Now here is the truly funny part, Roy and I had picnicked nearby just last year, and didn't know this trail existed. You see, the trail for the Upper Arch Canyon Overlook is marked on Mule Canyon/Texas Flat Road; there's even a metal stairway to help you get down to the ledges. Not here, you either know where it is, or you drive right by never knowing the wondrous beauty that lies behind a sandstone hill.
Lets begin, the location is 3 miles along (click link above for Road info); it's an open slickrock area with evidence of previous camping being done there. Start walking straight towards the sandstone hill; you might have to do a little crab walking on some spots; and a bit of your back against the sandstone as you watch your footing on the tight ledges. Keep moving to the right of the hill; around the corner it opens up for easier walking and then you see it; the openness of Lower Arch Canyon...prepared to be in awe!
|View from the sandstone hill.|
|Formation back in Mule Canyon.|
Lower Arch Canyon Panoramas
The formations are Dreamspeaker (desert tower), and Dreamcatcher (fins behind Dreamspeaker); they are mentioned in rock climbing books, and climbing sites on the internet. Dad said the locals call the desert tower, "The Old Man", but the other name he couldn't say, considering he was surrounded by polite female company. I'm sure he told my husband Roy later on, but I still haven't heard; it must be that bad!
|Dreamspeaker (desert tower to right), Dreamcatcher (left side of photo)|
To the far left of the formations, look along the cliffside ledges (squint if you have to) are Anasazi ruins.
If you look over the top of the ledges, you can slightly see Upper Arch Canyon; to get a better view, drive another 3 miles on Mule Canyon/Texas Flat Road. There will be a sign to the right directing you to the Overlook; a metal staircase makes it easier to get down to the ledges.
Begin walking to the right to get a better view of the far southern end of Lower Arch Canyon. This area can be accessed via 4 wheel drive, and then ATV, from State Highway 95. (click Here for information)
Don't forget to keep looking across the canyon; didn't see more ruins, but the carving of the stone, by Mother Nature, is picturesque.
Keep walking and you end up in a desert/forest area full of pinyon pines, sage brush and cacti. Be careful, it's easy to get turned around, lose your bearings and get lost in this area.
By the way, the entire time we were hiking around, we were being watched; first by one Turkey Vulture, sometimes circled by a group of six or more. I decided to look up what a group of vultures is called. "A group of vultures is called a wake, committee, venue, kettle, or volt. The term kettle refers to vultures in flight, while committee, volt, and venue refer to vultures resting in trees. Wake is reserved for a group of vultures that are feeding." All I know is that they were probably watching us and trying to figure out which of us would become lunch.
Now after this jaunt, we did more hiking to find a cave that locals know about, "Bear Cave". There is rock art there of human figures, a bear, and, wait for it...mammoths. I have loads of photos to share, but the location....that's going to remain a secret.