Bucket List: The Colorado Plateau

National Parks and Monuments of the Colorado Plateau

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Region: American Southwest

Logistical Difficulty: Moderate

Hiking Difficulty: Moderately High

Degree of Risk: Moderately High

Estimated time required (including travel and logistics): A week

No region on Earth truly compares to the American Red Rock Southwest, also known as the Colorado Plateau — perhaps America’s most iconic landscape. Known for its limestone rock formations, curious arches,  soaring mesas and mysterious slot canyons, the Southwest is an adventurers dream — but also a place of severe challenges. There are deeper canyons, hotter deserts, and weirder landscapes…but nothing else quite matches the sublime beauty of the red rock country.

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Why Hike here? 

  • If you have to ask its obvious you’ve never seen a picture of this place
  • Painted landscapes
  • Unforgettable sunsets and rises
  • Starry, starry nights
  • Most of the world’s intact rock arches
  • Native American ruins and petroglyphs
  • Many hidden places to explore
  • Impossible to take a bad picture here
  • More wildlife than you’d expect in a desert
  • Iconic landscapes protected by excellent US National Park System and strong regulations, present administration non-withstanding
  • There’s this big hole in the ground everybody talks about
  • Brian has in fact seen a road runner and coyote on same trip

 

But First Consider…

  • The Southwest has been humbling the unprepared since the days of the Conquistadors
  • It’s rugged high desert…don’t take it lightly
  • Easy to get lost here
  • Easy to get ‘ledged in’ (into a place you can’t get back out of)
  • Easiest of all to get hit by the heat or dehydration
  • Don’t be this guy, either
  • Ironically, drowning from flash floods a major killer here
  • Rattlesnakes are common (though bites fairly rare)
  • Dams, mining has significantly changed many landscapes
  • These are very remote areas
  • Poor infrastructure, little public transportation outside developed National Park areas
  • Hard to convey just how vast the American West is if you’ve never travelled through it

 

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Brian with Utah’s iconic Delicate Arch

Hikes that we have done here…

Hikes that we want to do here:

  • The Narrows, Zion Canyon NP*
  • Angel’s Landing, Zion Canyon NP*
  • Havasu Falls, Havasupai Indian Reservation, Grand Canyon**
  • Buckskin Gulch/Pariah Canyon
  • The Wave
  • Antelope Canyon (guided)

*On the Bucket List!

**Sylvia NEVER stops bugging Brian about this one.