Sunday, September 20, 2015

Negro Bill Canyon Trail, 9/18/2015

A Park Ranger at Canyonlands told us about this dog-friendly hike (since dogs are not permitted on any trails at either Arches or Canyonlands National Parks). This is one of several great hiking trails in the Moab area. A brochure about the trails can be picked up at the National Parks or Moab Visitor Center (or online).

This is a 2-mile (4-mile roundtrip) hike along a beautiful clear stream in the scenic canyon. At the end of the trail is the Morning Glory Natural Bridge. The trailhead is at a parking area along Utah 128 (a short distance from UT 191) and is well marked. We packed plenty of water and a picnic lunch as the hike takes about 4 hours.

The canyon is named for a mixed-race cowboy, William Granstaff, who ran cattle and prospected in the canyon in the 1870s. When Granstaff was charged with selling whiskey to the local Indians, he fled the area in 1881. It has been suggested that the name of the canyon be changed to Granstaff Canyon, but the Salt Lake City NAACP opposes the change.

It was a beautiful day and the cliffs along the path are stunning. Much of the trail is on slickrock as shown in the first photo.

At the first sight of the stream, Sadie (our doggy) jumped right in. The stream empties into the main channel of the Colorado River in the Moab Valley.

The trail continues through desert areas, wooded areas near the stream, and criss-crosses the stream many times. 

The fabulous Morning Glory Natural Bridge is 243' long and the 6th longest natural rock span in the U.S.

While we were exploring the area underneath the bridge, suddenly a rope dropped down from the cliff above and a rock climber began descending to the canyon floor.

We settled in to enjoy both our lunch and the "show" on the rocks in the clearing under the natural bridge.

We saw other members of the party high above on a ledge; preparing to descend into the canyon, two at a time, from the bridge.

The two guides were from Desert Highlights, a Moab-based company that provides "canyoneering and packrafting adventures." The four individuals on this adventure were thrilled and exhilarated by the experience the team provided.

We enjoyed meeting the guides...they clearly were expert at what they do! What a great way to make a living. Check them out at the following website.

On our return trip, the only critters we encountered were birds and lots of lizards. I always enjoy seeing desert flowers.

The prickly pears were bright red in the sunlight but appears orange by late afternoon.

By the time we made it back to the parking lot, I have to admit I was hot and tired! I definitely need to get into better shape to fully enjoy these beautiful trails. This is a fabulous trail for dogs as they can enjoy the water along the way. We saw many other hikers with their dogs. Sadie was as tired as we were when we got home. I think she probably ran double the length of the trail...running ahead, exploring off trail smells, and returning to us every few minutes. This was one of our most enjoyable hikes ever.

For information about this and other trails in the area, see the website below.

1 comment:

  1. Hi there, Melissa from Desert Highlights in Moab here. I just randomly came across this post and wanted to thank you for giving us a shout out on your blog! Perhaps you'll do a canyoneering trip with us if you ever come back out this way! Looks like you guys have had a lot of neat adventures. Take care!