M & G's Adventure

Our Utah adventure began in Green River, where we made use of the shade at this abandoned gas station to consolidate our stuff into the van for a week of exploring southeast Utah.

Green River - Transferring Stuff - Cars - Old Gas Station - - Sportsmobile

Three Finger Canyon

Heading west along Interstate 70, we first checked out some rock art near the highway — including the Black Dragon Canyon pictographs (not pictured) and Three Finger[s] Canyon petroglyphs.

Three Fingers Petroglyphs - Three Finger CanyonThree Fingers Petroglyphs - Three Finger CanyonThree Fingers Petroglyphs - Three Finger CanyonThree Finger CanyonThree Finger Canyon - PoolRoad to Three Finger Canyon

Goblin Valley

An old favorite! It's everyone else's favorite too, so be sure to get their early in the morning if you want to enjoy Goblin Valley in silence. Then it's the perfect spot to let loose the kids for climbing and hide-and-seek. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 38.5645, -110.7033 

Goblin ValleyGoblin ValleyGoblin ValleyGoblin ValleyGoblin Valley - Texture

Hite Crossing

Heading southeast on Highway 95, we stopped at Hite Crossing to look at the former Lake Powell — now once again the confluence of the Dirty Devil and Colorado rivers. The water levels have dropped so much that Lake Powell no longer reaches this far north. Note the boat ramp to nowhere on the right. A great viewpoint is at See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 37.8812, -110.4081 

Hite - Glen Canyon - Dirty Devil River - Colorado River - Lake Powell - Boat Launch

South Elk Ridge

On to the Cedar Mesa area to track down some ruins!

Driving South Elk Ridge, we took a little detour to look south out over Texas Canyon and enjoy the miniature oak trees' fall colors. There are plenty of secluded backcountry camping spots here in the woods. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 37.6436, -109.8399 

South Elk Ridge - Trees - Fall Colors - Campsite Idea - SportsmobileSouth Elk Ridge - Trees - Fall Colors - OakSouth Elk Ridge - Trees - Fall Colors - OakSouth Elk Ridge - Texas Canyon - View

Over Under Ruin

We regarded this ruin from a distance. I imagine it would be fun to use ropes to climb down and explore the cliff dwellings up close.

Over Under RuinOver Under Ruin

Milk Ranch Point

We pulled over to camp at the southern end of Milk Ranch Point at a viewpoint just before the road descends towards Arch Canyon. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 37.6267, -109.7425 

Milk Ranch Point - Campsite on Road to Lewis Lodge Trailhead - Snacks - ViewMilk Ranch Point - Campsite on Road to Lewis Lodge Trailhead - Dinner - Sunset - Sportsmobile

Lewis Lodge Ruin

These 750-year-old dwellings were built with defense in mind. There's only one way out onto this ledge, which is two-thirds of the way up an 800-foot cliff. Lewis Lodge has a mostly intact kiva, complete with earth-plastered walls and alcoves.

Lewis Lodge Ruin - HikeLewis Lodge Ruin - HikeLewis Lodge RuinLewis Lodge Ruin - CanyonLewis Lodge RuinLewis Lodge RuinLewis Lodge RuinLewis Lodge RuinLewis Lodge RuinLewis Lodge RuinLewis Lodge Ruin - KivaLewis Lodge RuinLewis Lodge Ruin - KivaLewis Lodge Ruin - KivaLewis Lodge Ruin - KivaLewis Lodge Ruin - Canyon

Comb Ridge

Camping just north of the point where Highway 95 cuts through Comb Ridge. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 37.5158, -109.6462 

Comb Ridge - Looking South to Highway 95Comb Ridge - Looking North

Comb Ridge Dugway

Returning to pavement, we decided to take the bumpy way down — the old eroded remains of the Comb Ridge Dugway, once the main "highway" over Comb Ridge. It took us about an hour in the campervan to drive this one-mile road. We spotted the rusty remains of one car that didn't quite make it. At the bottom, the road was marked with sign declaring the trail rated a blue square ("More Difficult"). I hope to never find myself out on a black diamond trail. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 37.5706, -109.6592 

