Friday, June 24, 2016

Harts Point Road is 15 Miles of Awesome!

So many people do it, drive up the paved mountain road, up and over the Abajo Mountains, down Harts Draw Road and onto Route 211.  They either head back to Highway 191, or towards Newspaper Rock and Canyonlands National Park - Needles District.  Seems the sign saying, "Indian Creek Recreation Area" is bypassed; recreation?  Why in the world would anyone be interested in recreation?  'cuse me while I roll my eyes for a bit.

Ok, now that my eyes are back in focus, I can continue.  Indian Creek Recreation Area is more than a primitive camping area; there are 4 wheel drive trails, ATV trails, campsites, breath taking scenery.  Harts Point Road (San Juan County Road 137) is 15 miles itself, with trails leading off all along the way; it ends at a sandy and slickrock area which has three ATV trails just at this point.  The road itself is red dirt mixed with sand; now and then slickrock will stretch across a section; dry washes are easy to drive through.  4 wheel drive is a must!

Harts Point Road mainly runs parallel with Highway 191 and Route 211; also with the road that runs past Photograph Gap and up to Canyon Rims Recreation Area.  Elevation does ascend the further you head inward, so you end up getting outstanding views of Dry Valley, Harts Point, Donnelly Canyon and the Indian Creek Valley.

Dry Valley

Harts Point, one of the interesting formations within.

Moon over another section of Harts Point.

We passed by two old corrals with windmills; and a grey hill here and there, with obvious track marks.

Glimpses of canyons off Route 211 are seen when the land flattens out, and there is low lying shrub growth.  Donnelly Canyon was one, and we were basically riding eye level with rock walls that loom up when you're driving along Route 211 way down below.

...and then comes the first sighting of one of the Sixshooters.  

Background - Bridger Jack Mesa.
Before you know it, the landscape opens up again, Bridger Jack Mesa and the South Sixshooter are just visible.  A sandy descent brings you to ledges and then it fully opens up before you...Bridger Jack Mesa below, you're eye level with the South Sixshooter; the whole experience is breathtaking!!!

It's difficult to get over the completely serene feeling of standing on a ledge, eye to eye with the South Sixshooter; a desert tower that looms over those driving along Route 211 way down below.  Starting up the sandy land, that's when it's quick and sudden; you're totally caught off guard.  A swarm of kamikaze blood sucking fighter pilots attack!  Gnats!!!  Gnats out here are as large as flies; they are relentless and vicious; no amount of bug spray or lotion deters them from their main goal...sucking your life's blood.  Clutching both cameras in one hand, I swatted this way and that.  Alas, I was bitten mercilessly; finally obtaining safety within our vehicle and slathering on anti-itch cream.  Traveling, hiking and climbing around the Four Corners area, you learn quickly what items should be in the first aid box.

At mile mark 15, the dirt road ends at a rocky, sandy campground area; there are three ATV trails around.  It is a beautifully peaceful place to rest up at.

View from the camping area at mile mark 15.

Plantlife time!  The prickly pear cacti were in bloom; here are a couple of photos of a yellow blooming one.

After we returned to Monticello, we shared a meal at Shake Shack; fresh cut fries, a double stack patty melt, and above the rim shakes (mint for me, pineapple/coconut for Roy).  A perfect ending to a perfect adventure.

Mary Cokenour


  1. I am in Monticello right and planning to do this trip this afternoon. 06/27/2016

  2. Looking forward to it. Thanks a lot