Goosenecks SP + Natural Bridges NM + Lake Powell, Utah – Day of astonishment

San Juan River winds for six miles in several S-curves but approaches Lake Powell for only 2 miles. From the view point at Goosenecks State Park we have stunning views to the meandering goosenecks, North America’s longest ones. You can easily see the different geological layers. San Juan River carved itself down for 460 m – and continues to do so.

Back to hwy # 261 we stand in front of the 500 m high precipice of Cedar Mesa. What follows is one of the most spectacular roads of the United States that can be driven with normal cars. Moki Dugway, part of hwy # 261, just climbs the steep face with up to 11 % grade. Unbelievable. In each of the very narrow hairpin bends there is in the outer curve a lengthening to reverse in case you can’t get around in one time. Four of the five kilometres aren’t paved. The views to Monument Valley, Valley of the Gods are like a bird’s eye view – incredible.

Immediately after reaching the mesa’s plateau Muley Point Road branches off to south-west. It is astonishing that this road isn’t known better. The view from Muley Point that’s only five miles away is unique. You look down to San Juan River’s goosenecks, but the river can only be sensed, since you are another 500 m higher. Monument Valley presents itself decoratively in the background. The meander-eaten landscape appears unreal, like from another planet.

Natural Bridges National Monument at highway crossing # 261 and 95 attracts with three stone bridges that span White and Armstrong Canyon. Unlike arches these yellow-brown stones are created by rivers that washed away the bottom. Two one- and one half-hour-hike lead down to the bridges. You can walk alternatively the 14 km loop to all three bridges through the dry wash. Sipapu Bridge, the largest one, has a span of 67 times 82 m – the earth’s only taller one bridges Lake Powell, not far away, but not accessible from road.

Today, one optical sensation follows the other. Hwy # 95 seems to be one of the “obligatory” roads you have to have driven at least once. The so-called Bicentennial Highway from Natural Bridges National Monument north leads through a landscape that’s a unique mixture of a kind of Monument Valley and Needles District. Plus there is the White Canyon beside the road whose river succeeded to carve into the light-coloured, nearly white stone that lies under the red layer. The Henry Mountains with snowy peaks decorate the background. Two graceful bridges traverse Colorado River and Dirty Devil River, both mark starting points of Lake Powell. The lake is intensely green coloured, but the road accompanies only dry bays since the lake retreated many meters during the last years. The former Hite Marina became completely useless and is abandoned.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.