We took boats twice on the Colorado River south of Moab to the edge of Canyonlands National Park. We wanted to do it again. But Colorado and Utah had been in a prolonged drought, and the river was too low for jet boats. Gravity would get Alie into a raft, but with her RA, only hydraulics could get her out.
So we drove Utah 279 along the western side of the river [the north side where it loops]. It is paved to just beyond a Texas Gulf potash plant near the base of Dead Horse Mesa. A dirt road continues into Canyonlands.
Click on photos to enlarge and use the back arrow to return to the post.
First American rock art carved into the desert varnish thousands of years ago is next to the highway. I wondered how the artists got up that high to work. Then it occurred to me ground level was once probably quite a bit higher before it was dug out by the relentless river.
We passed a campground. There are also a number of BLM maintained trails along the way. My favorite name was “Poison Spider,” but I chose to walk the Corona Arch trail. It crossed a railroad track that seemed still in use. We saw a train coming from the potash plant later on when we drove further down the road.
I would like to have driven the dirt road to the western Canyonlands National Park visitors center, but it became increasingly rough the further we proceeded. Finally I turned around. I was confident in my vehicle, but I wasn’t confident in my tires. They still had good tread but already more than fifty thousand miles on them. I had a spare, but two flats would have left us stranded.
Date of our visit: 28 September 2018