Comb Ridge Dugway - Old Highway 95 - SportsmobileComb Ridge Dugway - Old Highway 95 - SportsmobileComb Ridge Dugway - Old Highway 95 - Old Car - 1968 Oldsmobile Delta 88Comb Ridge Dugway - Old Highway 95 - Sign - More Difficult - Sportsmobile

Citadel Ruin

Hiking to the Citadel ruin, we passed by these desert rock pools still holding water. Peering into the water, we were surprised to see them full of activity, with little snails, bugs, and Jurassic-looking tadpole shrimp. (We had to look them up!)

Citadel Ruin - Hike - PoolsCitadel Ruin - Hike - Pools - Tadpole ShrimpCitadel Ruin - Hike - Pools - Tadpole ShrimpCitadel Ruin - Hike - Pools - Tadpole Shrimp

The Citadel Ruin — a scene right out of a fantasy novel! A catwalk approach leads to this defensive outpost hidden in a rocky point surrounded on three sides by canyon, 500 feet below.

Citadel RuinCitadel RuinCitadel RuinCitadel Ruin - Wood - Window FrameCitadel RuinCitadel Ruin

Looking down into the canyon, we could spot the Seven Kivas Ruin.

Citadel Ruin - Hike - Seven Kivas Ruin

Seven Kivas Ruin

The next day we investigated the Seven Kivas Ruin site which we had seen the day before from the ridge above, as well as other minor dwelling sites we found on the way. At least one kiva was completely intact, roof and all. We were able to photograph the rooms by carefully lowering our cameras through the ceiling entrance.

Seven Kivas Hike - Minor RuinsSeven Kivas HikeSeven Kivas RuinSeven Kivas Ruin - InsideSeven Kivas Ruin - CeilingSeven Kivas Ruin - WallSeven Kivas Ruin - WoodSeven Kivas RuinSeven Kivas RuinSeven Kivas Ruin - InsideSeven Kivas RuinSeven Kivas RuinSeven Kivas Ruin - CornSeven Kivas Ruin - ArtifactsSeven Kivas HikeSeven Kivas Hike

Monument Valley

Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park is curiously different from National Parks. Most viewpoints here have some kind of commerce activity — with extensive vending tables with native crafts, or horses for hire. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 36.9573, -110.0591 

Monument ValleyMonument Valley - Horse RidesMonument Valley - HorseMonument Valley - VendingMonument ValleyMonument ValleyMonument Valley

Access to the giant rock monoliths is via a dusty rutted unpaved road, on which tourists may drive their own cars. Tourists arriving in low sports cars, or larger vehicles like RVs may tour the loop — in the back of 4x4 pickup trucks. Most of these passengers were seen holding handkerchiefs to their faces to block the dust. Signs all over declared that any hiking is forbidden!

Monument Valley - Truck BusMonument Valley - No Hiking Sign

Valley of the Gods

Camping among the "gods". We heard an owl hooting nearby for much of the evening as we watched the stars. M was optimistic we might actually spot him in the morning, but after an hour of peering into the nearby juniper trees, our elusive friend remained hidden. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 37.3155, -109.8580 

Valley of the Gods - Campsite - SportsmobileValley of the Gods - SunriseValley of the Gods - Campsite - Sportsmobile

Arches National Park

We hiked out to Delicate Arch See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 38.7355, -109.5205 

Arches National Park - Delicate ArchArches National Park - Delicate ArchArches National Park - Delicate Arch

Porcupine Ridge

Camping on Porcupine Ridge, at the very edge of the cliff overlooking Castle Valley 1400 ft below. See in Google Maps See on a USGS topographic map See in Google Earth 38.5757, -109.3456 

Porcupine Ridge - Campsite - Castle Valley