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A ‘Swell’ Weekend & more…

Saturday & Sunday, May 2-3, 2009

Last Wednesday was Amanda’s birthday, and for her birthday she wanted to go to Goblin Valley. She picked this weekend, so I planned a little trip around it. We left right after work on Friday and headed straight for Hanksville to setup camp. It was a very nice evening and we got a great night of sleep.

Saturday morning we were up bright and early and on our way to Goblin Valley. The skies had become dark and cloudy overnight, but there was no rain yet….but that soon changed when we entered the park. We waited in the Jeep for a little while with hopes that the rain would quit, but after a while we decided to brave the weather and head out into the valley. The wet ground made getting around a little difficult, but once Amanda removed her sandals she had a great time playing in the sand.






We did have some breaks in the rain while we were out there, so we didn’t get drenched. After spending a few hours in the park (mostly by ourselves), it appeared that the skies were clearing up so we headed over to Little Wild Horse Canyon. The road to the trailhead was pretty wet and turned into a greasy clay without much traction, but we slowly made it over there.

When we arrived at the trail, the skies were pretty clear and the canyon was dry, so we decided to head up the canyon narrows for a way.





After hiking up the canyon about a mile and a half, we noticed the skies were getting darker again, so we figured it might be a good idea to turn around and head back out as quickly as we could. On our way out we started to hear some thunder, and as we were nearing the mouth of the canyon it started to pour.


We found an overhang and sat down under it to wait out the storm


The rain was heavy for a short time, but it didn’t last long. Once it quit again, we made our way back to the Jeep for lunch and then continued on along the Wild Horse Mesa trail.


Great colors


We came across one section of road that was wet on the very top and dry underneath. My tires were flicking up large chunks of earth with every turn…..including this piece that landed right on my mirror.


A two-story cabin near the Muddy Creek



View upstream from the Muddy Creek ford….which was flowing rather clear this time.

On our way towards and past factory Butte

Factory Butte

After we reached UT 24, we made a left and headed back into Hanksville to fuel up again.

Fuel from the Hollow Mountain

At this point we had done everything I had planned for the day, but we still had plenty of daylight left. Since neither of us had been to Lake Powell before we decided to make the short drive over to Hite to check it out.

A low Lake Powell

Colorado River bridge

After leaving Hite, we headed back again for dinner in Hanksville….but even after dinner, we still had plenty of time before sunset. We ended up heading back to Goblin Valley for some sunset photos, but this time we took Molly’s Castle trail to reach the park.

Most of the trail was very sandy. There was even a large sand dune that had blown across the road at one point.

Molly’s Castle, taken by Amanda

Sunset at Goblin Valley… was dried out by this time.




After dark, we headed back to camp and fell asleep pretty quickly 😉

After breaking down camp on Sunday morning we made our way to Temple Mountain and headed south on the Behind the Reef Road in the San Rafael Swell. I was hoping to take it to Little Wild Horse Canyon and follow another trail out, but right around the corner past Chute Canyon the trail got much more difficult and was washed out in places. Being alone, I decided to turn around and head a different direction. I hopped on a connecting trail that took us over to Flat Top and then back to the Temple Mountain Road, so that we could make our way down to the Hidden Splendor Mine.

Old car along the way

Near Hidden Splendor


Muddy Creek

After checking out the dead end spur trails near the Hidden Splendor, we turned around and headed back out past Temple Mountain and then back home.


The weather may not have cooperated with us as fully as we would have liked, but we still managed to have a good time in spite of it. I know we will definitely be heading back this way to explore some more of the area!

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