we finally arrived there was only one couple there, we had the whole place to ourselves as we explored all the sandstone formations. Such as, the Control Tower, the Witch’s Hat or Sea Horse, and the Teepees in the distance. We followed the Alltrails map so we wouldn’t get lost in the middle of Coyote Buttes South, and we finally made it back to the Jeep. This is definitely a must visit area and it would be fun to come back and camp for 2 nights. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Florence Falls, Gunsight Lake and Piegan Pass Hikes

Two more wonderful day hikes that we had not done before while at Glacier National Park, the first was to Gunsight Lake from the Gunsight Pass Trailhead on the Going-to-the-Sun Road east of Logan Pass. The trail started in a  gradual descent for about a mile when we came to Deadwood Falls, a beautiful 10-foot waterfall with deep crystal clear pools of water above and below the falls. We continued on for about 2 miles to the St Mary River and the beautiful valley where we were hoping to spot a moose that some hikers had seen earlier. No luck this time. A little further along we came to an opening in the canopy that provided us with one of the most magnificent views in Glacier. In the foreground is an open grassy meadow alongside Mirror Pond  and framing the background is Mount Jackson, Gunsight Mountain and Fusillade Mountain, as well as Gunsight Pass. Continue reading

Gunsight Pass Trail Backpacking Trip

It was 3 am and dark, when I got up to go to the backcountry office in Glacier National Park to try and get permits for a 3 day backpacking trip to Gunsight Pass Trail. I arrived just before 4 am and I was 4th in line to wait until the office opened at 8 am. Then it started to rain while we were all huddled in our camp chairs trying to keep warm. It was a very long 4 hours but finally the Park Rangers arrived just before 8 am and we began the process of acquiring backcountry permits. I was assured that I was going to be able to get the 3 campsites I wanted, but when it came to my turn the Ranger said that they had sold the one campsite left at Gunsight Lake campground to an employee about 5 minutes before. Change of plans; I got the first night at Sperry Campground, second night at Lake Wilson Campground and the third night back at Sperry Campground. We started our hike early as it is a steep 6.2 mile climb to reach Sperry Chalet and Campground. Continue reading