Utah parks

Old Nov 25th, 2022, 03:21 PM
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Utah parks

In the very early stages of planning a winter trip to Utah - we've visited in January a few times and have really enjoyed our visits.

We're coming from CO and are looking for a ~two week loop that incorporates some new areas for us - probably mostly state parks, as we've visited all of the biggies. We're hikers, but not into serious stuff, just hikes of 2-4 hours.

Have been to Capitol Reef, Escalante, Bryce, Zion, Arches, Canyonlands and Snow Canyon State Park - all in the winter.

Will probably be coming from from Grand Junction, CO - plan to spend a night there before heading into Utah.

We'd like to revisit Capitol Reef and Escalante, but not really interested in Bryce and Zion. If Moab (Arches) makes sense on the return loop home will consider that again as well.

Looking for some recommendations on new parks to explore in Utah - willing to go further north, but only if we can reasonably fit into a two week itinerary.

Vague, I know. Winter hiking, yeah, I know. But that's how we roll.
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Old Nov 25th, 2022, 03:22 PM
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Oops, tagged for CO. Will send a note to moderators.
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Old Nov 26th, 2022, 04:02 AM
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Have you already been to Edge of Cedars State Park? If you want to see some rock art, try Thomason’s Wash, a short way north of I 70 a little east of 191, or Parawan Gap, or the Wolfman site, west of Bluff, Nine Mile Canyon, Buckhorn Wash, The rainbow site near Moore.

I wrote TRs with directions when I had my previous user name here. emalloy
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Old Nov 26th, 2022, 05:07 AM
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The southeast corner has a lot to see if you haven't been in that area - Hovenweep, Bears Ears, Natural Bridges, Goosenecks. Monument Valley and Canyon of the Ancients are also close enough for day trips. We based at Bluff Dwellings which is staying open over winter for the first time. I would ask what dining options are available in winter if you go.
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Old Nov 26th, 2022, 07:26 AM
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Thank you both. No, we haven't been to Edge of Cedars. We've been to Hovenweep and Natural bridges, but not the others.

I'll look into your suggestions.
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Old Nov 26th, 2022, 08:00 AM
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A friend really recommends Goblin Valley State Park. He said it's as good as a national park but without the crowds. Here's what I found online: "Goblin Valley includes an area where soft sandstone has eroded into interesting shapes, somewhat resembling goblins. In some spots the rock formations are close together and produce a maze-like playground ideal for family explorations."
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Old Nov 26th, 2022, 08:06 AM
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I have a trip report that includes the area A fall meander from TX to CA There are a few other places I forgot mention earlier like Valley of the Gods and Moki Dugway.
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Old Nov 26th, 2022, 09:49 AM
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Prairie - Goblin Valley is on my list from last time - we drove right by on our way to Torrey - I'm considering a full day there with two nights in Hanksville, but I can't tell if it has enough hiking trails to warrant a two night stay (one full day). We could stop on the way to Torrey, as it's only a 3.5 hour drive from GJ, then spend the afternoon there, with one night in Hanksville, or just stop enroute - I looked at their website yesterday and didn't find much in the way of hiking, so not sure how much time needed there. Any suggestions?
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Old Nov 26th, 2022, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by PrairieHikerI View Post
A friend really recommends Goblin Valley State Park. He said it's as good as a national park but without the crowds. Here's what I found online: "Goblin Valley includes an area where soft sandstone has eroded into interesting shapes, somewhat resembling goblins. In some spots the rock formations are close together and produce a maze-like playground ideal for family explorations."
On my visit to Goblin Valley SP, I actually found a geocache. I was glad that I had way pointed the car so I could find my way back. Other interesting Earthcaches and geocaches that I found were at Crystal Geyser (rare cold water geyser) and dinosaur tracks in stone at Copper Ridge about 20 miles north of Moab.
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Old Nov 26th, 2022, 10:02 AM
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tom - I thought about you while we were in Switzerland - a couple pulled up to a bus stop we were waiting at near Thusis, and started rummaging around the bus stop structure - they found something, made a note and then put it back. We didn't speak the same language, but they nodded and laughed when I asked "geocache?".

I don't know anything about geocaching.
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Old Nov 26th, 2022, 12:29 PM
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Answered my own question about Goblin's Valley - looks like there are five short hikes, plus several near Little Wild Horse Canyon.
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Old Nov 27th, 2022, 05:09 PM
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If you feel like being off the grid for a night:
https://valleyofthegodsbandb.com/

We stayed there for a couple nights in 2014, enjoyed it. I believe it's under new ownership now, so I'm not sure what the situation is for dining options. Back then we were able to get both breakfast and dinner. There were no other guests. It's less than half an hour to the metropolis of Mexican Hat.

