~ Miscellaneous Southern Utah ~

On my last trip through the western USA, I only saw Salt Lake City and a bit of northern Utah. There's not much up there, really. Unless you are looking for the big cities, all that is in that part of the state is Dinosaur National Monument, which straddles the border with Colorado, and the Great Salt Lake.

Southern Utah is where it's all at! The concentration of national parks, monuments and recreation areas is exceeded nowhere else in the country. I visited five national parks, one state park, two national monuments and a recreation area and several small sites during my month in southern Utah. The thousands of sites I did not see would take several months to visit.

On this page you will see the "in between" of southern Utah. The many places I saw that didn't have enough photos to make a page of their own. I will say this: It's no wonder why Native peoples migrated to this area beginning about 12,000 years ago and it's no wonder why the white man chased them out. I hope you enjoy this quickie tour of the color of Utah.

Entering Utah

The color of Utah was purple

And ruins old and new

Coming down into another Great Basin valley after leaving Great Basin National Park

A typical mining town at the foot of San Francisco Mountain (above left) was the result of the success of the Horn Silver Mine, which existed here. When the mine caved in, in 1885, the town people left dropping the population from 4,000 to a few families. By the 1920s, only memories, evidence of mining long since ceased and the shifting sands were left.

And yet another Great Basin valley
Did I mention mountains?

The I-70 tour

Photos in this section were taken at various scenic overlooks along I-70. Some of the overlooks were named Ghost Rock, San Rafael Reef, San Rafael Swell and Sand Bench

And the color was rainbows

Did I say the color was red?

And grey

And strange trees

And weird rock formations

And balanced rocks

And tourists
The two guys in the photos above were traveling together, each taking in the views from different perspectives

And more canyons than you could ever imagine

That's I-70 down there

Navajo pottery
The Navajo venders were at all the overlook areas displaying their beautiful, handmade wares. I lost my silver ring some time back, so I bought a replacement.
And amazing panoramas

And really cool, eroded rocks

Devil's Canyon on the right

More of Devil's Canyon

I wonder how long before that chunk of rock falls off?

Devil's Canyon again

The entire southern half of Utah is an amazing maze of canyons cut into the Colorado Plateau. From this plateau water goes to either of two places; into the Great Basin or through the Colorado River to the Gulf of California on to the Pacific.

The above panorama was taken from the Head of Sinbad, the top of the San Rafael Swell anticline (a fold that is convex up and has its oldest beds at its core), which is the remains of a dome after millions of years erosion.

The San Rafael Reef
Suddenly the layers of the San Rafael Swell dip sharply to the east. They call it the San Rafael Reef, a 30-mile long stone barrier, a saw-tooth ridge at the eastern edge of nowhere. For centuries, only the most intrepid travelers found their way through its narrow slot canyons and on to the Green River crossing. The early Spanish explorers detoured 20 miles north to avoid the forbidding wall. In 1883, the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad also avoided breaching the reef by running their tracks along the eastern edge all the way to Salt Lake City, before heading west. In 1957, I-70 was engineered to bisect the San Rafael Swell. Here, at Spotted Wolf Canyon, workers could stand and touch both walls of the canyon before construction began in 1967. 3.5 million cubic yards of rock were excavated from the area to form the opening for 8 miles of road.
The reef is composed of layers of hard to erode Navajo Sandstone, Kayenta Sandstone and Wingate Sandstone.
Coming down from the San Rafael Reef, I saw in the distance what appeared to be giant steps of rock. As I approached, I saw they are a series of buttes aligned along the north side of I-70.

The road through San Rafael Reef

Evening comes
Sometimes the best photographic opportunities come at the beginning or the end of the day, when shadows are long and colors are all around. All of the photos in this secion were taken on a one day drive along I-70 on September 3, 2011. That drive made me appreciate southern Utah and to know I was in for a visual smorgasbord, even before I reached a park or monument.

