Tag Archives: UT

05-14-21 – Jurassic National Monument


Jurassic National Monument, at the site of the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, well known for containing the densest concentration of Jurassic dinosaur fossils ever found, is a paleontological site located near Cleveland, Utah, in the San Rafael Swell, a part of the geological layers known as the Morrison Formation.

Well over 15,000 bones have been excavated from this Jurassic excavation site and there are many thousands more awaiting excavation and study. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in October 1965. The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, signed into law March 12, 2019, named it as a national monument.

All of these bones, belonging to different species, are found disarticulated and indistinctly mixed together. It has been hypothesised that this strong concentration of mixed fossilised bones is due to a “predator trap”, but any kind of definitive scientific consensus hasn’t been reached yet and debates still continue to the present day.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jurassic_National_Monument

05-13-21 – Flaming Gorge

Flaming Gorge National Recreation Area is a United States National Recreation Area located in the states of Wyoming and Utah. The recreation centerpiece of the area is the 91 miles (146 km) long Flaming Gorge Reservoir.

The area was given the name “Flaming Gorge” by John Wesley Powell during his 1869 expedition down the Green River, due to the spectacular, gorgeous red sandstone cliffs that surround this part of the river.

The Flaming Gorge reservoir was created by the 1964 construction of the Flaming Gorge Dam across the Green River.

Flaming Gorge Dam is used to generate hydroelectric power. Three turbines and generators at the base of the dam have the capacity to produce 50,650 kilowatts of electrical power each.

Flaming Gorge National Recreation area is administered by the Ashley National Forest. Activities in the recreation area include camping, biking, rock climbing, paddling, hiking, boating and fishing on the Flaming Gorge Reservoir, and rafting on the portion of the Green River downstream from Flaming Gorge Dam.

The Sheep Creek Geologic Loop is a 10-mile section of road that takes you through the center of the Uinta Crest Fault. Along its course, you will not only see exposed layers of the earth raised in dramatic angles and positions, but will also have the opportunity to pull out at overlooks with your binoculars and scan for wildlife, including those Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep.

Red Canyon Overlook is a viewpoint at Colorado National Monument that looks directly down Red Canyon from its head to Grand Junction in the Grand Valley to the northeast. The overlook, fenced by a stone wall, is right next to a small parking area on the north side of Rim Rock Drive.

05-12-21 – Goblin Valley State Park


Goblin Valley State Park is a state park of Utah, in the United States. The park features thousands of hoodoos, referred to locally as goblins, which are formations of mushroom-shaped rock pinnacles, some as tall as several yards (meters). The distinct shapes of these rocks result from an erosion-resistant layer of rock atop relatively softer sandstone. Goblin Valley State Park and Bryce Canyon National Park, also in Utah about 190 miles (310 km) to the southwest, contain some of the largest occurrences of hoodoos in the world.

The unusual stone shapes in Goblin Valley result from the weathering of Entrada sandstone. The Entrada consists of debris eroded from former highlands and redeposited on a former tidal flat of alternating layers of sandstone, siltstone, and shale. The rocks show evidence of being near the margins of an ancient sea with the ebb and flow of tides, tidal channels that directed currents back to the sea and coastal sand dunes.

Joint or fracture patterns within the Entrada sandstone beds created initial zones of weakness. The unweathered joints intersected to form sharp edges and corners with greater surface-area-to-volume ratios than the faces. As a result, the edges and corners weathered more quickly, producing the spherical-shaped ‘goblins’.

The Entrada sandstone from which the hoodoos developed was deposited in the Jurassic period around 170 million years ago.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goblin_Valley_State_Park

05-11-21 – Burr Trail


Travel Utah’s Beautiful Backcountry Along the Burr Trail

Located just outside the northeast region of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Bullfrog, the Burr Trail offers excitement for the adventurous explorer. Views of features like the Henry Mountains, Waterpocket Fold, the red Circle Cliffs, Long Canyon, and Pedestal Alley await the traveler who wishes to explore this interesting road. To fully enjoy the journey always be well prepared. Make sure you have plenty of water, a first aid kit, proper footwear, sunscreen, a hat and a means of communication.

History of the Trail

John Atlantic Burr was born in 1846, during his family’s journey from New York to San Francisco on the SS Brooklyn while sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. Once they arrived, Charles and Sarah Burr then set out to Salt Lake City with their new baby. As part of the early pioneers from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Burr family eventually moved south in 1876 and founded the town of Burrville, Utah.