If you haven't been to the Needles District of Canyonlands then that's worth the detour for several day hiking options. About 45 minutes from highway 191 south of Moab.

Don't forget to spend a few nights in Green River.
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Old Nov 27th, 2022, 06:43 PM
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State tag changed to Utah
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Old Nov 28th, 2022, 05:54 AM
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Nelson -

Can't imagine what we'd do in Green River - been through there a few times. What did I miss?

We visited Needles on a previous trip, probably won't this time.

Now leaning towards Hanksville (base for Goblin Valley, Little Horse Canyon, Little Egypt), Capitol Reef, Escalante (base for Kodachrome Basin State Park as well as immediate area), Kanab, Page and Bluff - then head back via Moab (Dead Horse Point, which we've missed on three visits now), and Grand Junction, or perhaps via Pagosa Springs.

Might be a longer trip that I had in mind though, and I'm trying to avoid some of the higher passes, but spouse not bothered by those.

Decisions, decisions.

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Old Nov 28th, 2022, 06:54 AM
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Mel - of course I was joking about Green River, forgot to put the smiley face. I remember your comments from a prior report.

One more side trip option if you are near Page is Marble River, by Lee's Ferry where the rafters put in for the Grand Canyon. There are a couple hikes there where you can either climb up to see the river, or just walk the lower section of the Paria Canyon on the Lonely Dell Ranch Trailhead. You pass the old ranch and head into the canyon, it's wide at this point, where you can see some petroglyphs.

There are a couple motels with restaurants at Marble Canyon, we stayed there prior a Paria backpack trip.


Colorado River above Lee's Ferry



Petroglyphs in the Lower Paria Canyon


Have a great trip!
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Old Nov 28th, 2022, 03:28 PM
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That first photo is fabulous!
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Old Nov 28th, 2022, 06:00 PM
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Seven nights at the Robbers Roost Motel in Green River was cheaper than 4 nights in any lodging in the Moab area. It worked well for day trips to Arches, Island in the Sky, Goblin Valley, Capitol Reef and several other places I wanted to visit in the southern half of Utah. The Crystal Geyser (cold water geyser) is next to the Green River southeast of town.There is a good prehistoric museum in Price, UT.
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Old Nov 29th, 2022, 06:53 AM
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Yes, but it's in Green River
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Old Dec 3rd, 2022, 11:52 AM
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Thinking of something like this:

One night Grand Junction

Visit Goblin Valley State Park enroute to Capitol Reef area, overnight Loa

Loa to Escalante - three nights - base for Kodachrome Basin State Park and anything we missed last year

Drive Cottonwood Canyon Road - possible to do this from Kodachrome Basin to Kanab?

Kanab - 2-3 nights - looks like most attractions are about an hour's drive from Kanab - Buckskin Gulch, Wire Pass, Cottonwood Wash Narrows, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Glen Canyon Dam Visitor’s Center. Not sure about Kanab yet.

Kanab to Page - three nights - Horseshoe Bend, The Hanging Garden, Wahweap Overlook. Glen Canyon Dam (not sure if best seen from Page or Kanab), Toadstools trail Page to Bluff - three nights - Monument Valley, Goosenecks, Valley of the Gods, Bears National Monument

Bluff to Pagosa Springs, CO - one night

Pagosa Springs - home

Dunno. Still researching.


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Old Dec 3rd, 2022, 03:02 PM
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Did you do Devils Garden or Willis Creek slot canyon the last time you were in Escalante?

Best Friends animal sanctuary in Kanab is set in a beautiful canyon and has a couple of short hikes. It's open for anyone to drive through and hike. There are also tours of the facilities you can book if interested. Their cafe (serves a vegan buffet) has a great view. They have cabins available too. I'm staying there tomorrow night.


Hidden Lake


View from Angel Village Cafe

The drive down to old Paria townsite is also pretty. Old Paria and the Toadstools are between Kanab and Page and you could do them the day you move from Kanab to Page.

Also near Kanab is this hike which I haven't done but it's been on my list https://www.americansouthwest.net/ar...rs-secret.html

Getting to some of these locations will depend on road conditions.

Last edited by Patty; Dec 3rd, 2022 at 03:06 PM.
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