Wilson Arch

Wilson Arch was named after Joe WIlson, a local pioneer, who had a cabin nearby in Dry Valley. The formation is of Entrada Sandstone, which is the stuff on Arches National Park. The span is 91 feet and it is 46 feet high. It is located about 30 miles south of Arches.

Newspaper Rock

Newspaper Rock is a petroglyph panel etched in sandstone that records approximately 2,000 years of early man's activity in this area. It is located east of Canyonlands National Park on Bureau of Land Management lands.
Prehistoric peoples, probably from the Archaic, Basketmaker, Fremont and Pueblo cultures, etched on the rock from times B.C. to about 1300 A.D. In historic times Ute and Navajo tribesmen, as well as whites, left their contributions.
There are no known methods of dating rock art. In interpreting the figures on the rock, scholars are undecided as to their meaning or have yet to decipher them. In Navajo, the rock is called "Tse Hane" or "rock that tells a story."
Newspaper Rock is listed on the United States Register of National Historic Places.

Most of the images were pecked into the rock by use of pointed stones such as arrow points or spear heads. Some were rubbed in by abrasion.

The mounted figure in the photo on the left would be more recent, occurring after contact, when the Spaniards introduced the horse to Native cultures. The darker, fainter images would be much older.
The overhanging ledges in the right photo extend about thirty feet over the cliff edge.

Reminded me of a biscuit

Heading into Canyonlands National Park
Driving through all these magnificent canyons was a real trip. It is an amazing place.

High above were formations like this one

Then came night and a First Quarter moon and moonlit clouds

Butler Wash Indian Ruins and Church Rock


Abandoned farm

Pricklypear cactus in bloom

Butler Wash Indian Ruins

The cliff dwellings below were built by the Anasazi Indians about 700 years ago. The ruin reflects the full range of living activities: habitation, cermonial, farming, hunting, storage and tool making. It contains four kivas, underground chambers where ceremonial activities took place. Three of the kivas are round Mesa Verde type and the fourth is the square type of the Kayenta commonly found in the northern Arizona area. The presence of both types indicates culture influence between various clans. The presence of both types of kivas existed at a couple of the other sites I visited. Due to drought, overuse of natural resources or hostile neighbors, the site was abandoned before 1300 AD.

Church Rock doesn't look much like a church until you get around to the face
Church Rock is a solitary column of sandstone in southern Utah along the eastern side of U.S. Route 191, near the entrance to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.
One of the interesting pages of 1930's history tell about Church Rock, and how the gumdrop shaped rock earned its name. The story is that Marie Ogden's Home of the Truth, an Utopian community, was responsible. With a small band of followers, Ogden's group moved onto a tract of barren land along Utah's Route 211 in 1933. Members, abiding by a strict code of conduct, were expected to work for the common goals of the settlement. Women tended to the domestic chores and men worked the arid farm acreage. Not far from their farm, the group set upon a grand plan to hollow out the entire center of a sandstone remnant (by hand) to build a church. Today, the only evidence of this ambitious plan is the beginnings of a 16 by 24 foot opening chiseled into the rock. The opening is the dark spot at the base in the lower right of the photo.

Evening skies


Cheese Box Butte

Jacob's Chair
Jacob's Chair in the distant center

Red Canyon - Dixie National Forest

After visiting Bryce Canyon and heading toward Zion, Red Canyon was a pleasant surprise.
History and lore of the old west are alive in Red Canyon, thanks to Butch Cassidy, who was raised nearby in a cabin in Circleville where he lived from 1879 until 1884 . Rumor has it that when Cassidy was in Panguitch at a dance he got himself into a brawl over a girl. Cassidy thought he killed the fellow and fled to the craggy land where Red Canyon is today. Turns out the man he knocked out was just fine, but a posse was already sent out after Cassidy. He eluded them by hiding along what is now known as the Cassidy Trail. Red Canyon is not quite as famous as Butch, but it is part of the vast 2-million acres that make up Utah's Dixie National Forest.

Layer on layer

A knight and a rook

More than red

While not as impressive or large as Bryce Canyon, it is impressive

Utah Full Moon

Music is "The Rose"

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