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Day 4: Devil's Garden, Willis Creek Slot Canyon, Kodachrome Basin, and more Capitol Reef

From bizarre rock formations, through a slot canyon, to colorful sandstone cliffs, this day in Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument and Capitol Reef had it all.


Devil's Garden

Not to be confused with an area of the same in Arches National Park, this area of hoodoos and other sandstone formations protruding from the landscape is right off Hole-in-the-Rock Road. It was a quiet morning respite for me, an opportunity to enjoy some more intimate aspects of the desert.

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Park sign Candles Phallic rocks Hoodoo voodoo Shadow Triplets
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Balanced rocks in BW Arch Arch framed pine
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Willis Creek Slot Canyon

One of the most easily accessible and easy slot canyons in the area is located a few miles down a dirt road from Cannonvile. There is a small parking lot. From there, the canyon starts just a few feet deep and gets deeper as one walks downstream. There are several narrows areas where the canyon is just a few feet wide and the walls rise vertically and high on both sides. The bottom of the canyon makes for an easy passing and stays as an easily walkable gravel path, albeit shared with the stream running through the canyon. The canyon widens for good after about 1.5 miles, and that is where I turned around.

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Cows on the road Willis Creek Canyon Creek in the canyon Scrapes Narrows
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Slit Walls and the sky Start of the canyon


Kodachrome Basin

Kodachrome Basis is a Utah state park somewhat reminiscent of Bryce Canyon to the north. Colorful sandstone cliffs and formations abound. I made a short loop hike starting from the park road. The views were great, but the midday sun could not make the colors, that gave the park its name, stand out as they would earlier or later in the day.

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Return from Willis Creek Trail below the cliffs Kodachrome Basin Eroded rocks Dead tree Hoodoos
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Escalante River panorama 1 Escalante River panorama 2 Escalante River panorama 3 Motorcyclist on Highway 12


Chimney Rock

After a two and a half hour drive back to Capitol Reef, Chimney Rock welcomed me back. It is a rock formation prominently visible as one enters the park on Highway 24 from the west. The late afternoon sun made for a very photogenic scene.

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Utah Highway 24 Chimney Rock Desert view Dead tree in BW
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Dead tree Wildflowers in the desert


Sunset Point

As the name seems to imply, this is the place to be for sunset, I decided to join the crowds and see for myself. It is easily accessible by a 0.4 mile long trail without much elevation gain. As the sunset drew closer, more people arrived. The view is a bit flat as the sun sets behind you with much of the Capitol Reef to the east, but it was still a treat, capped off when the hues of cyan and blue started creeping up the sky from behind the range. I was the last to leave.

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View south Pines and Capitol Reef Rock cairn and pine tree Rock cairn Dead tree Dead tree and the sky
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Weathered rock Sunset Point Capitol Reef Sunset light Last sunrays Color in the sky
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Layers of rocks in the dusk Last light


Previous part: Day 3: Temples, Capitol Gorge, and Zebra Canyon< | Next part: Day 5: Hickman Bridge and Notom to Burr Trail Switchbacks
Last updated: May 10, 2019
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