Reprise of 2008 Trips to Corona Arch, Dead Horse Point State Park, and Island In The Sky District of Canyonlands National Park - Utah
Today, we returned to the sites of some great memories from last year so we could share these special places with Linda's sister, Karen, and her husband, Jay. We did get some different photos this time around, so it might be worth checking out this post even if you read the ones from April 2008.
Linda's sister, Karen, and her husband, Jay, were visiting us from Florida while we were campground hosts at Arches National Park. Today, we took them exploring outside of Arches and visited a few places we enjoyed last year.
It was a cold morning, but there was almost no wind to start. We decided to go ahead and tackle our longest hike of the day - the Corona Arch Trail.
Corona Arch Trail
This is one of our favorite hikes from last year. The trailhead is about four miles from Hwy 191 on Potash Road (Hwy 279). The first part, from the parking area up to a railroad bed, is the steepest elevation increase.
As we continued on, there were some great views of the Colorado River behind us.
Well, there were just great views everywhere as we moved along through the middle (and easiest) part of the hike.
We eventually came to this little section where there is a cable to hang onto if the narrow, slanted trail makes you uncomfortable.
Just past that point, both Bowtie Arch (left) and Corona Arch came into view across a canyon. We let Jay & Karen discover them on their own.
To go around the canyon to get to the arches, we had to traverse a section where there was a steep uphill climb aided by foot holds in the rocks and another cable for assistance.
Once that is negotiated, there is a small ladder to climb.
After that, it's a pretty easy walk around the canyon over to Bowtie Arch which is pretty impressive by itself.
But the main quest is the massive and beautiful Corona Arch.
You can barely see Linda & Karen standing under the center of the arch in the above photo.
Here, Karen stands alone under a portion of the arch with the red rocks seemingly looking on behind her.
This year, feeling much more sure-footed on the sandstone, I climbed up behind the arch for photos I didn't get last year.
The deep canyon beyond the arch was pretty cool as well.
I finally scrambled back down to the others. We had several minutes with no one else around to enjoy the peaceful, dramatic surroundings.
Then we headed back toward the parking area.
I took this shot of Jay & the gals approaching the small ladder which is anchored to this little tree.
After everyone got down the ladder and the steep spot with the cable, ....
I had the three of them pose one more time with Corona Arch in the background.
Before going much farther, Karen & Linda decided this alcove would be a great place to rest and take on a little water.
They got pretty comfortable on the warm rocks, and Jay & I weren't sure if we were going to get them out of there.
As we walked back, we were surprised to find this Claret Cup Cactus in bloom.
One last pic of our hike as we got closer to the river and the parking area.
So there you have it for the start of our day. That was a three mile roundtrip hike, and the Corona Arch Trail is one of our favorites in the Moab, Utah area.
From there, we drove past Arches on Hwy 191 a few miles and then turned left. About 18 miles later, we arrived at Dead Horse Point State Park for the second part of today's tour.
Dead Horse Point State Park
As soon as you step out of the car at Dead Horse Point State Park, you are treated to incredible views of the surrounding canyons right at the visitors center.
With the winds picking up and it being pretty darn cold on the canyon rim, we didn't take too much time before getting inside. Just like last year, the ranger waived our entrance fee since we are volunteers at Arches.
By the way, click on the state park link above for the story of how this park got its name.
We did some browsing in the visitors center around the many displays. But it wasn't long before we were back on the park road headed to the main attraction - Dead Horse Point.
From an observation deck, I took this photo of Linda & Karen as they looked over the wall at one of the most famous views in Utah.
This bend of the Colorado River 2,000 feet below the viewpoint (which is 6,000 feet), is highly photographed for good reason.
I was happy to keep snapping shots as the sun went in and out of the clouds and the shadows kept changing.
There were plenty of views to capture, and we documented the visit of Jay & Karen with some nice background scenery.
Whew, it was cold! We hustled back to the Jeep.
From Dead Horse, we moved on to Canyonlands National Park. The Island In The Sky District is about eleven miles from the state park.
Island In The Sky, Canyonlands National Park
Canyonlands National Park is a vast national park with three different districts and three separate entrances.
The Island In The Sky District happens to be the most convenient to Moab and provides a great opportunity to visit both the state park and the national park in the same day.
There is lots to do at Island In The Sky, but today we just hit a few of the highlights.
We started by stopping at the Shafer Trail/Shafer Canyon Overlook.
Shafer Trail is a dirt road of about 5 miles with hair-raising switchbacks down into the canyon. It connects with the unpaved part of Potash Road so you can drive a scenic back way to Moab. Linda & I drove it last year and it was wonderful, but we passed this time.
One more look from near the parking area out at some folks on the viewpoint.
It's a shame the La Sal Mountains in the distance were hiding in the clouds today.
We then made a stop and walked the half-mile Mesa Arch Loop. Mesa Arch may not be as impressive as some other arches at first glance ....
but the location on the edge of a cliff makes for a pretty darn good view.
No standing under that one.
One last angle before moving on.
Then it was on to the Green River Overlook. The Green River and the Colorado carved these deep canyons and they meet within Canyonlands at The Confluence.
It wasn't the best time of the day for photos at the Green River Overlook, but that didn't stop me.
I did maneuver into position to get a pretty good dead tree photo for the day.
Though we skipped some of the things we did at Island In The Sky last year, we did head out to Grand View Point which we missed during our prior visit. Oh boy, did we miss out.
The views from Grand View Point are nothing short of spectacular!
The wind left us alone at this stop, and we stood and looked in awe at the carved canyons and spires within.
It was a fantastic way to end today's tour.
Well, we certainly made the most of our day. We walked Karen & Jay about five miles or so and had them in and out of the Jeep quite a few times. But I didn't hear anyone complaining.