This is one of our favorite Moab-area trails. It's not too long or strenuous, it runs along a beautiful desert stream, and after two miles you reach one of the largest natural rock spans in the world.
Linda and I decided to do the four-mile round-trip Negro Bill Canyon Trail (now known as the Grandstaff Trail) which is off of scenic Hwy 128 only about three miles from Hwy 191. It's a very popular Moab hiking trail, and we would soon see why.
We arrived around 4:00 pm to find the parking lot half empty - it's usually pretty full. The good news was that the high cliffs on the left were already blocking the sun. The bad news was some of our best potential photo ops were in the shade.
Still we managed. Here we go starting at the trailhead.
The whole hike only rises between 300 and 400 feet in elevation. And the trail follows a constantly flowing, clear stream.
This is a very pleasant hike with more diverse vegetation and several gorgeous stream crossings.
I love streams running through beautiful country.
And I'm happy anytime I can get a cool reflection in the water.
From that point the trail leaves the stream and climbs up above it pretty quickly. Then, at the end of the trail lies a special bonus - Morning Glory Natural Bridge (in the shadows on the right).
It's actually an "alcove arch" and spans 243 feet, making it the 9th longest natural rock span in the world according to the Natural Arch & Bridge Society.
See Linda in the lower left hand corner? She's just a tiny red dot.
View from directly under the bridge.
After sitting there a few minutes and listening to the trickling water echo around us, we headed back.
Now, this trail gets a lot of use, but the cairns are not necessarily well placed. We heard a few stories of folks getting lost and we took one wrong turn ourselves on the way back.
Because of the high traffic, there are several worn trails off the main trail and it is easy to wander onto one of them. Also, it's not always clear where you are supposed to cross the stream and you do cross many times. So you have to pay attention.
Okay, one last little waterfall in the shade before we end this little trip.
We really enjoyed that hike. We hadn't expected to see such a clear, and in some places, deep stream in the desert. And the plants and flowers were scenic and putting off a sweet scent.
This is a great, short, trail with easy access, and we'll look forward to the next opportunity to get back there.