Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hidden Valley Trail

The Hidden Valley Trail is about a 5 mile round trip that passes through a narrow elevated valley in the rocky terrain near Moab in southeast Utah. The trail head is about 3 miles south of the center of Moab off of Angel Rock Road on the opposite side of Highway 191 from the Moab golf course.

The first part of the trail climbs with switchbacks 680 feet up through the jumbled sandstone cliff. From below the notch into the Hidden Valley isn’t visible. There are good views back toward the south part of Moab as the trail rises.

In Hidden Valley the trail is flat and smooth and surrounded on both sides by towering walls of rock. The valley floor is grassy with scattered Utah Junipers and scattered desert shrubs. This trail connects to the Moab Rim 4WD trail that starts along the Colorado River and the Kane Creek Road. It is about 2.4 miles to the marked junction of the two trails. Vehicles aren’t able to continue past the end of the Moab Rim Trail.

On the right or north side of the Hidden Valley Trail at the junction with the Moab Rim Trail there is a long cliff face that has several unpublicized rock art petroglyph panels. About 200 yards past the junction there is an unmarked side trail that climbs up to the base of the cliffs. The side trail runs both up and down the cliff face. Most of the five or six art panels are to the right and uphill spread out over about 200 yards.

There are a variety of images including many mountain sheep, human figures, geometric designs and at least two flute players.

The side trail also goes to the left, around a corner and up a short side canyon that is behind the main canyon wall. In the side canyon there is at least one more rock art panel that sits high above the floor and takes a little climbing to get up to.

It is an interesting panel that includes a line of marchers wearing backpacks and led by flute players. It is somewhat similar to the Procession Panel in the Comb Ridge area of southeast Utah near the town of Bluff. There may be as many as six flute players in this panel.

The return hike has views of the LaSal Mountains to the east. It took me about 30 minutes to climb to the entrance to Hidden Valley and a total time of 1:15 to arrive at the junction of the Hidden Valley and Moab Rim Trails. I spent about 1:15 hours to view the petroglyphs and then 1:00 hour to return to the trail head. My total hike took 3:30 hours for about 5 miles. I carried 2 liters of water on an 85 F day in late September and drank it all.

532497_120 x 90 Starting Salary $42k. Group 1

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Devils Garden Primitive Loop Trail

The Devils Garden Primitive Loop is an alternate return route after arriving at the Double O Arch in Arches National Park in southeast Utah. It is about 2.1 miles along the trail to the start of the Primitive Loop with several large and famous arches to see along the way.

While viewing Double O, there is also a good view of the pinnacle called Dark Angel. Just before arriving at Double O arch there is a sign pointing out the view point for Black Arch. It is hard to see the opening of Black Arch as it is always in shadows.

The upper opening of Double O Arch is about 66 feet wide. The area below the arch is very sandy and the walking is a little difficult. The lower opening is large enough for several people to stand in.

There is a sign at the start of the Primitive Loop cautioning hikers that the hiking is difficult. Along this first section the trail is fairly easy walking and up ahead is a side trail to Private Arch.

I skipped the side trail to Dark Angel and continued along the Primitive Loop. The first obvious arch is called Top Story Arch.

The walk to Private Arch is a few hundred yards and about 5 minutes. There are some tricky spots along the trail past Private Arch. But if you made it this far you can probably continue.

Two Blocks Arch is another small arch high on the canyon wall to the right about 80% of the way to Private Arch.
After the Private Arch side trail, the Primitive Trail turns south through an area of fins and descends towards a wash. Before arriving at the wash Box Arch is on the right. There isn’t a sign pointing out Box Arch so keep an eye out for the footprints of other hikers in the sand.

Just below Box Arch is the one really tricky part of the trail. There is a slanted narrow ledge above a drop off that was a nervous area to get across. I leaned far to the uphill side and stepped very carefully to the point where I could slide down to the bottom. It looked like this would be a slippery and hard spot to climb up if you were hiking the loop counter clock wise.

The trail continues in the wash for a ways and then a sign directs you out of the wash and back onto an easy to follow trail. The sand is loose in the last stretch making the walking a workout. 

The views along this section are back towards the many towering rock fins. There may be some arches to find hidden in the fins but there aren't any more signs or obvious side trails.

 Keep an eye out for Crystal Arch to the east, about 5 minutes northeast of the junction of the Primitive Loop and Landscape Arch. (Separate Post for Crystal Arch, use labels to find.)

The Primitive Loop rejoins the main trail at Landscape Arch and there is a different view of it as you approach the trail junction. My total hike was about 7 miles and took 3:20 hours. I carried 2 liters of water on an 85 F degree early September day and drank it all and needed a big drink when I finished.