A long post for a long day.
Today we headed over to the central part of the monument in Colorado accessed by the Harpers Corner Road. It was a day of long distance views. Some great, some good and some just OK, but I am going to include at least one picture from each stop as this blog is a record of our trip and not necessarily a best of. Hang in there though as the ones at the end are really good.
There are no fossils in the section of the monument. Here it is all about the views and we stopped at them all. While the western section of the park is at about 5000 feet in elevation, this section is on the western edge of the Colorado Plateau at about 7700 feet in elevation.
The first part of the road is the climb up to the plateau.
The first thing you see is Plug Hat Butte which seems to have broken off from the main plateau.
There was a pullover beside it.
And again the first of many photospheres.
Just past the butte there is a stop on top of the plateau where you can take a short trail to a point and look down on the butte.
From the point.
Jennie liked the dead tree silhouettes against the bright blue sky.
On the other side of the road there was a picnic area where you could look down on Bull Canyon.
The next stop was the Escalante Overlook. Just OK (we are getting jaded).
It did have an info board showing the different visibility depending on the pollution level. I think today was a bit better than average.
It was a long drive across the sagebrush covered plateau. This picture is from the drive back, when the sky was much darker, but you get the idea.
The upper section of the road is still all about the views but here the view is mainly of the deep canyons created by the Yampa and Green Rivers.
At the end of the side road to the Canyon Overlook the road split. We went down to the picnic area first.
There s still a lot of snow in some spots up here.
There was no real official view here so I just walked over to the edge, watching out for the cactus.
The river canyons are on the very left side of the picture above.
And the photosphere.
The real viewpoint was on the other fork in the road, above the snow in the previous picture.
A close up of our first real view of the canyons, in the center of the picture above.
The Echo Park Road is a dirt road that branches off and allows you to climb down the 2500 feet vertical to river’s edge. We will take it later but the Dugway Overlook shows the start of the road as it zig zags its way down off the plateau.
The Island Park Overlook gives a long view north.
The Iron Springs Bench Overlook. This is the main view.
There was a looping side trail off to the side. I went to investigate the view there. As I rounded a corner I can face to face with these guys.
I decided to take the other side of the loop to this view. Another only OK one.
Echo Park is a wide field down at river level surrounded by high parabolic walls. Guess what you can see from the Echo Park Overlook.
You can also see the end of Echo Park Road as it loops through a deep canyon.
At the end of the Harpers Corner Road there is a 3 km return out and back trail that takes you out to a point to look down on the best view of the river canyons.
It was an easy, mostly flat trail but there were not many views the until the end. Most of the time the Pinyon Pine trees were blocking the way. We did get a few peeks.
The river you can see is the Yampa. The rock that it curves around is called Steamboat Rock. The Green River joins the Yampa from the left on the far side of Steamboat Rock.
We got a different angle view of Echo Park
I think this is the approximate path of Echo Park Road.
There was one spot where we got a great view to the west of the joined Green/Yampa now call the Green River as it goes through Whirlpool Canyon to the west.
Jennie didn’t like this short section of the trail as it went right along a very steep edge.
A lot of companies run rafting trips down the river but I didn't think they had started yet.
At the end of the trail there was a fenced off open flat area.
Apparently this used to be seabed as there were shell fossils in the limestone.
With the fence Jennie was comfortable going to the edge. West.
A photosphere from here.
We could finally see the Green River, which is really green before is joins with the Yampa.
A good place to have lunch.
And then reluctantly heading back.
We drove back and started down Echo Park Road.
A sign said that regular passenger cars were not recommended but I think that in the shape the road was today, any car could have made it if they were careful at a few rough spot.
Down we go on the zig zags called a dugway.
And then through some narrow canyons.
Until it opened up a bit.
The wall in the background is where we had been on Harpers Corner Road, 2500 feet above us now.
There were a few shallow wet spots.
Then into that deep canyon that we could see from above.
Along one wall of the canyon was the Whispering Cave.
It is a low cave made up of three slabs of rock. The back and front walls and then a slab between them that when you look up the cracks you cannot see the join.
You could hear yourself pretty clearly end to end.
Onward to Echo Park and Steamboat Rock. It had gotten a bit grey out but the sun did come back.
I forgot to get a wide shot of Echo Park but I did take a photosphere. Even more stupidly I didn’t check out the echo. Doh!
The only access to the river was at a boat ramp with Steamboat Rock just across from us.
And then we started the 1.5 hour drive back home.
Another great day with some great scenery.