Of Parks and Monuments

We left Kanab, Utah and made our way north to Torrey, Utah to visit Capital Reef National Park. The park’s defining geological characteristic is a wrinkle in the Earth’s crust known as the Waterpocket Fold.

We set up camp on a sunny ridge overlooking a valley
That evening the temperature dropped, the wind howled and snow arrived

Capital Reef features some short hikes and an 8 mile scenic drive that seemed like a nice option on a cold and windy day.

A view from the Goosenecks Overlook
One of the Fremont River’s Gooseneck’s
A view from Panorama Point

The scenic drive let’s visitors easily access many of the parks natural wonders.

The paved scenic drive ends with a dirt road that takes you back into Capital Gorge.

From 600 to 1300 C. E., indigenous people of the Fremont culture occupied Capitol Reef. Evidence of their presence can be seen in the petroglyphs they left behind.

The next day the temperatures rose a bit and the wind calmed so we headed out for to hike the Cohab Canyon Trail.

A steep climb is rewarded with some great views

The trail winds along the top of a mesa to a view of the valley below.

The valley view

We continued north to Vernal Utah which is a few miles from the entrance of Dinosaur National Monument. This park has been on our to do list for the past three years and we were finally able to work it into a trip.

The park includes one of the richest dinosaur fossil records on Earth. The Quarry Visitors Center is built around a wall of exposed dinosaur fossils.

In addition to fossils, the monument also offers some great hiking. We chose the three mile Sound of Silence trail. As advertised this trail offers one of the quietest hikes in the monument.

The hike begins following a sandy wash
The trail snakes through the colorful Chinle Formation
Eventually the trail leads you to the top of a mesa
You have great views of Split Mountain from the top

Dry Creek Canyon is located near Vernal and is home to the McConkie Ranch Petroglyphs. The trail stretches for about 3/4 of a mile along the cliffs above the ranch.

On a cold windy day we drove up to the Flaming Gorge Recreation Area to checkout the views. We weren’t disappointed.

That’s the Green River
The river is popular with rafters

From Vernal we headed East into Colorado and Grand Junction, home to the Colorado National Monument. The monument features the 23 mile Rim Rock Drive that takes you to the top of the Colorado Plateau for stunning views of canyons and rock formations.

Artist Point
Mummy Rock
Independence Monument
Balanced Rock

It’s been a great trip but it’s time to head East and home. Of course we’ll stop in Chicago for a visit with the grandkids before we end our travels. Thanks to those of you who’ve been following along and made the occasional comment (we enjoy hearing from you). This is our last post until we head out on the highway in the fall.