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Rambling Around Robbers Roost II

Friday – Sunday, April 16-18, 2021

What a crazy two weeks it’s been! At the end of last week I got sick and missed two days of work and then for the first time this year I did not get outdoors on a weekend! Then earlier this week I noticed the ball joints on the front drivers-side axle of my Jeep were dangerously loose, so I had to replace those one evening after work this week before I felt safe driving it on the highway again. Plus, I’m currently changing jobs at work, so I’ve been dealing with the details of that as well, which has kept me pretty busy. Just over a month ago my plans for hiking in the Robbers Roost area were spoiled by the weather, so this weekend I decided it was time to return and try again. I left after work on Friday and made my way over to The Roost. My original goal for Saturday was to hike into Bluejohn Canyon, but when I arrived at the trailhead shortly before sunset I found a bunch of very large groups camped there. After my loop through Grand Gulch two weeks ago I really needed to find solitude away from people this weekend, so I left and continued driving on to Hans Flats so I could explore Spur Fork on Saturday instead.

I see the sign my friends replaced in 2019 is still there.

Leave the Cattle Alone

This was my view on Saturday morning as I hiked down from Hans Flats to Spur Fork.

Morning Cliffs

I stopped to check out Cowboy Cave along the way. Although there is not much to see at Cowboy Cave these days, it is an important place that was ‘a cornerstone in defining the Archaic occupational chronology of the Colorado Plateau.’ If you are interested in learning more about Cowboy Cave, this PDF has some good information about the site: Cowboy Cave Revisited

Cowboy Cave

Looking out from inside Cowboy Cave.

Cowboy Cave View

Spur Fork Sunstar

Spur Fork Sunstar

Shaded Bend

Although I didn’t take many photos on this hike, I ended up making a loop of about 16 miles and only passed a couple of horseback riders along the way. It was good for me to find some solitude after the past two weeks and my legs were pretty tired by the time I returned to my Jeep, which felt pretty good.

Canyon Hiking

Most of the day the sky was clear, but as I climbed back up to Hans Flat the sky seemed to fill with clouds.

Head Spur Buttes

When I returned to my Jeep it was still early in the afternoon and I wasn’t ready to go looking for a campsite yet, but my legs were also too tired for another hike, so I decided to head over to North Point to check out the beginning of the North Point Trail and then stop by the Millard Canyon Overlook. As I drove past the Hans Flat Ranger Station I was surprised to see all the vehicles park out front. I have never seen this Ranger Station so busy before!

When I reached the trailhead for the North Point Trail, I decided to follow it to the edge to see what the view was like.

North Point

This was the view from my stopping point on the trail where it started to descend. I need to come back to hike the rest of this trail sometime since it’s one of the few remaining official trails in The Maze that I have not hiked yet.

North Point Trail View

The view over Millard Canyon was looking nice this afternoon.

Millard Canyon Overlook

After leaving the Millard Canyon Overlook I headed over to White Roost Canyon and camped in the same spot I did last month. The roads seemed a little less wash-boarded this time, which was nice. After dinner I read and relaxed around camp and then went to bed early.

I was up before sunrise on Sunday morning and hiked to the rim of White Roost Canyon as the sun was coming up. I found the old horse trail into the canyon and then hiked downstream to Robbers Roost Arch. I was surprised at how nice White Roost Canyon was and there was water most of the way, but unfortunately it was very ‘cowed’ up.

Hiking across the white sandstone of the White Roost just before sunrise.

White Sandstone Morning

First light on the hills just above the White Roost.

White Roost Light

This was my view across to the other side of the canyon as I searched for the way down.

Across Canyon View

The old horse trail into the canyon was easy to find and follow. I was actually expecting it to be a little more difficult than it was…

Horse Trail Descent

Looking back up from the bottom of the Horse Trail.

Looking Up the Horse Trail

After hiking downcanyon for a couple of miles I climbed up a sandy hill for a closer look at Robbers Roost Arch.

Robbers Roost Arch

After a short ledge crawl I was able to get inside Robbers Roost Arch.

Inside The Arch

The view of Robbers Roost Canyon from under the arch.

Under Robbers Roost Arch

Robbers Roost Arch Sunstar

Robbers Roost Arch Sunstar

On my way back up White Roost Canyon I spotted this smaller arch on the canyon wall above.

White Roost Arch

The light during my hike back up White Roost Canyon was much better than it had been earlier, so I took a bunch of photos!

Lovely Canyon Wall

Canyon Streaks

White Roost Canyon

Canyon Colors

Canyon Trees

Canyon Step

Springtime in the White Roost

White Roost Bend

White Roost Canyon Wall

I continued hiking up-canyon past the Horse Trail to where the two forks of White Roost Canyon met, and then returned back to my Jeep at the trailhead.

White Roost Forks


The Dragonfly Panel

I also stopped to revisit the Dragonfly Panel this weekend while I was out and about, so I thought I would share some new photos of this amazing Barrier Canyon Style pictograph panel. It’s always been one of my favorites!

The Dragonfly Panel


Amazing Small Details

Small Lower Figures


>> Robbers Roost Photo Gallery


  1. Paul Johnson
    Paul Johnson January 8, 2023

    Your photos are wonderful. It is especially thrilling to see so much rock art that is completely new to me, after many years of traipsing around the southwest. Especially the Barrier Canyon sites I’ve never seen. Great photography!

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