Thursday, November 10, 2016

Upper Arch Canyon Overlook.

Usually we get our first light snowfall the last week of September, first week of October, but not this year. The weather is definitely not typical; the temperatures during the day have been in the 60s, at night in the 40s; the house warm that the furnace is not on yet. We are taking advantage of this unusual fall weather to gallivant to many places that should have been closed off by now; one being Upper Arch Canyon Overlook. This is located on Mule Canyon/Texas Flat Road and only three miles from Lower Arch Canyon Overlook (click on the names to connect to the pages).

Now a half mile (5.5 mile mark if you started your odometer reading at the junction of State Highway 95 and Mule Canyon/Texas Flat Road) you will enter onto a dried (maybe) river bed, and need to make a right to go up a slightly steep, rocky incline.  We decided to investigate the river bed (left side) a little first; there were signs that it had experienced a flash flood (wet and flattened plant life was a huge hit), plus there were still pools of water.  This was not a typical river bed where there is flat ground and high banks of dirt; instead it was almost all rock.  It made for easier walking, and a muddy section here and there allowed us to see tracks in the mud itself, and on the surrounding rocks.  We walked the river bed for about a half mile, but it was very tempting to just keep going, and going.

Plant Life Flattened by Flash Flood

Large Bird (turkey?) in the Mud.

Bobcat (?) Tracks Following Bird Tracks.

At mile mark 6, the road splits; go straight and continue to where it ends at ATV/Hiking only (mile mark 6.6), or turn right and follow the trail to the Upper Arch Canyon Overlook.  It is only 3/10ths of a mile where you can park on the slickrock (there was evidence of camp sites there), and then you're hiking either along the ledges to the left and right, or go straight and to the metal stairway to the "peninsula" outcropping.  Of course we did all three!  Oh, the trail starts out smooth and quickly turns into deep ruts; expect some tilting of your vehicle, but it's over before you can count to 10.

Walking the ledges to the right.

Panorama of Upper Arch Canyon, peninsula outcropping to the right.

The outcropping is wide, so really no need to worry about falling off, unless you get too close to the edges, lose your balance, or don't pay attention to your footing.  Please do not bring pets, and keep a hand on your children though.  There are spaces between many sections of stone, but nothing so wide you cannot easily step over to the next section.  The metal stairway was an Eagle Scout project; there is writing in the cement, but hard to read due to weathering.   The stairway is steep, but has hand rails.

Looking Back at Metal Stairway.

Looking Towards Lower Arch Canyon.

First Sighting of Cathedral Arch.

I Ain't Afraid of No Ledge Walking!

My husband, Roy, Looks Out in Amazement.
Returning back to the main section, off to the left we walked and walked; just as we thought we had a more perfect view; another was just a simple few feet further.  The views got more and more beautiful as the canyon area below opened up to our vision.

 Angel Arch is a half mile north of Cathedral Arch.

Side View of Angel Arch.

Cathedral Arch


El Cerro del Perro (the Hill of the Dog) is a pinnacle popular with climbers.

El Cerro del Perro

Keystone Arch is 2.5 miles north of Cathedral Arch, so we were too far south of it to see it.
...and there you have it, Upper Arch Canyon overlook.  4 wheel drive is highly recommended, not just for this trail, but for the entire Mule Canyon/Texas Flat Road.  Can you drive a passenger car?  Sure, but I hope you have a really good mechanic!
Take advantage of the good weather we are still having in San Juan County, Utah; come on in and enjoy the good times!!!
Mary Cokenour

No comments:

Post a Comment