Saturday, December 8, 2018

Southeastern Utah; Part 2 - Fall 2018

Friday, October 26 (continued)

Part 2 of 2

Continued from Part 1

Remember to click on a photo to view a larger version.

Valley of the Gods

There was a strong breeze again, so looked for a campsite that might have a bit of a windbreak. I found a spot with a great view, behind a small hill that deflected much of the wind. I took a few photos, but there were no clouds to create a sunset, so I haven't posted those.

Saturday, October 27

I took a few photos from my campsite around sunrise.

The sun is still below the horizon, but providing glorious color to the sky.

The sun is just touching the edge of Cedar Mesa across the valley.

As I was breaking camp I noticed a cyclist. I waved hello and spoke for a few minutes. I offered him water, but he said he had plenty. He was touring across the U.S. headed now for Mexican Hat. He was European; I cannot now remember from which country.

It was time to head toward home. I took more photos on the way out of the valley.

The cottonwoods were just beginning to change.

On US-163 headed east, Comb Ridge is in shadow. You can see the mountains west of Monticello, UT

When I turned south on US-191, I noticed a road dropping off the west side of the highway, just before the bridge, down toward the San Juan. I made a last second decision to check it out.

San Juan River

Turns out there are a couple spots to fish or camp along the river. The farthest one would be a very nice campsite. Though it looks like the area gets muddy and impassible at times.

San Juan River east of the bridge near Bluff.

There was a scenic campsite at the end of the little road.

Thursday, November 15th

Mexican Hat Rock

This trip I thought it would be fun to camp at Mexican Hat Rock. I'd seen an interesting rig there last month, which may have put the idea into my head. I drove up onto the middle terrace, south of the rock formation (high-clearance 4WD recommended.) I did a little hiking around the bluffs, then found a campsite. Fortunately there was no wind on this trip.

Campsite next to Mexican Hat Rock

Friday, November 16th

Interesting rock formations near Mexican Hat Rock

I did a little more hiking, admiring the views, then headed up to Goosenecks State Park.

Goosenecks State Park

Here is a Spherical Panorama taken from the parking area of the state park. Click-and-drag to move your viewpoint. I highly recommend you click the four-cornered icon in the lower right corner to open the image in full screen.

Butler Wash Road

From Goosenecks I drove back to US-163, headed east. I wanted to explore up Lower Butler Wash Road, CO-262. I'd seen the turn-off near the Bluff Airport on a number of previous trips, but had never driven up that way. I'd driven up Comb Wash Road before, all the way to UT-95. This seemed like a good time to give Butler Wash a try, maybe take it up to UT-95, if the road condition was OK.

The south end of the road has great views of the white sandstone of Comb Ridge to the west and before long steep, redrock cliffs of a large mesa rising to the east. Great scenery. For some reason I expected to be the only person along here, but I passed a couple of campers and some hikers, too. Please note: I saw many areas deeply rutted indicating that the road would be impassable when wet.

There are many side roads leading, I suspect, to dispersed camping spots and trails. I imagine some of those trails lead to ancient ruins and petroglyphs. The Wolfman Petroglyph Panel is shown on Google Maps (with photos.) There must be many others, unmarked.

Here is a Spherical Panorama taken from a campsite just north of a slot-canyon section of the wash. Click-and-drag to move your viewpoint. I highly recommend you click the four-cornered icon in the lower right corner to open the image in full screen.

I found a nice campsite and settled in for the night.

Late afternoon at my campsite

Saturday, November 17th

Morning view of my campsite. Butler Wash is surrounded by cottonwood trees and Comb Ridge is behind.

The temperature was down in the high teens in the morning. I broke camp and continued north up the road, passing more campsites and the junction of CO-230 that leads toward the east and a whole other area to explore another time, perhaps.

Typical view along the east side of the road

The northern end of Comb Ridge as seen from the road.

The northern part of Butler Wash Road has some rough, rocky stretches and steep ravines to cross. I'd recommend high-clearance for this area. There continued to be lots of dispersed campsites. The road parallels UT-95 for a while, then less than a half-mile to the highway is a small parking area for the Butler Wash Dinosaur Tracksite. It was a short walk to where the tracks were supposed to be, but they are not easy to find - I only saw one. So maybe don't drive out of your way to check it out.

Informational sign in English and Navajo.

The area where the tracks are to be found. That is Butler Wash Road skirting the ancient mud bed.

A close-up photo of the only dinosaur track I was able to find.

Once on the highway, I turned east toward home. I stopped at the Twin Rocks Cafe in Bluff and had a "Baby Navajo Taco" for lunch. I great menu item, as a normal sized Navajo Taco is way more than any normal person should eat in one sitting ;-)

Thanks for coming along with me. Hope you enjoyed the trip.


  1. Nice. I went to the Butler Wash Ruins and putzed around in the area around there before going to Natural Bridges, then the Bears Ears, two months ago.

    1. Thanks. The Butler Wash Ruins are very interesting. They are "upstream" from the area I drove through, i.e., on the north side of the highway. I don't think there are any as large in the southern reach, but I'm betting there are some smaller ruins - as the whole area was populated back in those days.

  2. Really great pictures! Can't wait to see this in person!

    1. Thanks, Happyjack. When you do get there, you won't be disappointed. Butler Wash, Comb Wash, VotG, and Cedar Mesa are all close together and wonderful. Areas farther north in Bears Ears are great, too.


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it!