Posts Tagged ‘hanksville utah’

Solitude in Capitol Reef Country

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

If there’s one thing you’re likely to stumble across in Capitol Reef Country, its peace and quiet. The scenically diverse landscape includes mountains, forests, and high desert defined by unbelievable sandstone formations, cliffs, canyons, lakes, and more—to create the haven of beauty, contrast, and solitude known as Capitol Reef Country.

Fremont River Trail View - Near Torrey, Utah

Capitol Reef Country’s highlands are dominated by mountains, forests and lakes perfect for wildlife viewing, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking. The Henry Mountains are the most remote mountain range on the Colorado plateau, and two million acres ranging from 3,700 feet to over 11,000 feet, you are sure to find a quiet spot. The Fremont River, Fish Lake, Johnson Reservoir, and Boulder Mountain’s high-altitude lakes, not to mention smaller creeks dotted throughout the mountains and forests, offer some of the most peaceful fishing experiences imaginable. Thousand Lakes Mountain, especially in the high alpine country, is renowned for its quiet solitude. Bird watchers can explore any of the quiet backcountry or head to Bicknell Bottoms Wildlife Refuge, so peaceful you never know what you might see.

Cooks Mesa

A hiker explores the Cooks Mesa trail just outside Capitol Reef National Park.

Within Dixie National Forest’s boundaries, Hell’s Backbone and Box Death Hollow Wilderness Area are some of the most remote and peaceful backcountry in Capitol Reef Country. Slickrock desert, pine and aspen forests, sheer vertical sandstone cliffs set the stage for quiet hikes, wildlife watching, and serene fishing in “The Box.”

Slot Canyon - Utah

Exploring one of the many slot canyons within Capitol Reef Country.

The eastern high desert has been carved with canyons, cliffs, gorges, and mesas. Here you’ll find some of the most out-of-this-world landscape you’ll ever see on earth, resembling Mars and the moon. Hike remote North or South Caineville Mesa trails for a quiet, other-worldly experience. The badlands and bentonite hills east of Hanksville are especially remote, and you’re not likely to run into other hikers. There are many quietly beautiful slot canyons waiting to be explored also, like the “Irish Slot Canyons” near Hanksville.

Mt. Ellen - Henry Mountains

Standing on Mt. Ellen at the top of the Henry Mountains with views in all directions.

Even Capitol Reef National Park delivers on solitude—it’s the least visited of Utah’s five national parks, but not because it’s lacking in scenic beauty and things to do. Quite the contrary, in fact; the “Land of the Sleeping Rainbow” is filled with beautiful, colorful contrasts of sandstone cliffs, arid deserts, and verdant riverbanks. Its sheer remoteness is the perfect setting for a quiet, peaceful getaway, especially in winter. Cathedral Valley is one of the most remote backcountry districts in Capitol Reef National Park, a vast, high desert landscape that sets the stage for its iconic sandstone monoliths.

Boulder Mountain - Dark Valley

A mountain lake in the Dark Valley region of Capitol Reef Country on Boulder Mountain.

Wherever you go in Capitol Reef Country, you can rest assured there is a quiet spot waiting just for you.

Learn more about Capitol Reef, The Henry Mountains, Boulder Mountain, and other areas of solitude in Capitol Reef Country.

Goblin Valley State Park

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Goblin Valley

One of the many strange formations in Goblin Valley State Park

One of the more unique places in Utah is Goblin Valley.  This State Park is found just north of Hanksville on Highway 24 and is also a reasonably close drive for visitors staying in Caineville.   How to get there – map.

Goblin Valley State Park

A broad view of the main amphitheater for Goblin Valley State Park

Native Americans and then wandering cowboys were certain the first two come across the unique formation of Goblin Valley State Park. Later in the 1920’s men were searching for a new route between Caineville and Green River and stumbled upon the views of strange-shaped rock formations. Arthur Chaffin who owned the ferry at Hite crossing was with two other men on this trek and he later returned in 1949 to spend several days searching through the area he called Mushroom Valley. In 1964 the state of Utah acquired the land that encompassed Goblin Valley and designated it a state Park.   In 1999 Hollywood released the film Galaxy Quest starring Tim Allen and Sigourney Weaver which featured scenes from Goblin Valley State Park.


A closer view of the hoodoo formations in Goblin Valley

Goblin Valley State Park has been formed by wind and water eroding what is said to be uneven sections of soft and hard sandstone. The softer sandstone is carved away by the common breezes and effects of rain and snow and the harder portions of sediment remain, leaving the mushroom-like formations that populate the park.

Goblin Valley Park

More goblin-like formations inside this Utah State Park

Vegetation: Goblin Valley is located in an arid desert where plants struggle to grow. In the valley itself there the surfaces are hard and water is not easily absorbed into the ground, so plants have a difficult time growing. Mormon tea, Russian thistle, Indian ricegrass and a variety of cacti are some of the plants that manage to survive in this area.

Wildlife: Kangaroo rats, Jackrabbits, kit foxes, and coyotes are some of the animals found here. Pronghorn antelope roam the rangeland around Goblin Valley and scorpions and the midget faded rattler area lso found here.

Park Elevation: 5,000 feet
Hours: 6:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.
Fees: $8.00 (ss of this blog posting)

Irish Slot Canyons

Friday, October 11th, 2013
Blarney Slot Canyon utah

Blarney Slot Canyon is one of the easiest slot canyons to access in Utah. Right off of Highway 95 south of Hanksville.

There’s a little bit of the BLARNEY in all of us, and so it’s time to the turn the tables and get  yourself into Utah’s BLARNEY Slot Canyon.  While you’re at it try Leprechaun and Shillelagh.  These three slot canyons are found side-by-side south of Hanksville, Utah, near the fork in the road for State Road 95 and State Road 276.

Leprechaun Slot Canyon

Entrance to the Leprechaun Slot Canyon

To get there, go south from Hanksville, for approximately 33 miles, on State Road 95. Follow SR 95 left (southeast) at the fork and look on your left. The entrance to all three canyons is on the north side of the road.

Utah Slot Canyon

Admiring the narrow vertical walls within Leprechaun Slot Canyon

An inexperienced hiker can walk up any of these canyons for quite a distance, but you’ll want to have some experience and the proper gear if you are going to hike to the back of these canyons and then rappel and/or scramble down.

Early morning and late evenings may not offer much reflected light inside the deeper recesses of a slot canyon, and will therefore be more difficult to photograph during these times.  Unlike most photo opportunities, slot canyons might be best photographed when their is enough sunlight shining overhead. Each of these Utah slot canyons is unique and offers some very enjoyable experiences and opportunities for excellent photographs.

Utah Slot Canyon

Another view in the lower section of Leprechaun Slot Canyon.

As always, never enter a slot canyon during rain weather.  These canyons can get hot during the summer months, and may have plenty of water pockets with recent rains or snow.   In winter months you’ll want to be prepared for cold conditions.  Always explore with at least one other person and take plenty of water and other needed sustenance to ensure you have an enjoyable experience.

Shillelagh Slot Canyon

A view in Shillelagh Slot Canyon as it begins to narrow.

For more information, check out these pages which provide excellent details, maps and photos for each canyon.

Blarney Slot Canyon

Leprechaun Slot Canyon

Shillelagh Slot Canyon