Dirt Road Driving with John and Pam – Canyonlands NP
After our exciting 4-wheeling slickrock adventure, we were fortunate to enjoy even more travels on some rough dirt roads around Moab with John and Pam (Oh the Places They Go). Our Honda CRV can’t handle some of those roads, and John and Pam, who we have hiked with several times, offered us a ride in their Jeep so we could experience some great areas of Canyonlands National Park that few people get to see.
The dirt road route we followed is in red – Photo credit: BLM
The plan was to drive on Potash Road, then turn right on Long Canyon Road and ascend through Pucker Pass. Their Jeep was the star in this section, as all passengers got out to see it climb through a rough area.
Once at the top we took a look around:
When hanging out with John and Pam, a hike is always included in the plan – and that was fine with us! Our trek followed along the canyon rim within Dead Horse Point State Park. The park is situated 2.000′ above the Colorado River, with breathtaking views of canyons, mesas, buttes and the river all around.
The hike along the east and west rims was easy, and we stopped often to enjoy the vistas from every angle:
Below was a study in geology. Millions of years ago deposition, erosion, weathering and volcanic activity created this spectacular topography. Mesas, canyons and buttes were sculpted, and the Colorado River carved its path deep into the ancient rock layers on its way to the sea.
After the hike, we began our descent on Shafer Road, a series of long and stunning switchbacks:
After a few miles we passed beneath Dead Horse Point State Park, and above the Colorado River. This road has been used in countless commercials and movies, and it’s easy to see why:
During this drive we couldn’t ascertain exactly where the famous last scene of Thelma and Louise was filmed, but we knew it was nearby. John and Pam subsequently confirmed the location and drove back with Dave and Sue on another day. Click here for that story.
As I was busy taking pictures of the surrounding sculptured pinnacles, buttes and tall canyon walls, a small flower begged to be acknowledged. While taking this picture I heard the Jeep’s horn honk, and I knew it wasn’t John but rather my dear hubby signaling me to get on with it.
The dirt road passed the evaporation ponds of the Potash plant, an indication that we were nearing paved roads after our scenic desert crossing:
It was a long and enjoyable ride on our guided dirt road tour. Although they have driven here before, John and Pam were willing to share this beautiful scenery with us that we would otherwise have missed.