It was time to load up my Ford Explorer and head to southern Utah again. This time we drove down to the far southeast corner of the state and stayed overnight in Monticello Utah.
The next morning we headed west to the entrance to Natural Bridges National Monument and took the dirt road up and between the “Bears Ears” to top out on Elk Ridge. We then stopped at the head of Arch Canyon for a very pleasant breakfast on a large flat rock overlooking the canyon.
After breakfast we drove down the Peavine Canyon road, not knowing if it was even possible to drive a vehicle down the precarious dirt road cut into the side of the canyon. After some white-knuckle driving, we did make it safely to the canyon floor and made our way northward towards Dark Canyon. As we passed through some stands of pine, David noticed, through a break in the trees, what looks like a large natural arch to the west. This arch would only be visible from one short section of the jeep trail and only if the light was just right. We were going to have to return another time to check it out further.
Once on the bottom of Peavine Canyon, we did have problems at one of the dry wash crossings that was mostly washed out. We had to use manual winches to pull the Explorer out at one point.
Near the bottom of Peavine Canyon, there is a side canyon to the east called Queen’s Canyon which should include the natural arch called Queen’s Arch that we have tried in the past to view from the top of the canyon. Though the canyon looked like an easy hike, it turned out to be more challenging. However, we did find Queen’s Arch (Class B natural arch) as well as another smaller arch hanging slightly higher and to the east of Queen’s Arch. We decided to call the Class C arch ‘Pawn Arch’.
Back at the vehicle, we continued north to Dark Canyon which boasts a prominent Class B natural arch called Dark Canyon Arch. In the cliffs immediately in front of us.
While we are aware of other national arches to the east in Dark Canyon (and who knows what we might find to the west) we didn’t have the daylight necessary to explore further and still make it home that night. We head back the way we came with a promise to return to this unique area.
Back on the highway, we headed west past Fry Canyon Lodge.
We stopped at Lake Powell for a few more pictures from the Hite Crossing area, which shows how low the lake water level had dropped after multiple years of drought.
Then we pointed the Explorer towards home and drove.