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The Arches of Mee Canyon II

Canyons of the Black Ridge Wilderness: Bulwark Arch & Arete Arch
Saturday & Sunday, April 2-3, 2022

This weekend I needed to stay close to home since I’m going to be leaving on a trip to The Maze in a couple of days, so Diane and I decided to head out on a local overnight backpacking trip into the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness to visit a couple more arches located on the benches high above Mee Canyon. We slept in a bit late on Saturday morning, had a good breakfast, and then drove up through Glade Park to the Knowles Canyon Trailhead in the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area. We shouldered our packs and followed the Knowles Canyon Trail for about a mile and then followed a maze of old roads to the rim of a western fork of Mee Canyon and set up camp on top of the ridge.

Welcome to the McInnis Canyons National Conservation Area.

McInnis Canyons NCA

The clouds were looking nice this morning and I was hoping they would stick around like this all day, but they didn’t.

Entrada Bluffs & Clouds

Hiking into the Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness.

Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness Sign

Following the Knowles Canyon Trail along the Entrada bluffs.

Knowles Canyon Trail

Hiking up to the top of the ridge to meet the old road.

Up The Trail

Starting our short decent towards the rim of Mee Canyon. If you know the area and look very closely you can actually find Will Minor Arch in this shot.

Grand Valley View

From our campsite we were able to climb straight down into this fork of Mee Canyon and then follow the bench to the arches.

Mee Canyon Fork

A nice little hoodoo on this outcropping of sandstone.

Hoodoo Rock

The hiking along these benches of Mee Canyon was a little tougher than I was expecting and it slowed us down a great deal.

Mee Canyon Benches

Arete Arch

Arete Arch

Colorful sandstone walls in a little nook.

Sandstone Designs

Bulwark Arch

Bulwark Arch

After visiting these first two arches I had hoped to follow the bench on the other side of the canyon to Protractor Arch, but since this hike ended up being double the length I was expecting and slow going it was getting late and we were both getting tired, so we decided it would be best to call it a day and head back to camp.

Following the bench back up the canyon.

Bench Hiking

Back Up the Canyon

A look down the canyon as we climbed up the steep and loose slope to the top.

Canyon Wall

Climbing the last ledge out of the canyon.

Canyon Exit

After dinner I wandered around camp taking photos until sunset.

Mesa-Top View

Camping Above The Canyons

Camping Above The Canyons

The Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness at sunset.

Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness

Evening View from Camp

Once it started to get dark out we both went to bed early since it had been a long day under the sun and we were tired. There were a couple light sprinkles of rain on the tent overnight and the wind started to pick up in the early morning hours as a cold front was moving into the area. We got up about a half hour before sunrise and started packing up camp since it was mostly overcast out with a chance of rain. The hike back to the trailhead was quick and uneventful, but we did hike through a light rain that got us a little wet for about the last mile or so. We made it home before lunchtime and I was able to start preparing for my upcoming trip to The Maze.

Our morning view from camp at dawn with the Book Cliffs hidden in the clouds.

Cloudy Canyon Morning

Following an old road back to the Knowles Canyon Trailhead.

Old Road Walking

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  1. Mike Miller
    Mike Miller April 11, 2022

    Beautiful pictures as usual!

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