In The Desert
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Virgin River Gorge, Utah
Our newest contributor goes by "Rented Mule" -- and Gerry is just that, an avid hiker that loves to hike the remote and inexcessable places in Utah. This is one of his few trips by vehicle, to an area that overlooks the scenic Virgin River Gorge, Utah. He is an outstanding photographer.
This gorge trip is unique because a person can actually drive right up to the edge. No houses, 12 miles from town climbing up 2500 ft from the beginning. The Beaver Dam Mountains are seen here on the right.
Very colorful rock formations can be found at most of the overlooks, like this one..
by the "Rented Mule"
A seashell fossil I found up on top. This had to be under water at one time!
The Virgin River Gorge and across to the Paiute Wilderness Area.
Looking down at the camping and recreation area in a bend of the Virgin River. The Cedar Pockets Recreation Area.
Here are 3 different views of the Virgin River Gorge. The plant life, the cliffs, and an open section of the Gorge.
Taking a break and enjoying the view.
Along this challenging road there are many places to pull over for a view of the Gorge.
Looking Northeast past the town of St. George. Pine mountain in the background is snow covered with elevations at places over 10,000 ft.
One of 32 bends in the Virgin River and I-15. When it was built, it was one of the costliest freeway projects in the US.
I-15, another view, with a Joshua Tree.
Elevations vary but for the most part are between 2,000 and 2,500 ft for most of this 4x4 road. See below.
Looking at Pine Mountain again from another overlook. From the St. George, Bloomington area or off of I-15, Exit 4. Locate Navajo Drive (a spur off of the main loop in Bloomington. At the end of this short spur the pavement ends and sign welcomes you to the School Trust Lands and BLM. This is where a lot of people unload their ATV's. The roads are pretty good. High clearance is necessary in some parts as well as 4 wheel drive. In a few places you'll be at an elevation of 5,000 and be able to see Zion with the Paiute Wilderness and the Arizona Strip to the South. To the West, you can see all the way to Moapa Peak, the Muddies, Beaver Dam Wash, Mesquite, the Virgin Mtns. and beyond.
This is an interactive Wikimapia Hybrid Map. You can zoom in / out.
Utah, Wikimapia Map
We're very fortunate to have Jerry's perspective on a trip like this. He's a good writer and an even better photographer. He'll hike anywhere he can get to, with the Virgin River Gorge being his favorte location. He's working on a book about the Gorge and it should be worth reading.
Thanks again Jerry.