Canyonlands National Park v.3 - Maze District

This volume is all about the Maze District of Canyonlands National Park. The Maze is the most remote and isolated of the three park districts. The Park Service only allows a limited number of people into the Maze at one time. There are no services, no paved roads, not potable water, no nothing in the Maze, except absolutely fantastic rock formations and scenery. You have to pack out everything you take in, including your poop. If you are planning a trip to the Maze, I suggest a high clearance 4WD vehicle, some technical driving skill, and everything else you would need to be completely self sufficient for the duration (especially water and beer).

Trip to the Dollhouse - Oct 8-10, 2010

My good friend Scott invited Stephanie and me on a Maze trip for his birthday. He didn't have to ask twice. We drove to Moab, rented a jeep, and away we went. Our destination: the Dollhouse, a unique Cedar Mesa Sandstone formation on the eastern side of the Maze District near the Colorado River.

Moab to Panorama Point - We took U.S. Hwy 191 out of Moab to I-70 through Green River and then turned south on Utah 24. After about 24 miles we turned onto Lower San Rafael Road (County 1010) and followed it for about 50 dusty miles to Hans Flat Ranger Station. After checking in we made a detour to Cleopatra's Chair and then went on to Panorama Point and our first campsite.

Entering the Park

Road to Hans Flat

Hans Flat Ranger Station

Cleopatra's Chair

Elaterite Butte

Dollhouse in the distance

Late afternoon
view from Panorama Point

Into the Maze


Packing up

Where we're going

Road into the Maze

Going down

Made it

A little technical driving

More four-wheeling

Even more four-wheeling

Land of Standing Rocks - Relatively flat terrain in the center of the Maze District containing hoodoos, fins, and monolithic rock formations. The road to the Dollhouse passes through this section.

Could be the Wall
Land of Standing Rocks

Land of Standing Rocks
Elaterite Butte in background

Road through Land of Standing Rocks

"Totem Pole"
Land of Standing Rocks

Organ Rock Shale formation
Land of Standing Rocks

Left one looks like Boba Fett
or a storm trooper

The Dollhouse - It took about 7 or 8 hours to get to the Dollhouse from Panorama Point

The Dollhouse

Dollhouse terrain

The Dollhouse

The Dollhouse

Time to relax

Dollhouse Campsite
my VE-24

Surprise Valley Overlook Trail - This is a one and a half mile trail leading from the Dollhouse to an overlook of Surprise Valley and some Ancetral Puebloan granaries.

Trail leads through this

And this

Trail terrain

Trail sign

Cedar Mesa sandstone

Colorado River (look closely)

Surprise Valley

Anasazi granaries

More Cedar Mesa sandstone

On the Way Out

Looks like a boat

Hole in the rock

More redrock

Thin Fin

Last campsite

Last Campfire (no audio)

Trip to the Chocolate Drops and Harvest Scene Pictographs Oct 7-10. 2011

I had such a good time on my first trip into the Maze that when Scott invited me on a second trip I naturally accepted. This trip was once again on his birthday. This time we were headed for the Chocolate Drops, a series of very thin Organ Rock Shale fins on the rim of a bowl shaped canyon - good for many Kodak moments.

Moab to Maze Overlook Campground

Into the Maze

Made it to the Overlook

Terrain at the Maze Overlook
Elaterite Butte in distance

The Chocolate Drops

Setting up camp

The Chocolate Drops

Maze Overlook panorama

Maze Overlook panorama

Hike to Harvest Scene Pictographs - Harvest Scene is a panel of very striking Ancestral Puebloan pictographs that few people are priviledged to see because of their remoteness. I am now one of those few priviledged people.

Soggy Tents
Maze Overlook (10/8/2011)


On the trail to
the Harvest Scene Pictographs

the Chocolate Drops
view from Harvest Scene trail

Chocolate Drops
view from Harvest Scene trail

Harvest Scene Pictographs

Harvest Scene Pictographs

Harvest Scene Pictographs

Cedar Mesa sandstone formation
near Harvest Scene

Back in camp
4:39PM 10/8/2011

Yet another picture of the Chocolate Drops

On to the next Campsite

On the road again
12:21PM 10/9/2011

Still on the road
3PM 10/9/2011

Golden Stairs panorama

View from Golden Stairs

Afternoon 10/9/2011

Surrounded by really big rocks

Petrified wood

My Northface VE-24
(Love this tent even though it's 40 years old)

Chow Time
6PM 10/9/2011

Last campfire


Time to head home

Early Morning

On the way home

with occasional quick stops

My thanks to Mary von Koch for some of the photos and videos.
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