Blue's Boots

Andrea's adventures on the trail…

Utah – October 2013

Utah intro photo

I spent an incredible two weeks in October hiking through Southern Utah with my best hiking buddy Frani 🙂  Unfortunately this coincided with the federal government shutdown so the National Parks weren’t open part of the time we were there, but we were able to get into Bryce NP, Canyonlands NP, and Arches NP.

The shutdown actually forced us to consider other areas to hike beyond the national parks, and I have to say that UTAH ROCKS IT’S STATE PARKS!!!!!  Anywhere else in the country, and these would be considered national parks, IMO.

There are A LOT of photos below, simply because it’s impossible to condense everything we saw and did during these two wonderful weeks. I’ve been all over the world (except Africa) and there is no place on earth like Utah’s canyon country. Be patient with letting the photos load, it’s worth it!

~~~ Andrea

Uinta Mountains / Wardsworth Trail and Bridal Veil Falls

A huge thanks to my cousins for putting us up (or putting up with us!) near Provo, UT. We spent a day hiking at Hobble Creek Canyon on the Wardsworth Trail, perfect timing for fall colors. We also went to Bridal Veil Falls in Provo Canyon for a little scramble near the waterfall, followed by In-N-Out Burgers, the only way to finish off a good day of hiking 🙂

Red Canyon near Bryce NP

The weather was a bit too cold for my comfort in a tent, so we splurged and got a hotel in Panguitch, UT, for a few days in the Bryce area. We spent 2 days hiking in the Red Canyon area, which is spectacular in its own right. On the first day we covered the the Arches Trail, part of the Losee Canyon Trail, and then hiked out to Red Rock Canyon via the Thunder Mountain Trail, which was wonderful in the late afternoon/evening light.

The second day we hiked from the Visitor Center (closed, thanks to our very dysfunctional government) along the Pink Ledges, Hoodoo, and Birdseye Trails. In the afternoon we Hiked out the Cassidy Trail (a.k.a. Butch Cassidy hid out here for a while), to Ledge Point, and then down the Rich Trail… a very gorgeous day!

Bryce Canyon National Park

Bryce Canyon National Park is like nothing else on earth 🙂  We hiked a good part of the Fairyland Loop and had a hard time staying on trail because of constantly looking up and around at all the hoodoos and rock formations. The colors are incredible… definitely something I want to go back to and explore more, it’s a very special place 🙂

Kodachrome and Petrified Forest State Parks

On the day we drove from the Bryce Canyon area to Escalante, we stopped at Kodachrome State Park and Petrified Forest State Park. Both are very worth the time to see. Kodachrome S.P. has a great view of Bryce Canyon NP from the distance, and has some wonderful rock formations and colors, as well as Shakespeare Arch. Petrified Forest S.P. is amazing with the big rounds of petrified wood in rainbow colors spread all around the park. Our favorite was an extra back loop off the main trail, steep and rocky, with some wonderful pieces of petrified wood and a great view down into a canyon. We stayed in wonderful little cabins at Escalante Outfitters.

Lower Calf Creek Falls

The next day we hiked out to Lower Calf Creek Falls in the Calf Creek Recreation area with a wonderful couple from Germany that we met the night before over a couple of beers. It’s a gorgeous and easy hike out to the falls, through beautiful canyonland with cliffs, blooming flowers, flowing water, and good friends. Just the drive from Escalante to Calf Creek was wonderful.

Hole-In-The-Rock Road ~ Devil’s Garden

The store of the Hole-In-The-Rock Road is incredible, read up on it sometime 🙂  It’s a 55-mile-long dirt road near the town of Escalante that goes into the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument area. About 13 miles down the road is an area called Devil’s Garden, and it’s a big rock playground filled with amazing rock formations, colors, and textures waiting to be explored.

Goblin Valley State Park

We left Escalante and drove through Grand Staircase National Monument to the east. Heading over a 9600-foot pass, we stopped and took in spectacular aspen trees in full autumn color. Passing through Capitol Reef National Park, we stopped briefly and saw ancient petroglyphs, then on to Goblin Valley State Park.

Goblin Valley S.P. is, well… goblin-ish!  It’s a freaky valley filled with stumpy rock formations that defy gravity, and are millions of years old. It’s a naturally-formed playground for both kids and adults. Frani and I decided to head to the far side of the valley and up into the far walls, and we had a great time exploring and scrambling. Definitely a must-see place for anyone venturing to Utah… GO!

That night we found a beautiful camp spot on BLM land just outside of Goblin Valley and had a wonderful (but cold) evening with wide open spaces all around us.

Little Wildhorse Slot Canyon

Just a couple of miles from Goblin Valley and close to where we camped is Little Wildhorse Slot Canyon. We spent the morning exploring the canyon, which is a non-technical slot canyon that anyone can handle, even toddlers and dogs. It was crowded, being a Saturday and the fact that the National Parks were shut down, but we still had a wonderful time in the canyon. We went as far as we could without having to take off shoes and socks and wade through water. Technically, if you don’t mind getting a bit wet, you can connect Little Wildhorse Canyon with Bell Canyon for an 8-mile route, which I’ll go back and do another day.

Dead Horse Point State Park

We had reservations (thank goodness!) at Dead Horse Point State Park near Canyonlands NP. Amazing campsite, and just as amazing area to explore. The point looks down on a huge bend in the Colorado River, and the colors of the canyon walls are fantastic. As I’ve said before, if this were anywhere else but surrounded by national parks, DHP itself would be a national park.

Canyonlands National Park

We spent a day at Canyonlands NP, first hiking out to Mesa Arch, which was crowded but very beautiful. Next we went to the end of the road and listened to a ranger talk about geology, and just as he was finishing up, Frani spotted Jenny and Toni who we had hiked with near Escalante several days earlier. We had a great time hiking together out to Grand View Point, taking time for a fun photo shoot with all of us jumping on ledges and off of rocks.

Canyonlands is vast, and we only spent one day here. Next time, I’ll take more time to explore and hike through these incredible canyons.

Arches National Park

Arches National Park is a world of its own… like stepping onto another planet of a very awesome variety 🙂 We spent a full day here, taking in as much as possible before heading home. One could simply drive through Arches NP without every getting out of the car and be in awe.

We started by driving to the end, in the Devil’s Garden area (there are sure a lot of areas in Utah named Devil’s Garden!). From there we hiked to Tunnel Arch, Pine Tree Arch, and then Landscape Arch. From there we decided to go on a more primitive trail up to Partition Arch, which I’m so glad we did because it was my favorite part of the day (a lot less crowded too).

After getting back to the car, we backtracked through the park stopping at the Fiery Furnace viewpoint, hiked a short way out to a viewpoint for Delicate Arch, and then stopped and did the short hike to North and South Windows and Turret Arch. Last but not least, a quick stop to take photos of Balanced Rock.


One response to “Utah – October 2013

  1. Carrie Trojan says:

    love the photos and so glad you made the absolute best of your trip!!!! Fun for me watching how much fun you 2 had!!!

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