Arches National Park | Saturday, April 23, 2022
Recently I realized that it’s been a while since I last explored the backcountry of Arches National Park and I was definitely overdue for a return. After a winter hike down Lower Salt Wash Canyon a couple years ago I’ve been interested in exploring the upper reaches of Salt Wash and a recent Trip Report from Dennis finally gave me the motivation I needed to get back out to that area. I was all set to leave after work on Friday afternoon like I usually do, but a storm system was moving through the area with very strong winds and rain, so I decided to stay home overnight and then leave early in the morning since I wasn’t travelling far from home this weekend. After a good night of sleep I woke up early on Saturday morning, grabbed a quick breakfast and headed west into Utah.
The sun was just coming up as I followed the Yellow Cat Road to The Poison Strip.
I was hoping the constant strong winds overnight would help dry the roads out quickly from the rain, but they were still a little muddy this morning, but not nearly as bad as they could’ve been.
The sun came out as I drove across The Highlands to the edge of Salt Wash and I was glad that I got an early start this morning since it was a lovely drive.
It was still a bit breezy out when I started hiking down into the canyon and it was much cooler out than it had been the previous week, which was perfect weather for a long hike!
This is a view across Salt Wash to Devils Garden on the horizon. If you look closely you can pick out Landscape Arch and Dark Angel.
The storm was still clearing out this morning and the clouds were looking great which complimented the amazing sandstone of upper Salt Wash nicely and made for a very beautiful and enjoyable hike.
An inscription left by Delbert Taylor in 1927.
After casually hiking downstream and taking a lot of photos along the way, I soon reached the confluence with Lost Spring Canyon.
From Lost Spring Canyon I hiked downstream about another mile before I was cut off by the deep arroyo and didn’t feel like finding a way across, so I turned around here.
Of course, I took more photos on the way back as I explored some of the side pockets.
I passed by these two axle joints on the way back up the canyon. The things you find in the desert!
I made a short detour on the way back and did a little exploring in Clover Canyon, which was a bit of a bushwhack at times, but a very scenic canyon.
Then I continued up to Cordova Canyon which had plenty of flowing water.
A large alcove in Cordova Canyon.
There were also a lot of seeps in this canyon.
Walking along striped canyon walls as I hiked back up to the trailhead.
Yep, it’s still there and in good shape!
Westwater Canyon Overlook & Little Hole
After leaving Winter Camp Ridge I drove back towards Colorado to the edge of the Westwater Canyon Wilderness Study Area. My original plan was to find somewhere to camp tonight and then hike out to an overlook of Westwater Canyon and into Little Hole on Sunday morning before heading home. However, when I arrived I still had over four hours until sunset and didn’t want to just sit around doing nothing, so I decided to hike to the overlook this afternoon since my legs weren’t feeling tired yet.
It had become a lot more cloudy during my drive over here, but there was still a bit of spotlighting in Star Canyon as I started hiking to the rim of Westwater Canyon.
It looked like there was even a good rainstorm across the Grand Valley over by the Book Cliffs.
The hike didn’t take long and about thirty minutes later I was standing at the edge of Westwater Canyon overlooking Bowling Alley Rapid and Sock-it-to-Me Rapid.
Looking the other direction I had a good view of Skull Rapid and the Room of Doom.
I found these potholes full of water at the edge of Big Hole and Trail Canyon during my hike back.
At this point I still had about two hours until sunset, so I figured I might as well hike down into Little Hole this evening, too.
I returned to my Jeep shortly before sunset and had now hiked everything I wanted to this weekend, so I decided to just head home and have a lazy Sunday around the house, which is something I don’t do very often.
Petroglyphs Found Along the Way
These are a couple photos of the petroglyph panels I found during my hikes today.
Exit Route Panel
It’s too bad the light wasn’t great on this one while I was there because I found it pretty interesting. I may need to return to this one sometime for a better photo!
Sheep on a Boulder
This is an unusual zoomorph.
Little Elk Petroglyph