John Burr grew up to be a cattle rancher in the rugged backcountry of Utah. Living in such a desolate area, he needed to develop a route to move his cattle between winter and summer ranges, as well as to market. This cattle trail through the rough, nearly impassible country around the Waterpocket Fold, Burr Canyon, and Muley Twist Canyon came to be known as the Burr Trail.

Source: National Park Service
https://www.nps.gov/glca/planyourvisit/driving-the-burr-trail.htm

05-11-21 – Devils Garden


A colorful formation in contrast to the gray cliffs that follow the Hole-in-the-Rock Road, Devil’s Garden is a unique, easily-accessible natural play park. After driving 12 miles down the graded road, there is a signed pullout for this spot designated as an “Outstanding Natural Area.”

As part of the Grand Staircase–Escalante National Monument, this desert destination features hoodoos, natural arches, and various sandstone formations—some are reminiscent, on a smaller scale, to areas such as Goblin Valley.

Devil’s Garden is a maze of sandstone formations formed by, and continuously shaped by, erosion. Nature’s hand has been at work since the Jurassic Period more than 166 million years ago. Presently, Devil’s Garden boasts hoodoos, arches, and other rock protrusions from the sandy, desert landscape.

Source: Visit Utah
https://www.visitutah.com/articles/devils-garden

05-11-21 – Hole-in-the-Rock


Hole in the Rock is a narrow and steep crevice in the western rim of Glen Canyon, in southern Utah in the western United States. Together with another canyon on the eastern side of the Colorado River, it provided a route through what would otherwise be a large area of impassable terrain.

In the fall of 1879, the San Juan Expedition of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints was seeking a route from south-central Utah to their proposed colony in the far southeastern corner of the state. Rejecting two longer routes, they chose a more direct path that initially took them along the relatively benign terrain beneath the Straight Cliffs of the Kaiparowits Plateau. However, when this led them to the 1200-foot (400 m) sandstone cliffs that surround Glen Canyon, they needed a way to cross to the eastern rim. They found (and named) Hole in the Rock, a narrow, steep, and rocky crevice and sandy slope that led down to the river. Directly across the river was Cottonwood Canyon, a tempting route up to Wilson Mesa on the other side.

They worked for months to prepare the road, using blasting powder to widen the upper section and hand chisels to carve anchor points directly into the sandstone. On January 26, 1880 the expedition (250 people, 83 full-sized wagons, and over 1000 head of livestock) began their descent to the river. Wagons were heavily roped, and teams of men and oxen used to lower them through the upper crevice, which has slopes approaching 45°. Further down, a wooden track had been constructed along a slickrock sandstone slope. Posts in drilled holes supported horizontal beams to allow passage of the wagons.

After an even more difficult journey on the east side of the river, the expedition founded the community of Bluff in southeastern Utah. They used the Hole in the Rock route as a supply road for only a year before replacing it with an easier route to the north, at Hall’s Crossing. Decades later, miners of the Hoskaninni Mining Company carved steps onto the same path used by the Mormon pioneers. The blasting holes, anchor points, and gouges from the hubs of the expedition’s wagons are still visible in the walls of the crevice.

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hole_in_the_Rock_(rock_formation)

Dixie National Forest – Red Canyon


The Red Canyon is located just off Highway 12 en route to Bryce Canyon National Park amid the spectacular red sandstone spires and formations. This area has been called the “most photographed place in Utah”. It is easy to see why, with the brilliant red soil contrasted with the green pines. Offered for sale are a variety of gifts, souveniers, maps, books, tapes, and Smokey Bear collectables. Other offerings include brochures, and trail information. The Red Canyon Trail System is widely known and very popular. Nearby trails include Pink Ledges, Hoodoo, Birdseye and Golden wall. For mountain bike riding there is Thunder Mountain and Red Canyon Bicycle trail that is also used for road bikes. There are miles of ATV trails as well as paved bicycle trails. There are many trails open to foot traffic, as well as bicycle, horse and ATV. Stop by the Visitor Center to pick up a map and guidelines as to the type of traffic each trail allows. Seasonal displays show the area’s flowers, birds, trees and geology. There are permanent displays of area features as well. There are nature hikes, star viewing, and photography opportunities.

