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

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