Angel Point – Dirty Devil Overlook

December 12th, 2013
Angel Point View

A view looking southeast from Angel Point over the Dirty Devil River basin. Hiking in February.

Winter hikes are hard to come by in some areas of the country where the snow is flying regularly, but around Hanksville, Utah the snow comes more rarely, and daytime temperatures in winter can be nearly perfect for hiking.

That’s where the Dirty Devil River and Angel Point come into play.   Angel Point is accessed south of Hanksville, Utah on Highway 95 which leads toward Hite Crossing at the Colorado River, and toward highway 276 and Bullfrog Marina at Lake Powell.  View the location of Angel Point on  Google Map.

To access Angel Point you will turn left off of Highway 95 and follow a well graded dirt road.  See this detailed map below, and get more details on this location - HERE.

Angel Point

Angel Point Map of Access Roads

What to do at Angel Point: You can move along the rim for various overlook views of the Dirty Devil River basin or you can descend a trail at Angel Point that leads to the Dirty Devil River and ascends the canyon on the east side.

As always, come prepared with plenty of water, food, and other supplies that would be needed to enjoy a good viewing or hiking experience.  This is some of Utah’s must rugged country and Butch Cassidy and other outlaws used the Dirty Devil River region as one of their favorite hide-outs.  Robber’s Roost, perhaps the most famous hide-out is found north and east of Angel Point and can be accessed via roads that come in on the east side of the Dirty Devil.

Find more information - HERE

Cathedral Valley Utah

December 5th, 2013

Cathedral Valley

An overview of Cathedral Valley. Looking southeast.

Cathedral Valley is a remote district at the northern end of Capitol Reef National Park. This scenic backcountry gem is dominated by southern Utah’s iconic soaring sandstone monoliths scattered throughout the vast high desert. Cathedral Valley is a must-see for photographers and backcountry adventurists.

Cathedral Valley Formations

Key formations in Cathedral Valley

Most visitors tour the 70-mile scenic Cathedral Valley Loop, which requires a high-clearance, four-wheel drive vehicle. About 12 miles east of the visitor center on Highway 24, the Cathedral Valley Loop crosses the Fremont River ford, following Hartnet Road to Cathedral Road/Caineveille Wash Road, and then looping back to Highway 24 about 18.6 miles east of the visitor center. This 58-mile dirt road portion of the Cathedral Valley Loop leads to massive monoliths such as the Walls of Jericho and panoramic overlooks of the Upper and Lower Cathedral Valley.

Hoodoo formations

Hoodoo formations similar to Bryce Canyon

Begin with an eery look into the cowboy past at the Morrell Cabin, located two miles north of the Hartnet Junction. The richly colored Bentonite Hills are the first major geologic sight on the Cathedral Valley Loop, about nine miles past the river ford. These colorful clay hills photograph beautifully in the early morning and evening. A rusted old truck embedded in the mud adds unexpected interested.

Cathedral Valley View

A view from Cathedral Valley toward the Henry Mountains

The Cathedral Valley Loop continues through high desert landscape, accented with lots of sagebrush which makes the perfect hideout for small reptiles and mammals, until the turnoff for the South Desert, where Jailhouse Rock stands impressively.

Cathedral Valley Utah Rocks

A hidden alcove in Cathedral Valley

The pullout for Lower Cathedral Valley is the first of three main overlooks you won’t want to miss along the Cathedral Valley Loop. Next is South Desert Overlook, and Upper Cathedral Valley Overlook which has grand panoramic view of the entire Upper Cathedral Valley landscape and the Waterpocket Fold. The trio of massive monoliths known as the Temples of the Sun, Moon, and Stars are the main attraction of Lower Cathedral Valley. Nearby Glass Mountain, a large gypsum crystal formation is another must-see, along with the Gypsum Sinkhole.

There is a primitive campground just past the Upper Valley Overlook. It’s free, and provides a great home base for multi-day adventures. There are no facilities in the Cathedral Valley backcountry, with the exception of pit toilets, fire rings, and picnic tables at the campground, so come well prepared with adequate supplies. It’s unlikely that you’ll cross paths with anyone else, so be sure to carry plenty of water, food, and emergency supplies such as extra gas, a spare tire, and a shovel. Dress in layers, as even the hottest daytime temperatures can dip significantly at night.

Cathedral Valley is open all year, but weather conditions will determine how accessible it is at any given time. The Fremont River ford is usually dry and rocky, sometimes silty, and accessible most of the year but excessive rain, snow, and run-off can leave this and other roads impassable. The Bentonite clay can become very slippery when wet. Check with the visitor center for current conditions before heading into Cathedral Valley district.

Learn more about Capitol Reef National Park here.

Winter in Capitol Reef Country

November 29th, 2013

Capitol Reef Winter

Winter snows blanket formations at Capitol Reef National Park

Winter is a wonderful time to visit Capitol Reef Country. With elevations ranging from 4,000 to 11,000 feet, you’re sure to find the perfect climate and scenery for your ideal winter adventure. Higher elevations promise lots of snow for cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, and snowmobiling. Lower elevations set ideal conditions for hiking, biking, horseback riding, and off-roading adventures.

x-country skiing utah capitol reef

Cross country skiing offers a great way to traverse the back-country of the Capitol Reef region.

Snowmobiling Utah

Riding snowmobiles in the Capitol Reef back-country can provide access to spectacular scenic overlooks

Capitol Reef National Park is particularly enjoyable in winter, with a light visitor load and gorgeous, occasionally snow-dusted solitude. The mild daytime temperatures at Capitol Reef Country’s lower desert elevations are perfect for winter hiking, biking, horseback riding, wildlife watching, and photography, or simply taking in the scenic beauty and sunny skies.

Check your Capitol Reef trail map to see which trails follow exposed, sunny ridges, and which trails descend into deep, shaded canyons where temperatures will be much colder. Open trails are perfect for winter hiking, and you may even see some wildlife. Mule deer, eagle, hawks, coyotes, foxes and other small animals are typically sighted around Capitol Reef National Park in winter.

Wildlife viewing winter utah

Wildlife are often much easier to spot during winter months.

Winter is also a great time to explore Capitol Reef National Park by car, or for off-roading on rough, unpaved four-wheel drive roads. Highway 24 to Capitol Reef National Park is well maintained, and so is the Scenic Drive that winds through the heart of the park. Even the unpaved roads at lower elevations are pretty accessible in winter. Higher elevation roads and true backcountry roads may be impassible, so be sure to check with park rangers for road conditions. Winter is usually a great time of year to explore remote Cathedral Valley by car or mountain bike, as long as conditions are dry.

The Burr Trail is a great winter road, running from the heart of Capitol Reef National Park to Boulder and beyond. It’s best to make this scenic drive during dry conditions, as the Burr Trail’s renowned switchbacks may be dangerously icy during wet conditions, especially following a winter storm.

Winter is a good time to try ice fishing on one of Boulder Mountain’s high elevation lakes. With elevations up to 11,000 feet, blankets of snow are sure to cover the evergreen pine forests, setting the stage for beautiful solitude. Thousand Lake Mountain and Fish Lake Mountain also offer opportunities for winter fishing, hiking, and snow sports.

Torrey, Bicknell, Teasdale, Grover, and Caineville are just some of the  communities that make a great home base for winter visits to Capitol Reef National Park.  Always check weather conditions before heading out on a winter adventure in Capitol Reef Country, dress in layers, and use common sense when exploring the remote areas. Most of all, enjoy the beauty, peace and solitude of Capitol Reef Country in winter.  Learn more about winter in Capitol Reef Country.