From our base camp at Horsethief Campground, we were able to easily visit both Dead Horse Point and Canyonlands. So, after breakfast on Wednesday morning, off we went to Canyonlands. This is another one of those places that, like Dead Horse Point, I’d never really heard of before we got to the area. It can only be because there is just so much incredible landscape around here that this National Park is no better known than it is.
Again, photos just don’t begin to do justice to the majesty. But, if you look closely, you’l see that that canyon goes down a looooong way.
We started our visit with a talk by Ranger Anna on the cowboy history of the area. Amazing to think that anyone thought this would be good cattle land. The forage is all up on top and the water is all down below. But they did seem to think it was a good place to grow beeves and many gave it a go. Following the talk, we headed to the end of the road to take one of the scenic trails. When we got there, we were just in time for another Ranger talk. This time it was about the geology of the area. Fascinating stuff.
We must have stopped at 5 or 6 places to take little photo-op hikes. Two photos up, in the picture taken under the arch, you might be able to see the other arch, although my angle wasn’t very good. In the rocks on the left-hand side of the photo, the last outcropping on the right is Washerwoman Arch. If I’d been a little more to the right, you’d have been able to see air through it. That photo contains 2 of the 3 arches in Canyonlands.
Besides the scenery from up above, Canyonlands offers another attraction that we didn’t take, not being properly equipped. There’s a road at the bottom of the canyon, the White Rim Road. It’s 100 miles long and has campsites along the way. It’s suitable for either mountain bikes or 4WD vehicles. It’s estimated that a mountain bike tour would take 5-6 days and 4WD tour 2-3. But, before you can drive along the road, you have to get down there. Here’s a shot of a portion of the road down.
We would love to rent a Jeep or something and do this road someday. The road is narrow and steep at this point and you really, really have to hope you don’t meet another rig going the other way until you’re either all the way up or all, the way down.
Definitely put Canyonlands on your agenda when you’re touring this area. You won’t be disappointed.
Big Bend CG to Horsethief CG with lots of driving around Dead Horse SP and Canyonlands NP: 106 miles
Total to-date: 3,446 miles.