Showing posts from March, 2011

Angel's Landing, Zion National Park

Distance: 4.8 miles (7.8 km) round trip
Summit elevation: 5,785 ft (1,763 m)
Elevation gain: ~1,500 ft (457 m)
Date: March 16, 2011
Angel's Landing in Zion National Park in southwest Utah is one of the most spectacular hikes in North America.  The short trail ascends to the rock formation in the middle of Zion Canyon and has sections were the trail is only a few feet wide while there are 1,500 foot vertical drops on both sides.

The trail is accessed from the Grotto and follows the Virgin River for the first half mile before rapidly ascending into Refrigerator Canyon, which can have air temperatures ten degrees cooler than the surrounding area.  At the upper end of the canyon begins the ascent to Scout Lookout through a series of 21 consecutive switchbacks known as Walter's Wiggles.

Scout Lookout can be safely accessed year round, although there will likely be ice on Walter's Wiggles in winter.  From here to the summit of Angel's Landing it is very dangerous when snow…

Red Cliffs Desert Reserve

Location: Saint George, Utah
Date: March 12, 2011

Red Cliffs National Conservation Area (also known as Red Cliffs Desert Reserve) encompasses red rock formations on BLM land at the northern boundary of St. George and at the base of the 10,000'+ Pine Valley Mountains.  The national conservation area was created in 2009 along with over 129,000 acres of BLM wilderness in Washington County, Utah.  Two of the wilderness areas, Cottonwood Canyon and Red Mountain, are within the reserve.

Other than the red rock canyons and cliffs, the reserve was formed because it is the the most northeastern section of the Mojave Desert.  Many animals that are rare to Utah can be found within the reserve, including sidewinder rattlesnakes, Gila monsters, verdins, chuckwallas, and the threatened desert tortoise.

There are over 130 miles of non-motorized trails within the reserve that go to a variety of areas and can be used for hiking, biking, and horseback riding.  Maps can be found on the reserve'…

Quail Creek State Park

Location: west of Hurricane, Utah
Dates: March 12 and April 19, 2011

Quail Creek State Park near Hurricane in southwest Utah is a park centered around a reservoir.  The primary activities in the park are boating and fishing, although there is also a small campground.

The primary purpose of my visit was to see if there any interesting birds around.  The park is at the northern extent of the Mojave desert near St. George and the Red Cliffs Desert Reserve and about 30 miles from Zion National Park.  The only different bird that I saw on my visits was a verdin, which reaches its northern extent here.

The birds I saw include:
    Yellow-rumped warbler
    American coot
    Spotted sandpiper
    Rock wren
    House finch

© Copyright 2017 Matthew Pintar. All rights reserved.

Observation Point, Zion National Park

Distance: ~8 miles (12.9 km)
Highest Elevation: 6,508 ft (1,984 m)
Elevation Gain: 2,150 ft (655 m)
Date: March 11, 2011

In Zion National Park the trail to Observation Point begins at the Weeping Rock trailhead in Zion Canyon and rapidly ascends to the canyon rim.  The vast majority of the trail is "paved" in one form or another since it has been carved out of the canyon walls.  There are four main sections to the trail during the climb to Observation Point.

The first is a series of switchbacks that gain elevation immediately after leaving the trailhead.  Second, once the trail passes the Hidden Canyon junction, it continues along until it turns right into a narrow side canyon.  The trail traverses through this canyon for a moderate distance and may involve stream crossings depending on environmental conditions.  In early March there were still some sections were snow and ice pack covered the stream and provided easy crossings, but patches of ice on switchbacks made for tou…