After a great stay in Valley of Fire, we drove about a hundred miles northeast to the tiny community of Virgin on Friday, ten miles from the west gate to Zion National Park. We booked a month’s stay at Zion River RV Resort to give us plenty of time to explore the area.
While not as spectacular as the Valley of Fire, the view out our front windshield is still pretty cool.
On Sunday we decided to take a drive up Kolob Reservoir Road, which weaves its way in and out of Zion NP land while rising up into the mountains.
We passed a sign that said that the road ahead was unplowed during the winter. Since almost all the snow was gone, we drove passed the sign and continued up into the mountains. At one point the road was completely covered and the Jeep got the opportunity to use four wheel drive in the snow!
After seventeen miles we came to a gate with a sign stating the road ahead was closed to all traffic except snowmobiles. We could have gone around the gate and continued, but thought it would be difficult to explain to a ranger how we didn’t understand the wording on the sign and picture of a jeep surrounded by a circle with a line through it. So we turned around and headed back down the mountain. We’ll return to this spot in a couple of weeks to see if all the snow is gone.
On the way down we were treated to a view of a herd of elk by the side of the road. They must not see many vehicles, as they were very nervous as we slowly approached. We sat for a few minutes and watched them as they race across the road.
After crossing the road, the herd re-assembled with many of them kepting a sharp eye on us.
Going back down the road we were treated to many beautiful vistas of southern Utah.
About half way back down we came to a dirt road going to the west called Smith Mesa Road, so we decided to see where it led.
Turns out the Smith Mesa Road makes a long loop of about twenty miles around the mesa then steeply returns to Virgin.
There were a number of small ranches on the mesa and a number of signs advertising land for sale. But the thought of driving at least ten miles on this dirt road just to get back to a paved road lowered the appeal of living on the mesa for us.
Tomorrow we head into the park for some hiking. More on that later . . .