Yesterday we made the long (50 mile) drive from Moab to Monticello. We're staying in the Mountain View RV Park where we stayed last year. They've built a new restrooms/showers & laundry building, put in new electric service & really cleaned it up. Since we had time, we did laundry before checking out the Monticello Visitor Center/Museum. We also drove around town & saw the new Mormon Temple here in Monticello.
The park owner told us about a route to Canyonlands NP from Monticello that goes over the Abajo/Blue Mountains & has great views, so we decided to take that route instead of back the way we came yesterday. She was right - a great drive with great views. Once you hit the valley floor on the other side, it's still quite a drive into Canyonlands NP. We stopped at Newspaper Rock, a large petroglyph panel of multiple cultures & times. Some of the clearest petroglyphs we've seen. Then we drove thru the Indian Creek Canyon portion of the Canyon Rims Recreation Area. Wow! The mesas, buttes, fins, etc. were just beautiful. We enjoyed these views as much as the views in this district of the park.
Today we visited the Needles District of Canyonlands NP. This district doesn't have overlook views of mesas & canyons like Island in the Sky. But the formations - monoliths, towers, arches, "needles" & "mushrooms" - were fantastic. We took a short hike in to see an ancient granary ruin & another fairly short hike to see potholes in the large rock formations. We also took the Cave Spring Trail - backwards. On most trails it doesn't matter which direction you take. It makes a difference on this one. Instead of seeing the cowboy camp & cave spring just a short walk down the trail & then climbing up 2 ladders to cross the rocks in the loop, we climbed across the giant rocks - following the trail marked by cairns - wondering if we were lost, going down 2 ladders, before finally coming to the cave spring & then the cowboy camp just before we got back to the parking lot. Oh well, we saw it all & had fun! In fact, that will be the highlight of our visit to the Needles District & something we'll remember forever.
That was the last of our hikes, so we headed back out of the park, thru beautiful Indian Creek Canyon, over Abajo/Blue Mountains, & home. Another great adventure!
Tomorrow we're headed to Montezuma Canyon. More later...