Southern Utah Wanderings | Tuesday – Thursday, October 3-5, 2023
After spending the last couple of days exploring the canyons of the Dark Canyon Plateau, it was now time for Jared and I to spend a little time in the canyons of Cedar Mesa. After grabbing dinner and replenishing our supplies in Blanding on Monday afternoon, we returned to Comb Wash and found a nice campsite to spend the night in. Then on Tuesday morning we headed up the narrow and sandy road into Arch Canyon where we planned to stay through the following day. It’s been just about fifteen years since either of us had driven into Arch Canyon and we were looking forward to some new hikes, spending the night in the canyon, and hopefully finding some ruins that we had missed on previous visits.
Tower & Moon in Arch Canyon
Ruins & Moon
High Ledge Ruins
When we reached the end of the road we had a good view of Cathedral Arch.
After eating lunch and relaxing around the campsite at the end of the road for a while, we went on an afternoon hike into Texas Canyon.
Texas Canyon Alcove View
There were some tall towers and spires in Texas Canyon.
There wasn’t much of a trail in Texas Canyon and we found ourselves rock-hopping up the wash most of the time. After a couple of miles the wash got a bit more boulder-y and we decided to turn around here.
Texas Canyon Spires
After returning to camp and resting for a while, I went for a short hike up Arch Canyon to visit Angel Arch.
Arch Canyon Tower
There was some great light on Cathedral Arch just after sunset this evening.
It was a calm and cool night in Arch Canyon and I slept very well. On Wednesday morning we were up early again and started hiking up Arch Canyon shortly after sunrise.
As we walked past the mouth of Texas Canyon we had a good view of Texas Canyon Arch in the early morning light.
Arch Canyon Reflection
Two ruins we spotted high up on a ledge.
After a couple of miles we got our first glimpse of Keystone Arch.
Jared hiking up the narrowing canyon as we tried to get a closer view of the arch.
After returning to camp from our hike it was time to drive back out of Arch Canyon. Before driving into Arch Canyon the previous day Jared was unsure if he was going to take his Jeep, as I had offered him the option to ride with me, but in the end he drove his own Jeep and really didn’t seem to have any issues, although we did have to move just a couple of rocks along the way. I guess his Cherokee is Trail Rated after all!
Two Jeeps in Arch Canyon
Arch Canyon View
Blue Bricks Ruin
After leaving Arch Canyon we drove up onto Cedar Mesa and found a spot to camp along the Snow Flat Road. While we were in camp we heard a chainsaw, which is not uncommon on Cedar Mesa, but we also noticed a plume of smoke and realized there might be a little wildfire below, most likely started by lightning from the storm two nights before.
Wildfire Smoke Below
Our suspicions were confirmed when we heard a helicopter approaching and then watched it drop a bag full of gear to the firefighters below.
The helicopter leaving after dropping the bag of gear.
We did have a nice view of the Abajo Mountains and Bears Ears from our campsite this evening.
We spent Thursday morning hiking into a canyon searching for ruins, and we found a couple…
I was going to be leaving Jared and heading back home this afternoon, but on our way back to Blanding we stopped to look for an interesting rock formation that is similar to the Goblet of Venus, which was unfortunately destroyed many years ago. We had no trouble finding the similar sandstone formation and took a couple of photos.