Southwestern US

Squeezing our way through Little Wild Horse Canyon

After seven wonderful days exploring the red rock desert of Utah, our trip was coming to an end. We would be spending the night at a hotel in Green River, setting us up for an early morning start for our drive back to Denver. But before checking in for our final night away from home,… Continue reading Squeezing our way through Little Wild Horse Canyon

Southwestern US

Goblins and goblettes – Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

We pulled into the mostly empty parking lot around 8:30am and stepped out into the chilly November air to take in the view. On the way to the overlook, we stopped to read a sign. “Like nowhere else,” it read. I looked up at the bizarre landscape in front of me. Back down at the… Continue reading Goblins and goblettes – Goblin Valley State Park, Utah

Southwestern US, US National Parks

The Waterpocket Fold – Capitol Reef National Park, Utah (part II)

As I mentioned briefly last week, Capitol Reef gets the ‘reef’ part of its name from the fact that, from a distance, the towering line of colorful cliffs appears to be an impenetrable barrier. This 100-mile (160 km) long wrinkle in the Earth’s crust is called the Waterpocket Fold. Sometime between 50-70 million years ago,… Continue reading The Waterpocket Fold – Capitol Reef National Park, Utah (part II)

Southwestern US, US National Parks

Orchards, cliffs, and petroglyphs – Capitol Reef National Park, Utah (part I)

Capitol Reef National Park is the least visited and most underrated of Utah’s "mighty five." And I sort of understand why. It’s not as archey as Arches or as canyoney as Canyonlands. It doesn’t have Bryce’s hoodoos or Zion’s Angel’s Landing. But you know what? Capitol Reef is a really cool place that is absolutely… Continue reading Orchards, cliffs, and petroglyphs – Capitol Reef National Park, Utah (part I)

Southwestern US

A waterfall in the desert – Escalante National Monument, Utah

Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument is a hidden gem. Spanning two million acres of mostly undeveloped wilderness, this national monument preserves a vast expanse of red rock desert in southern Utah. The monument is part of the Grand Staircase… an enormous span of rock layers that represent nearly two billion years of geologic history. These layers… Continue reading A waterfall in the desert – Escalante National Monument, Utah

Southwestern US

Land of the sleeping rainbow – Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, Utah

After two wonderful days of hoodoos, we departed Bryce Canyon and began the 90 minute drive to our hotel in the small town of Escalante. I’d planned some extra time for the drive knowing that we’d be following Highway 12, which is a scenic byway. We would also be driving past three state parks, though… Continue reading Land of the sleeping rainbow – Escalante Petrified Forest State Park, Utah

Southwestern US, US National Parks

Among the hoodoos – Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (part II)

Despite its name, Bryce Canyon is not a canyon. It’s a sequence of amphitheaters located on the edge of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. This name was given to the plateau by the Southern Paiute people, who lived in and around Bryce Canyon for hundreds of years. The word hoodoo is also derived from the Southern Paiute… Continue reading Among the hoodoos – Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (part II)

Southwestern US, US National Parks

“It’s a helluva place to lose a cow” – Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (part I)

Thank you to Ken Burns’ The National Parks: America’s Best Idea documentary series for this gem of a quote. If you haven’t watched this series, I highly recommend it. We really enjoyed it! The quote is attributed to Ebenezer Bryce, a Mormon pioneer who homesteaded near Bryce Canyon in the 1860s and began taking visitors… Continue reading “It’s a helluva place to lose a cow” – Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah (part I)

Southwestern US, US National Parks

Riding the rapids in Split Mountain Canyon – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

After spending the other days of our long weekend exploring Dinosaur National Monument from above, a guided whitewater rafting expedition now afforded us the chance to see the Utah side of the monument from below. Our one-day trip took us along 9 miles (14.5 km) of the Green River through Split Mountain Canyon. The geology… Continue reading Riding the rapids in Split Mountain Canyon – Dinosaur National Monument, Utah

Colorado, Colorado Destinations, Colorado Hikes, Southwestern US, US National Parks

Canyon Country – Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado

By far, most people who visit Dinosaur go to the Utah half of the monument. It’s the side with the dinosaur bones for which the monument is most famous. It’s also the more accessible part of the monument, with developed campgrounds and easy river access. However… what the Colorado half lacks in dinosaur fossils, it… Continue reading Canyon Country – Dinosaur National Monument, Colorado