A sense of peace, contentment and unity are all the feelings Utah desert brings out in me. Even if for just a little bit, you are one with nature. No distractions. You can hear yourself think. This can be a good thing, or not…
Our itinerary for this trip was mostly focused on Southwest Utah: Capitol Reef National Park, St. George, and Kanab/Paria.
Capitol Reef was our 1st stop on this week-long trip. We booked reservations at the Fruita Campground. Originally only had one night in the campground, but kept checking back every week and got lucky that a spot opened up for 2 nights. Great campground with lots of views of the surrounding cliff walls, fruit trees and wildlife. The Fremont River runs just on the edge of the campground. We were in Loop C, Site 68; decent space between sites. No hookups, just picnic tables and fire rings. For hookups, there are several options at the nearby town of Torrey.
We did two great hikes: Cassidy Arch (Hard: 3.3 miles round trip, 1,213ft ascent) via the Grand Wash; and Golden Throne (Hard: 4 miles, 1,207 ft ascent) via the Capitol Gorge Road. Both hikes were great, but Cassidy Arch, being so popular, was much more busy than the Golden Throne Trail where we only saw 4 people. We did Cassidy Arch hike at the end of the day, close to sunset. The Golden Throne, we were on the trail by 10am.
After a quick trip to St. George, we left towards Kanab via Hwy 59/389 (Arizona/Utah). Filled up with water, gas and supplies in Kanab and headed out to find ourselves a boondocking site somewhere on nearby BLM land, east of Kanab. After some unsuccessful attempts, we turned off Paria townsite. About 4 miles down the road, we got a great spot for the night. Amazing night ski!
The Paria townsite is worth a visit for its interesting history and beautiful red-rock scenery. This site is home to an old town settlement (called Pahreah). It was most active throughout the 1870s. Regular flash flooding eventually drove the residents away. The site was later used as a filming location in the 1930’s.
Whitehouse Campground was our next stop. We planned on hiking Buckskin Gulch and could have camped near the trailhead, but the Wire Pass road seemed a bit rough; glad we didn’t take the camper down that road. Whitehouse campground, just 2 miles off Hwy 89, had a few well spaced sites with a pit toilet by the trailhead. No reservations, sites are first-come basis; $5 for overnight camping. Water is available by the BLM information site, along with a dumpster. Great option with access to many hikes.
We started our hike at the Buckskin Gulch Trailhead just off of Wire Pass; about 6 miles from the turn off Hwy 89. This hike normally starts from the Wire Pass Trailhead, but we decided to start it the other way since we didn’t want to ride further in on the main road. It’s an easy hike, mostly walking along the dry sandy wash with some detours. You don’t get into the slot canyon until about 3.5 miles in, but the scenery along the way is well worth the hike. We ended up just going 4 miles in and turning back. We were just about to reach the Wire Pass Trail connector.
As we made our way back to Colorado, briefly stopped in Page, AZ where we visited Horseshoe Bend. There is a $10 fee to enter the park. No discounts apply since this is managed by the City of Page. (I asked)
From Page, AZ we drove through Monument Valley. Stopped for the obligatory photo-op at Forest Gump Hill.
Valley of the Gods was our destination for the night. Another wonderful, secluded site with great views. There is a lot of hiking and sightseeing in this area, we will have to return with more time. For now, here are a few more shots from this great area in Utah.
This was a great week spent recharging our minds and souls. Away from the noise that is our lives. One last night camping in Moab before hitting the final stretch of road towards home.