The Opposite of Powder

Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

After our fabulous trip on the White Rim Trail last fall, we decided that an annual fall trip to the desert to hike, bike and camp would be an excellent tradition. This year, we wanted to check out a Colorado bike trail we hadn’t done before along with another section of Canyonlands that I had yet to visit.

Paradox Trail, Colorado

Our first stop was the Paradox Trail which runs 110 miles from Southwest Colorado to close to Moab. While most of the route is old jeep roads there are sections of single track and we decided to do the Red Canyon Loop that climbs to a spectacular overlook of the Paradox Valley.

Paradox Trail, Colorado

The climb up the canyon was fairly mellow till we hit what was described on the MTB Project Trail Page as a “short hike a bike section” near the top of the canyon. “Short” of course, is a relative term – long, steep and rocky were the words that came to mind while we trudged slowly up it.

Paradox Trail, Colorado

The view from the top as you can see from the pic above however, was well worth the effort. A perfect lunch stop and picture taking viewpoint was our reward for the earlier slog. After a bit more climbing we were then treated to a very long smooth downhill back to our car with numerous scenic vistas along the way.

State Highway 141, Colorado

 

The drive from Grand Junction to Naturita our stopping point for the night took us through beautiful canyons with towering sandstone walls on both sides. From there we headed west into Utah and into the Needles section of Canyonlands National Park. To say this is a scenic area is a vast understatement – everywhere you looked there were stunning rock formations that just begged to be explored.

Newspaper Rock Historic Monument, Utah

On the way into Needles we passed the famed Newspaper Rock, one of the worlds largest collections of petroglyphs. Our plan was to secure a camping spot for the night and then take a hike in the Needles district. 

Hamburger Rock Campground, Indian Creek, Utah

Because it was a beautiful fall weekend and thus primetime in the desert we were slightly concerned about finding a good camping spot but as luck would have it we found a primo and mostly empty campground at Hamburger Rock just outside the park entrance.

Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

 

Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Needles District, Canyonlands National Park, Utah

Here I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves as it was difficult to not stop and take photos every ten steps along a 6 mile out and back hike to the Chesler Park overlook. I literally took hundreds of photos and just trying to narrow the selection down to an outstanding one hundred was a time consuming task.

Hamburger Rock Campground, Indian Creek, Utah

Then it was back to our campsite where after dinner and a fire we got to admire natures finest light show, the Milky Way in all it’s glory.

Indian Creek, Utah

 

Indian Creek, Utah

Indian Creek, Utah

In the morning the light show continued with a spectacular sunrise that had us climbing all over the rocks above our campground to get different angles on the morning fiesta. 

Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

It wouldn’t be a true trip to the desert without a stop in Moab where we decided to check out the new bike trails in Dead Horse Point State Park just outside of town. We took a lovely tour through the park and then drove out to the point where the horses supposedly met their awful fate.

Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

 

Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

Well at least they had a nice view…

 

 


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