The Canyon Circle Trip Part VII

Springdale UT – Las Vegas, Nevada

Wednesday and our last day. Our flight home was from Las Vegas airport at 17:35 so we had time for a last drive into Zion after a leisurely breakfast (as we also gained an hour crossing into Nevada).

sunrise in springdale
Sunrise in Springdale

Again we drove along the Valley Floor road where you can appreciate the wonderful views of the rock formations towering above you.


Great White Throne
Great White Throne – Named by Methodist Minister Frederick Vining Fisher who was noted as saying

I have looked for this mountain all my life but never expected to see it in this world. This is the Great White Throne.

Angels Landing
Climbing Angels Landing

After Fisher praised the striking presence of the Great White Throne he turned toward what would become Angels Landing and stated

The Angels would never land on the throne, but would reverently pause at the foot [of Angels Landing].

Temple of Sinawava
Temple of Sinawava

At the end of the Valley Floor road is the Temple of Sinawava with high sheer cliffs streaked black on the red iron oxide by waterfalls, many of which are dry in the winter months. A riverside walk runs alongside the North Fork of the Virgin River which leads in to the Narrows, named for the narrowest section of the canyon. This 16 mile narrow canyon is where hikers splash up or down the shallow waters. Parallel cliffs soar 2,000 feet overhead, only 30 feet apart in places.

Aspens along the Valley Road
Aspens along the Valley Road
Court of the Patriarchs

Court of the Patriarchs was named for three towering figures of the Old Testament, these sandstone cliffs hold court over Birch Creek Canyon and this section of the Virgin River. In 1916 Fisher gave the religious names to the peaks; Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

Leaving Springdale
Leaving Springdale

Finally we left the park and headed west out of Springdale along Highway 9 following the Virgin River to Virgin and Hurricane and on to the Interstate 15 to Las Vegas, Nevada. Our final state of the trip.

Virgin - film set by the side of the raod
Virgin – film set by the side of the raod

In Virgin there is a turn-off to hike down the left fork of North Creek which leads to a geological feature called the Subway. Over time water rushing through a hole in the rock has formed a rounded out tunnel.


Near Hurricane you find the Quail Creek reservoir and the ghost town of Grafton where scenes from Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were filmed.

We had no intention of spending any time in Las Vegas other than reaching the airport and dropping off the hire car. As we neared the city the air above was yellow with pollution and the Interstate became much busier, so much so that we missed our turn-off and had to circle round which was a bit worrying as the fuel gauge was getting close to empty. I always find driving in strange cities quite stressful and even more so after days of being out in the vast open spaces with hardly any vehicles on the road.

Slots at the airport
Slots at the airport

So “Goodbye Las Vegas”.

It has been the most wonderful road trip and despite the overnight snowfalls, we have experienced lovely weather, cold, but dry. The Canyon Circle is fascinating – so many geological features to gaze at in wonder. We have nothing like it here on such a scale. I only wish we’d made more time and incorporated Monument Valley, Four Corners Monument, Arches National Park and The Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada. Who knows whether we will ever come this way again?

When a man is away from Nature
His heart becomes hard
~ a Native American proverb

I have seen many sights on this road-trip to take my breath away, Sedona, the Red Rock Canyon, the Vermilion Cliffs, Balanced Rocks, Grand Canyon’s depths, Bryce’s hoodoos, Lake Powell’s stillness and Zion’s peace. A journey of over 1,000 miles in little over 6 days and every day even more amazing than the last.


A Word a Week Challenge: Gap

Every week Sue from ‘A Word in Your Ear’ dips into her English Oxford dictionary and picks a word on the page that it falls open at. The challenge is to post a photograph, poem, story – whatever the genre you like best to describe  what that word means to you.

This week’s challenge is GAP (click to join in with the challenge)

a break or hole in an object or between two objects.
synonyms: opening, aperture, space, breach, chink, slit, slot, vent, crack, crevice, cranny, cavity, hole, orifice, interstice, perforation, break, fracture, rift, rent, fissure, cleft, divide, discontinuity;

A few years ago my husband and I were travelling around the Canyon Circle in the USA during March and I had booked us on to a photography tour of a photogenic slot canyon close to Page, Arizona where we were staying for two nights. I chose The Upper Antelope Canyon or the Crack,  as it is the easiest to access and also the best canyon for sunbeams (though these only take place during the summer months).  Winter colours are a little more muted. You need a permit or permission from the Navajo so it is easiest to go on a tour, the photography tour is more expensive, but also longer, and if you want to sell your photos you also need a commercial permit.

The entrance is a narrow curved slit in the cliffs only a few feet wide and the light filtering down the curved sandstone walls makes magical, constantly changing patterns and shadows in many subtle shades of colour. Some sections of the canyon are wide and bright, while others are narrower and more cave-like, with no light reaching the sandy floor. It is not easy to capture the beauty of the canyon, but you will come away with wonderful memories.