Monument Valley is a region of the Colorado Plateau characterized by a cluster of vast sandstone buttes, the largest reaching 1,000 feet above the valley floor. It is located on the Arizona–Utah border, near the Four Corners area. The valley lies within the territory of the Navajo Nation Reservation.
Back in 2015, we traveled through Utah, visiting all five national parks in the state. One of our stops was Moab. From there we had the chance to see Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park.
Canyonlands is a large park, specifically, 337,598 acres. It consists of 3 districts. The Island in the Sky district is closest to Moab and the most visited. This is the part we saw back in 2015. The Needles district occupies the southeastern part of the park and is close to Monticello. This is the portion we visited on this trip. The Maze district in the southwestern part of the park is very remote and is only accessible by 4 wheel drive vehicles and for backcountry exploration. Continue reading
Zion National Park feels somewhat like an inside out Grand Canyon. You enter the park in the bottom of the canyon along the Virgin River. The sheer canyon walls tower above you, in some cases 4,000 feet, as you travel deeper north into the canyon. It’s certainly not the same scale as the Grand Canyon but it definitely impresses.
We took on a couple of the hikes here in the Zion Canyon. The first is the Angels Landing Hike (via the West Rim Trail). It’s listed as a 5.4 mile round trip with 1,488 feet of elevation. The first part is fairly straightforward with a good surface although steep at times it provided nice views of the canyon. Later you come to Walter’s Wiggles which is a series of very short, steep switchbacks. This takes you to a plateau from which you get a dramatic view with sheer drops of about 1,000 feet. From this point you must scramble across a steep rocky surface to get up and over an intermediate peak. You are provided a chain that you can hang onto to ensure you don’t tumble off into oblivion. Past this first peak you can then see the final scramble that will take you to the top of Angels Landing. It first crosses a narrow span and then up the spine of the next peak. The sheer drops on both sides will leave your throat a little constricted. We made it past the first peak but I was not prepared to take on the remainder so we took some nice photos from this vantage point and began our return hike. Continue reading
We purchased a tour with Paria Outpost who are located in Big Water, UT, some 40 miles east of Kanab, UT. From there it was a one and 1/2 hour ride over dirt roads, requiring a high ground clearance vehicle to get to White Pocket.
I can’t explain the geology that created this phenomenon and I don’t want to over use superlatives. Suffice it to say that this is one of the most unique and interesting places we have ever seen. It is an area of approximately one square mile located in the Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness. We hope that our photos will give you some insight into the other-worldly nature of White Pocket.
Next stop: Zion National Park