Driving south out of Salt lake City we find ourselves stopping for the evening in the little town of Green River. At first it was just a place to sleep but then…..
we find an oasis.
You would never guess as you drive into town from the hot dry surrounding desert that you are driving through anything more then a truck stop town along Interstate 70.
Green River State Park is a cool green belt amongst huge cottonwood trees along the Green River. We find a well kept, quiet, shady place to camp. Hard to believe we are in the middle of the desert. Its now in the mid 70’s
The town of Green River started as a river crossing for the U.S. Mail. In 1876, a Mr. Blake set up a ferry on the East side of the river and a way station. It became a stopover for travelers with a ferry for transporting people, supplies, and animals across the river.
The transcontinental railroad has also played a major role in the towns growth and history, trains still pass through town about every 30 minutes.
The Green River is Utah’s major river. The river is 730 miles long, approximately 450 miles of it are in Utah. The Green drains the entire northwest corner of Utah, or about one-quarter of the entire area of the state.
In the morning we eat a great breakfast at the Tamarisk Inn across the street from the John Wesley Powell Museum jwprhm.com
This is a wonderful museum where you can learn everything about the Colorado and Green Rivers and the first peoples to explore them, we highly recommend a visit.
From Green River it is a short but beautiful drive south into Moab. We had not been in Moab since the 1980’s and the town has most certainly grown.
There are now fat tire mountain bikes and big tired jeeps everywhere and dozens of gear and related paraphernalia shops to support those activities.
The good news is there are some excellent places to eat in town. We enjoyed the Eclectic Cafe for a good meal.
We immediately decide to camp somewhere outside of town so we stock up on water and head towards the BLM Horsethief Campground about 15 miles away.
The campground is situated just outside Canyonlands National Park and is only $15 per night to dry camp with SST’s ($7.50 with the Senior Pass). The campground sits on a low ridge and has great views to the west.
The best news was the dogs could run free outside the campground boundaries. They had a blast running through the juniper trees while chasing very fast rabbits, they didn’t even get close and eventually gave up the effort.
Eventually we found a deep, cottonwood filled canyon that went for miles with no one around. The red cliffs were great fun to scramble on and the vistas from above were endless.
Later we drove to Island in the Sky, Canyonlands NP and hike the rim trails overlooking the confluence of the Colorado and Green Rivers.
Humans first visited Canyonlands over 10,000 years ago, yet as we hike these canyons we get the feeling of being the first.
It makes my head hurt when I try to imagine the amount of time, wind and water it took to erode the rock into its current shape and form. How long is even a million years?
This is one of those locations where you realize how long the earth has been around and you also wonder how much longer it will be here, or maybe how much time we have….Something tells me this land will be eroding far longer then mankind will record.
Late in the day we get a sneak peak of the Shafer Trail leading down into the canyon and consider a drive down…. but it is getting dark and the pups are hungry, we head back to camp.
This was probably a good decision as it looks very narrow and exposed, coming back up in the dark might have been sketchy. Maybe next year.
We end up spending one night at Dead Horse Point State Park which is equally as spectacular as Island in the Sky (Canyonlands). You can see the confluence of the Green and Colorado Rivers in the far distance.
The winds were howling so wandering along the edge was at times very tricky.
We spend a little over a week in the area but with the forecast starting to change we decide to move on.
Canyonlands is definitely one of those places we will return to in the future. There are just too many canyons to explore and rocks to climb.
Be sure to watch our latest video below. Be sure to watch it in HD if you can
To find that perfect temperature we think we are headed further southwest……keep you posted.