Canyonlands NP

We were able to get only one overnight backcountry permit on the White Rim Road for October 20 to 21. The 100-mile White Rim Road loops around and below the Island in the Sky mesa top, and this road was on our bucket-list of adventures. The White Rim Road was constructed in the 1950’s by the Atomic Energy Commission to gain access to the uranium deposits in this area. However, the mines produced very little uranium and were soon abandoned. The road gets its name because it traverses the top of White Rim Sandstone, this is the layer of rock that sits right below the mesa of Island in the Sky. We started our adventure on the Mineral Springs switchbacks and drove along the Green River to the Labyrinth campsites, our stop for the night. The road along the Green River was very narrow with a drop off into the river. If you have a fear of heights, you might want to skip this drive. We made it to our campsite and set up camp next to the Green River, a spectacular setting and so surreal. We enjoyed a beautiful sunset before heading to bed. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading

Backpacking in the Needles – Canyonlands NP

Day 1

Our backpacks are packed and ready to go, we leave at 8:30am to drive over 80 miles to The Needles District of Canyonlands NP to begin our hike for two days. We had to carry-in over 15 lbs of water because there is no water available in this area of the Park. We started at the Elephant Hill Trailhead to hike just over 3 miles to our campsite (CP1) in Chesler Park. The signature features in The Needles are the colorful sandstone spires hundreds of them poking up from the desert floor, and as we hiked along the trail these rock pinnacles heavily banded in red, white, orange and pink dominated the views in all directions. We were happy to reach the grassy meadows of Chesler Park and our campsite, CP1, after scrambling over rocks and through steep, narrow cracks between massive sandstone slabs. Continue reading

Dead Horse Point SP and Canyonlands NP

We left Durango yesterday in the rain and arrived at the KOA in Moab where we will be staying for a week. Today we are going to explore Canyonlands National Park and on the way we stopped to see Dead Horse Point State Park, situated on a high plateau at an elevation of about 6,000 feet. According to one legend, the point was once used as a corral for wild mustangs. Cowboys herded them across the narrow neck of land, only 30 yards wide, and onto the point. They were fenced off with branches and brush creating a natural corral surrounded by precipitous cliffs dropping into the Colorado River, 2,000 feet below. Cowboys then chose the horses they wanted and left the others to die. Thus, the name of the park! However, Dead Horse State Park provides a breathtaking panorama of Canyonlands’ sculptured pinnacles and buttes of Island in the Sky District, walking along the East Rim and West Rim Trails. This is perhaps Utah’s most spectacular State Park, well worth a visit. Continue reading