The Edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau: Dominguez Canyon Wilderness
Friday – Saturday, March 25-26, 2022
This weekend I needed to stay close to home since Diane and I had tickets to a pair of concerts in town, so I decided to do a little exploring in the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness at the edge of the Uncompahgre Plateau on Saturday morning. Since I wasn’t going to be travelling far, I stopped home for a little bit after work on Friday and then made my way over to Escalante Canyon to spend the night. After fording Escalante Creek I drove up the Escalante Rim Road and found a nice campsite right along the rim of the canyon. I arrived about an hour before sunset and was treated to a 360 degree view of the Grand Mesa, West Elks and Sneffels Range. Unfortunately, it is currently open burn season in the area, so there was a lot of smoke and haze in the air this evening. I took a couple of photos before sunset and then read for a while until I went to bed early.
My view towards the Grand Mesa from the Escalante Rim. The desert was really starting to warm up this weekend as it was already 70 degrees out.
Escalante Rim Sunset
I woke up before sunrise on Saturday morning and drove back down to the McCarty Bench Trailhead in Escalante Canyon. I started hiking just as the sun was coming up and spent the rest of the morning exploring the McCarty Bench and Palmer Gulch before returning to my Jeep and heading back home to catch the concert in the evening. Here are a couple photos from my morning…
Hiking up the McCarty Trail at sunrise.
Early morning light on Camp Ridge.
Following the trail across the McCarty Bench.
It was still pretty hazy out this morning. In the upper right corner of this photo you can just make out the Devil’s Thumb in the Adobe Badlands across the valley.
While hiking across the bench was mostly easy, there were a few drainages that needed to be crossed and avoided.
Walking up the wash in Palmer Gulch.
There was a nice short section of narrows through the sandstone.
Exploring Palmer Gulch
Here’s a look over Palmer Gulch and up Gunnison Gulch as I climbed back up to the McCarty Bench.
Lower Palmer Gulch
It was starting to get a bit warm out as I made my way back. It was just under 80 degrees when I returned to my Jeep at the trailhead. That’s a little bit warm for this time of the year!
I came across a couple of large boulders on the McCarty Bench that had large holes weathered through them.
Following the McCarty Trail back down into Escalante Canyon.
Petroglyphs of the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness
These are photos of a couple petroglyph panels I came across this weekend.