Spectacular Scenery of Southern Utah

Five days is Southern Utah is actually a very short time to explore the natural wonders that this area of the country offers.

Day One was a late afternoon trip to Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park.  The dunes are reported to be 10,000 to 15,000 years old.

 

Day Two involved a trip to Page, Arizona and the dramatic Horseshoe Bend, which is a meander of the Colorado River that we photographed from a cliff 1000 feet above.  In the afternoon we hiked into the Upper Antelope Canyon, located on Navajo land and is called Tsé bighánílíní, “the place where water runs through rocks”.

 

The entire third day was spent exploring Zion Canyon National Park. Zion Canyon is a deep and narrow gorge carved by the North Fork of the Virgin River.

 

Day Four we headed northeast to the unsurpassed grandeur of Bryce Canyon National Park.The major feature of the park is Bryce Canyon, which despite its name, is not a canyon, but a collection of giant natural amphitheaters along the eastern side of the Paunsaugunt Plateau. Bryce is distinctive due to geological structures called hoodoos, formed by frost weathering and stream erosion of the river and lake bed sedimentary rocks. Bryce sits at a much higher elevation than nearby Zion National Park. The rim at Bryce varies from 8,000 to 9,000 feet.

 

On my way back to Vegas I stopped at the very interesting Techatticup Mine Ghost Town. Over the last decade this ghost town has been restored and a number of buildings have been preserved at the mine site. Across from the mine sits a historic 1861 building which serves as a museum to the area and to the Techatticup Mine. The Techatticup Mine has been the set of two movies. The first, Breakdown, with Kurt Russell and Kathleen Quinlan, was released in 1997 and several artifacts from the movie can be seen at the site. Several years later, the movie 3000 Miles to Graceland, was released in 2001, parts of which were filmed at the mine site. This movie, again with Kurt Russell, as well as an all star cast including Kevin Costner, Courtney Cox, Christian Slater , and David Arquette, shot several scenes here including the scene where the Lucky Strike gas station blows up . Props from the movie, including the crashed airplane can still be seen at the site.