BC: Day 1 Drove from Green Valley to Kayenta (Hampton Inn) Day 2 Visited Monument Valley, drove to Mexican Hat, visited Natural Bridges NM (Hat Rock Inn) Day 3 Drove to Moab, visited Arches NP (Moab Valley Inn) Day 4 Visited Canyonlands NP, drove to Torey (Best Western Capitol Reef Resort) Day 5 Visited Capitol Reef NP Day 6 Drove National Scenic Byway 12 to Bryce Canyon (Best Western Bryce Canyon Grand) Day 7 Visited Bryce Canyon NP Day 8 Hiked in Bryce Canyon, NP. Drove to Zion NP (Best Western Zion Park Inn, Springdale) Day 9 Hiked in Zion NP Day 10 Drove to Las Vegas (Stratosphere) Visited newly constructed O'Callaghan Tillman Bridge Day 11 Drove to Rio Vista | UTAH CANYON LANDS ROUTE (April 2011)
FC: OUR ROAD TRIP TO SOUTHERN UTAH'S CANYON LANDS (April 2011)
1: MONUMENT VALLEY From Kayenta, AZ, we traveled north on 163 to the Navajo Tribal Park which provides the most enduring and definitive images of the American West. The isolated red mesas and buttes surrounded by empty, sandy desert have been filmed and photographed countless times over the years for movies and brochures. The valley is the last remnants of the sandstone layers that once covered the entire region. Most of the Navajo Tribal Park (Monument Valley) can only be seen from the Valley Drive, a 17 mile dirt road. The road is dusty, and rough. The surface is not improved too much in order to increase business for the many Navajo guides. We were not allowed to hike away from the road. | Valley Drive | Buying a suncatcher | Camel Butte | Three Sisters | Approaching Monument Valley
2: Horseman, north view | The Thumb | West Mitten Butte | Yei Bi Chei and Totem Pole | Elephant Butte
3: More Monument Valley
4: Natural Bridges National Monument features three huge, stream-carved natural bridges as well as a concentration of Anasazi Indian ruins. The bridges can be seen from overlooks along a 9 mile paved loop road through the monument. We drove the scenic drive and hiked out to Owachomo Bridge and beyond. Getting to Natural Bridges from Mexican Hat meant crossing a three mile stretch of gravel with steep drop offs. | Nail biting 3 mile stretch of gravel road | Overlook | Mexican Hat Rock | Owachomo Bridge | Kachina Bridge | Sipapu Bridge | Horsecollar Ruins
5: Arches National Park--we really liked this place. The Park lies atop an underground salt bed that is basically responsible for the arches, spires, balanced rocks, sandstone fins, and eroded monoliths. Our first stop was Park Avenue. The hiking trail descended into a spectacular canyon and continued down the wash to courthouse towers. The rock formations were amazing. Our next hike was a moderately strenuous hike over open slickrock to Delicate Arch. It must be the most popular hike as there were lots of hikers. The rest of the day, we drove the 40 mile round trip park road with stops at all the major sights. | All pictures on this page taken on Park Avenue hike
6: Delicate Arch 46 ft high, 35 ft wide | Pictographs found on Delicate Arch hike | Balanced Rock | Cove Arch
7: CANYONLANDS is Utah's largest national park. The park is divided into four districts. We visited two--Island in the Sky, and the Maze. It rained in the morning so our hiking was limited. We did hike out to the Mesa Arch and Upheaval Dome. The terrain is diverse, made up of mesas, canyons, and buttes | Mesa Arch, Island in the Sky
8: Walking along the rim | Upheaval Dome--is it a meteor crater?? | CANYONLANDS (continued) | Green River overlook
9: CAPITOL REEF NATIONAL PARK The waterpocket fold defines this park. A nearly 100 mile long warp in the earth's crust. The uplift contains numerous eroded basins or pockets that hold rainwater and snowmelt. We drove the scenic drive, then the unpaved road into Capitol George. We hiked past the Pioneer Registry up to The Tanks | The Castle | Capitol Reef and Henry Mountains | Cliffs of Capitol Reef
10: CAPITOL REEF (continued) | Hike in Capitol George | Hickman Bridge
11: SCENIC BYWAY 12, a 124 mile route, has been designated a National Scenic Byway an All-American Road qualifying it as a destination within itself. We first stopped at the Anasazi State Park museum to see the Indian ruins. We probably spent more time than we should have on the Hole In The Rock Road, a 50 mile rough, washboard like dirt road that ended with a hike to Peek-a-boo Gulch and Spooky Canyon. After spending 5 long hours on that adventure, we had no time to see the rest of the sites on scenic route 12.
12: SCENIC BYWAY 12 (continued) | Anasazi Indian ruins | Peek-a-Boo Gulch | Spooky Canyon | dinosaur tracks ??
13: BRYCE CANYON--snow our first day here but the gusty wind made it seem even colder. It was too cold to hike so we spent the day taking pictures along the scenic 18 mile (one way) drive, stopping at all 14 overlooks. Each overlook had an amazing view of the canyon's fins and hoodoos. | The Hunter, a prominent hoodoo at Agua Canyon
14: Natural Bridge | BRYCE CANYON (continued)
15: Most photographed formation, Thor's Hammer | BRYCE CANYON, day 2, beautiful sunshine
16: Beautiful hike into the canyon | BRYCE CANYON (continued) the hike
17: ZION NATIONAL PARK reminded us of Yosemite with its massive rock formations. Coming into Zion NP from the east on the Zion-Mt Carmel highway we went through an amazing one mile long tunnel. Driving through the park is limited--there is a free shuttle system that runs along the six mile- long scenic drive and provides access to all the trailheads. We hiked both days we were there.
18: free park shuttle | Virgin River | ZION (continued)
19: A walk on the bridge | view from the bridge of Hoover Dam | HOOVER DAM AND NEW MEMORIAL BRIDGE