American Locations 18

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Canyonlands Needles District National Park 2

Early the next morning we returned to Canyonlands. We got a lot of hiking in. We hiked the Cold Springs Trail, the Pothole Trail, the Roadside Ruin Trail, while I hiked the Slickrock Trail by myself.

Note how well the trail is marked.

In this photo you can see the road. It winds all through the park past some great scenery.

There were some ancient Native American ruins.

And pictographs along the trail.

There were also artifacts of settlers who lived here after the Native Americans.

We returned to out site late that afternoon and crashed after a full day of hiking.

Next Location – Natural Bridges National Monument, Utah

American Locations 17

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Canyonlands Needles District NP, Utah

Early the next morning we left Horsethief and drove back into Moab. We had run our 30 gallon water tank completely dry. We refilled it at a gas station then stopped at a grocery store to stock up on supplies. After, we headed south out on Hwy. 191. I was glad to get out of Moab. The traffic was crazy. It was much better away from the city. We pulled over to see Wilson Arch, which was right alongside the road.

Continuing south on Hwy. 191, we turned west onto Rte. 211. We stopped to see Newspaper Rock.

Here is a Wikipedia article about it:

Newspaper Rock State Historic Monument is a Utah state monument featuring a rock panel carved with one of the largest known collections of petroglyphs.[1] It is located in San Juan County, Utah, along Utah State Route 211, 28 miles (45 km) northwest of Monticello and 53 miles (85 km) south of Moab.

It is along the relatively well-traveled access road into the Needles district of Canyonlands National Park, 12 miles (19 km) from US 191 and 30 miles (48 km) from the park boundary. The 200-square-foot (19 m2) rock is a part of the vertical Wingate sandstone cliffs that enclose the upper end of Indian Creek Canyon, and is covered by hundreds of petroglyphs—one of the largest, best preserved and easily accessed groups in the Southwest. The petroglyphs feature a mixture of human, animal, material and abstract forms.

Newspaper Rock was designated a State Historical Monument in 1961,[2] and was added to the National Register of Historic Places listings in San Juan County, Utah as Indian Creek State Park in 1976.


The first carvings at the Newspaper Rock site were made around 2,000 years ago, left by people from the Archaic, Anasazi, Fremont, Navajo, Anglo, and Pueblo cultures.[3]

In Navajo, the rock is called “Tse’ Hone'” which translates to a rock that tells a story.[3]

The petroglyphs were carved by Native Americans during both the prehistoric and historic periods. There are over 650 rock art designs. The drawings on the rock are of different animals, human figures, and symbols. These carvings include pictures of deer, buffalo, and pronghorn antelope. Some glyphs depict riders on horses, while other images depict past events like in a newspaper. While precisely dating the rock carvings has been difficult, repatination of surface minerals reveals their relative ages. The reason for the large concentration of the petroglyphs is unclear.

The pictures at Newspaper Rock were inscribed into the dark coating on the rock, called desert varnish. Desert varnish is a blackish manganese-iron deposit that gradually forms on exposed sandstone cliff faces owing to the action of rainfall and bacteria. The ancient artists produced the many types of figures and patterns by carefully pecking the coated rock surfaces with sharpened tools to remove the desert varnish and expose the lighter rock beneath. The older figures are themselves becoming darker in color as new varnish slowly develops.

We drove on west on Rte. 211 to Canyonlands Needles District NP. We stopped at the visitor center and learned their campground was full. So we backtracked to just out of the park to a private campground. It was quite beautiful, just as good or better than we could have gotten in the park.

Here’s a better shot of the teepee the campground rented. See the little horned guy on the side of the teepee? I saw that image all over the southwest. It represented a Native American spirt, but I’m not sure from which tribe.

After securing a site, we drove back into the park.

The Dutch Shoe Arch.

Here are some of the camping sites in the park campground we couldn’t get into.

Cactus and a lot of other stuff was blooming.

We returned to our campsite late that afternoon. We had a nice sunset and a beautiful night sky for more star gazing.

Next Location – Canyonlands Needles District NP 2

American Locations 16

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

That morning we had to work our way through herds of cattle on the way to Dead Horse Point SP. We saw the visitor center then I hiked the West Rim Trail from there to the Colorado River overlook.

We then drove to the Dead Horse Point overlook. It started raining, so we parked the motor home and had lunch, then a short nap. By the time we woke up the rain had stopped. It is so convenient traveling in a motor home, especially such a small one you can take nearly anywhere. We walked to the overlook.

And hiked along the rim. Notice all the puddles from the just-ended rain.

Notice the trail marker. They are all over the trails, makes it hard to get lost.

The view was spectacular.

By the time we got back to Horsethief I wasn’t ready to quit, so I hiked on a trail from the campground that led far into the trees below our site. This is the view of the trees from our site.

After cloudy skies the two previous stormy nights, this night it was clear and, although still cold, a great night for bundling up in a blanket and laying out gazing at the stars.

Next Location – Canyonlands Needles District NP, Utah

American Locations 15

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Canyonlands NP Island In The Sky District, Utah

The next morning we drove north from Moab on Hwy. 191 to left onto Rte. 313. This short drive took us to Horsethief BLM campground. It was primitive with no water whatsoever, but it was an isolated beautiful place. So different from the private campground in Moab where we had been squeezed in for the last 2 nights.

We drove to Canyonlands NP Island In The Sky District and saw the visitor center, then decided to save the rest for tomorrow. We had already spent most of the day in Arches. We returned to Horsethief to spend what was left of the day lazing around our site. The weather had been pleasant, but it turned cold and windy and rainy that night. We got an early start the next morning and spent the entire day in Canyonlands.

We drove all through the park.

We hiked to Mesa Arch

After, I hiked on the Taylor Spring Trail down from the road as far as the cliff face. It was a challenging hike.

You can see how the trail continues down to and across the bottom.

But that wasn’t for me. I had enough trouble getting back up.

I also hiked the Upheaval Dome Trail.

We both hiked the Rim Trail.

Then drove back to Horsethief. It had been a long exhausting day. That night it was even colder than the night before, with rain and sleet.

Next Location – Dead Horse Point State Park, Utah

American Locations 14

The trip is from Lewis & Clark Monument, Illinois, to Kickapoo State Park, Illinois, by way of the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Arizona

Arches NP, Utah 2

We rose early the following morning to continue touring Arches. It’s easy going in the morning, but as more and more cars and tour buses pour in, the trails get crowded and the parking lots full. Still, Arches is such a large park it can accommodate crowds. We zipped through the front of the park to reach the point where we had stopped yesterday.

In these photos you can see snow-capped mountains in the background.

We drove deeper into the park.

And stopped for one of my two favorite hikes in Arches.

After, we continued driving and parking to look around.

Then we took the second of my two favorite hikes.

Finally, it was back out to the parking lot.

Exhausted once again after two long hikes, we drove back out.

Of course, we still pulled over to look at interesting stuff that caught our eye.

Finally, we drove out of the park back into Moab to crash once again at out cottonwood-infested campground site. Fun can be so exhausting.

Next Location – Canyonlands NP Island In The Sky District