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Flat Pass Exploring

Moab Area Rock Art XXVIII | Saturday, February 4, 2017

Flat Pass Hoodoo
A nice hoodoo overlooking Flat Pass and the surrounding area.

On Saturday I was up early to meet Marty in Moab so we could spend the day exploring the area surrounding Flat Pass along Mill Creek and the Steelbender Trail. I was hoping to access a large petroglyph panel high on the wall of Mill Creek Canyon from above. I managed to time my drive to Moab perfectly so that I was driving through the Richardson Amphitheater near Castle Valley as the sun came up for the day. Of course, I stopped and took a few photos of the nice sunrise.

It’s always nice to drive through the Richardson Amphitheater along the Colorado River at sunrise.

Richardson Amphitheater Morning Panorama

Sister Superior Sunrise

Sister Superior Sunrise

Morning sunlight strikes the Priest and Nuns with Castle Rock poking out on the right side.

Priest and Nuns

The Porcupine Rim

Porcupine Rim

After meeting up with Marty in town and topping off the fuel tank in my Jeep we headed out past Ken’s Lake to Flat Pass. We stopped to check out a few rock art sites along the road and then Marty found a place to leave his Jeep and rode with me as we followed the Steelbender Trail for a few miles. This trail was a bit more difficult than I expected so we didn’t really make great time. It might have been just as fast to hike the road, but it’s been a while since I drove a tough trail in my Jeep, so it was good practice. After parking my Jeep along the trail we hiked to the rim of Mill Creek Canyon to see if we could access the petroglyph panel from above. Unfortunately, we would not be able to find a way down to the panel.

The first panel of petroglyphs we would visit when we got into Mill Creek Canyon.

Lizard Man

Unfortunately, these old Barrier Canyon Style pictographs are severely damaged.

Damaged Pictographs

Palisade, Colo. 1909

Palisade, Colo. 1909

A few more faint petroglyphs.

Faded Panel

I liked this interesting petroglyph that was high above.

High Petroglyph

Starting the climb out of Mill Creek up the Steelbender Trail.

Steelbender Trail

The ADVENTR Jeep showing off on the trail.


After returning to Mill Creek Canyon we spent the rest of the late afternoon exploring in the general vicinity of Flat Pass. Some very nice clouds had moved into the sky and the warm sunlight on the surround sandstone was very nice.

We stopped to see a few more petroglyphs after returning from the Steelbender Trail.

Triangle Head Petroglyph

Spirals Panel

One big stick-figure and a bunch of smaller ones.

Old Stick Figures

Marty in Mill Creek Canyon.

Mill Creek Exploring

Sandstone domes along Mill Creek.

Sandstone Dome

Mill Creek Arch

Mill Creek Arch

Sandstone Mountain

My Jeep parked at Flat Pass.

Flat Pass

The view toward South Mesa from Flat Pass.

Flat Pass View


I spent a little time photographing this nice caprock hoodoo.

Caprock Hoodoo

I finally made some time to visit Moab’s Faux Falls before heading back to town for dinner. Plus, I got to test out the new Ice 10 Stop ND Filter that Diane got me for Christmas. I think it worked pretty well…

Waterfall In the Desert

Faux Falls

The clouds were very beautiful this evening.

Sandstone & Clouds

South Mountain over red mountains of sandstone.

Red Rock & South Mountain

A close look at a snow-covered Mount Tukuhnikivatz in the clouds.

Mount Tukuhnikivatz

Mount Tukuhnikivatz over red rocks.

Tuk In the Clouds

Even though I wasn’t able to reach the petroglyph panel I wanted to from above, we still had a great day of exploring! The weather was perfect, the roads and trails were dry, and we didn’t see another person or vehicle all day on the trail!

>> Flat Pass Exploring Photo Gallery

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