We’ve been very busy during our two week stay here in Moab. David, Karen, and Cody (He’s a hiking dog!) are staying near us and have joined us for a number of adventures. We’re behind again in our blogging so this post and the next will give a summary of what we have been up to. Most of the hikes we did are repeats of ones we did in past visits, so if you would like more detail on one we describe now, put the name in the search engine so you can read a more detailed blog about that hike.
This hike begins at a trailhead along Kane Springs Road. It is a nice 4 mile round trip going up and back in a mostly dry wash.
Hunter Canyon Arch comes into view about a half mile into the hike. It sits up next to the south rim of the canyon at an angle that makes it a challenge to see through its opening.
Two miles up the wash there is a fork in the trail that makes for a good spot to turn around. A neat opening in the rocks is in view up the right fork.
One afternoon the five of us took a Jeep ride north of Moab to visit the ghost town of Sego. The town is about 40 miles north of Moab. We took US 191 to I-70, went west on I-70 just five miles, and went north on Thompson Canyon Road. The Sego Canyon site is famous for its panels of Ute and Fremont Indian petroglyphs/pictographs and Barrier Canyon style pictographs.
A few miles north on Sego Canyon Road is the remains of the town of Sego. Formerly an important eastern Utah coal mining town, Sego was inhabited from about 1910–1955. Today the only remaining structures are some crude dugouts and the walls of the company store.
HIKING IN THE NEEDLES DISTRICT OF CANYONLAND NP
We’ve hiked a long loop trail in the Needles district of Canyonland twice during previous visits and were anxious to return. It is a long drive to the visitor center (75 miles from Moab) and the hike is over ten miles so we were up and on the road early that morning. It is too long a day to leave Cody alone so David and Karen did some exploration closer to town.
Driving past the visitor center we turned left toward a campground, then right on to a dirt road leading to the Elephant Hill Trailhead.
The road ends (except if you have a permit to continue on a rough Jeep road) at the parking area for the trailhead.
We have hiked this trail before so we knew it went steeply up into the rocks right from the start.
This trail is never really very flat, but after the initial climb it goes through some “fairly” level slickrock as it passes two interesting rock formations.
The trail narrows in a few spots . . .
. . . then heads steeply down into a wash.
This is where we made a mistake. Our goal for this hike was to get to the Druid Arch. The sign visible in the photo below indicates distance to points if you continue straight ahead. From previous hikes we knew that if we continued straight there would be signs to the Druid Arch, so that’s what we did. Later, we figured out that we should have turned left at this point and continued up the wash to the arch.
Once up through a couple of very steep climbs, we entered an open area called Chesler Park.
There is a great loop trail around Chesler Park that we have hiked twice. But since our objective was the Druid Arch, we followed the signs pointing to it on the left side of the loop. We knew something was amiss when the mileage to the arch increased on the sign from the one we passed before the wash. We had hiked over a mile since the first sign and the miles to the arch had increased instead of decreased. How could this be?
About a mile down on the Chesler Park trail, we came to another sign that indicated the Druid Arch was down a trail to the left. We took that turn but it headed to the north, while we thought the arch was to the south. Hmm . . .
We continued on that trail down some steep slickrock and into a narrow rough canyon.
As we approached the bottom of the canyon we decided that the hike was getting a bit long and we were not sure just how far it was to the arch, so we made the decision to turn around.
While we were a bit disappointed not to reach the arch, the scenery on this part of the trail was outstanding.
We returned to the Jeep after almost eleven miles tired but pleases with the hike. Since we didn’t reach the arch, we’ll have to return next year for another hike in this beautiful area.
Look for Part 2 in our next post . . .