Source: USFS
https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/dixie/recarea/?recid=24942

11-29-19 – Valley of the Gods


The Valley of the Gods is a scenic sandstone valley near Mexican Hat in San Juan County, southeastern Utah, United States. Formerly part of Bears Ears National Monument, Valley of the Gods is located north of Monument Valley across the San Juan River and has rock formations similar to those in Monument Valley with tall, reddish brown mesas, buttes, towers and mushroom rocks—remnants of an ancient landscape.

The Valley of the Gods may be toured via a 17-mile (27 km) gravel road (San Juan County Road 242) that winds around the formations. The road is rather steep and bumpy in parts but is passable by non-four-wheel drive vehicles in dry weather. The western end joins Utah State Route 261 shortly before its 1,200-foot (370 m) ascent up Cedar Mesa at Moki Dugway, while the eastern end starts nine miles (14 km) from the town of Mexican Hat along U.S. Route 163 and heads north, initially crossing flat, open land and following the course of Lime Creek, a seasonal wash, before turning west toward the buttes and pinnacles. In addition to the gravel road, the area is also crisscrossed by off-road dirt trails.

The valley has been used as the backdrop for western movies, commercials and television shows including two episodes of the BBC science fiction show Doctor Who: “The Impossible Astronaut” and “Day of the Moon”, the second of which includes an explicit on-screen reference to the filming location. The 1984-1987 CBS TV show Airwolf is often mistakenly identified as being filmed in Valley of the Gods due to an in-episode mention but was filmed in Monument Valley

Source: Wikipedia
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valley_of_the_Gods

11-28-19 – Grand Staircase Escalante


The monument stretches from the towns of Big Water, Glendale, and Kanab, Utah in the southwest, to the towns of Escalante and Boulder in the northeast. Originally encompassing 1,880,461 acres (7,610 km2), the monument was slightly larger in area than the state of Delaware. After a reduction ordered by presidential proclamation in December 2017, the monument now encompasses 1,003,863 acres (4,062 km2).

The western part of the monument is dominated by the Paunsaugunt Plateau and the Paria River, and is adjacent to Bryce Canyon National Park. This section shows the geologic progression of the Grand Staircase. Features include the slot canyons of Bull Valley Gorge, Willis Creek, and Lick Wash which are accessed from Skutumpah Road.

The center section is dominated by a single long ridge, called the Kaiparowits Plateau from the west, and Fifty-Mile Mountain when viewed from the east. Fifty-Mile Mountain stretches southeast from the town of Escalante to the Colorado River in Glen Canyon. The eastern face of the mountain is a 2,200 ft (670 m) escarpment. The western side (the Kaiparowits Plateau) is a shallow slope descending to the south and west.

East of Fifty-Mile Mountain are the Canyons of the Escalante. The monument is bounded by Glen Canyon National Recreation Area on the east and south. The popular hiking, backpacking and canyoneering areas include Calf Creek Falls off Utah Scenic Byway 12, and Zebra Canyon, Harris Wash, and the Devils Garden. The latter areas are accessed via the Hole-in-the-Rock Road which extends southeast from Escalante, near the base of Fifty-Mile Mountain. The Dry Fork Slots of Coyote Gulch and lower Coyote Gulch are also located off the Hole-in-the-Rock Road.

Source: Wikipedia

09-18-19 – Jurassic National Monument


Jurassic National Monument, at the site of the Cleveland-Lloyd Dinosaur Quarry, well known for containing the densest concentration of Jurassic dinosaur fossils ever found, is a paleontological site located near Cleveland, Utah, in the San Rafael Swell, a part of the geological layers known as the Morrison Formation.

Well over 15,000 bones have been excavated from this Jurassic excavation site and there are many thousands more awaiting excavation and study. It was designated a National Natural Landmark in October 1965. The John D. Dingell, Jr. Conservation, Management, and Recreation Act, signed into law March 12, 2019, named it as a national monument.

All of these bones, belonging to different species, are found disarticulated and indistinctly mixed together. It has been hypothesised that this strong concentration of mixed fossilised bones is due to a “predator trap”, but any kind of definitive scientific consensus hasn’t been reached yet and debates still continue to the present day.

Unfortunately I arrived only to learn that it was closed for the season, so I explored the surrounding area. I’ll return next year to see the visitor center.