Friday, November 9, 2007

Slick Rock Trail

The Slickrock Trail is a 2.4 mile loop with several turnoffs to lookout points in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park in southeast Utah. It is a trail recommended as an introduction to the trails in these carved rock canyons. The trailhead is along the main scenic drive towards the west end.

Canyonlands is the area where the mighty Colorado and Green rivers converge upstream of Lake Powell and the Grand Canyon. The geology of this area has many layers, hard sandstones, and softer shales, and these have been carved into spectacular formations and canyons.

Besides the close up views of the carved rocks there are wider views of the surrounding area. The La Sal mountains to the east are often in view, providing a spectacular backdrop. Views of the Needles are back to the south. There is a small arch along the trail also.

Trails across rocky sandstone areas are often marked with small piles of rocks, known as cairns. Keep an eye out for these as wandering off the trails can lead to impossible places to cross.

The sparse vegetation of the slick rock areas is dominated be Pinon Pine and Utah Juniper Trees along with sagebrush and other shrubs. In the spring, there can be some colorful wildflowers. There are guides to the botany of the region along the short Roadside Ruins Trail and the also short Cave Springs Trail.

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