Friday, November 28, 2008

Horse Canyon Trail to Paul Bunyan's Arch

The Horse Canyon Trail to the arch called Paul Bunyan's Potty starts at the Salt Creek trail head in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park in southeast Utah.

It is about 2.2 miles along this sandy 4WD road to the junction with Horse Canyon on the left. The Salt Creek route continues on the right to Peekaboo Springs and the not to be missed pictograph.

I thought this arch was Paul Bunyan's Potty but it actually belongs to someone smaller and doesn't seem to have a name. Paul apparently has a two holer. It took me about 1:15 hours to get to this point. The canyon floor here is fairly dense with vegetation and there appears to be a project of reducing the invasive Tamarisk trees.

It is possible to get off the trail and down into the wash for a closer look. This area has a lot of alcoves and cave formations that look like possible ruins sites. The ruins sites in this area mostly appear to be small storage sites.

About 15 minutes past the first arch there is a small storage ruin right at eye level along the sandy trail. These sites usually seem to be placed higher and are more hidden than this one.

The interpretive information at the Roadside Ruins site indicates that this region may have been used seasonally for farming but not so much for year round habitation.

The Paul Bunyan Potty arch is looming just above the small storage ruin only a minute further away. There is a sign making the identification clear. Hiking past the Paul Bunyan arch toward Tower Ruin, both of the arches can be viewed at the same time.

There is a short side trail from the small loop parking area to get up under and get the clear sky view through the arch. It took me about 1:30 hours to get here hiking. This is a somewhat tiring route due to the sand.

I was always searching for a firmer surface to walk on. From the Paul Bunyan arch it is about 40 minutes further to get to Tower Ruin. My total hike was 4:10 hours for this 8 or 9 mile round trip.

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