Monday, August 31, 2009
The area of the Grand Staircase-Escalante Nat'l Monument where this petrified forest (made up mostly of Araucarioxylon arizonicum trees) lies, near Capitol Reef National Park, is better than the famous park with the same theme in Arizona, in my opinion. Plus there are two distinct advantages for this area in Utah. It's cost-free and it's not crowded!! There is plenty of solitude among the massive iron-like trees to allow (your) pondering what was here.
The hike begins at the trailhead on the Lamp Stand Road parking area and progresses a few minutes to just before a wash where it splits. Take the left or southwest fork, then staying right at the next two junctions up a hill. At the top of the hill, continue on the old mining path that you have been on for about 100 yards. Then follow any of several mining tracks until you are below the "Pink Pass", which is a pass of pink sand. Here, scramble over the pass into a stunning petrified forest (after a scramble down from the pass) and descend toward Egg Canyon. The canyon should be about 1 1/2 miles into the hike, or you erred. Hiking down Egg (SW) to it's end at "The Gulch" is an additional 2 1/2 miles. When we reached "The Gulch", we headed back the same way for an out-and-back of about 8 miles or 4 hours, including time in the petrified forest.
There is no water available on this hike until "The Gulch" is encountered at 4 miles in.
Access for this hike: Starting in Boulder, Utah, take the Burr Trail Rd. toward Capitol Reef N. P. Travel east 21 3/4 miles to the "Lamp Stand" sign, which may still be there. Turn left at "Lamp Stand". At 1.9 mi. down this high-clearance road (if dry), stay left on the main road at the "Y". At 3.2 mi., left again on main road. The "Stand" formation is right at 4.7 miles, then a stock tank left. Stay with the most main road left at a tee at 5.1 miles and again at 6 miles. At 7 1/2 miles there is a cattle guard and a corral to the left. Go left here again. At 9 1/2 miles down the graded road you are there, ready to hike.
We did the out-and-back described. Steve Allen offers a loop option of about the same length as my description, and also offers a side trip to Lamanite Arch (much longer hike then) in his "Canyoneering 3" (ISBN 0-87480-545-7).
Visit my web site here.