July 21, 2020 Moab, UT Onion Creek 4WD (Day 5)

It was another warm day and the skies were very hazy. Today we wanted to do the Onion Creek 4WD trail. It is rated as an easy trail of 9.5 miles one way with a high point of 5,620 ft. Onion Creek gets its name from the sulfur-based natural spring called Stinking Spring. We left just before 11:00 and headed north out of town about 1/2 mile from the campground to Highway 128 which is known as the “River Road” because it follows the Colorado River. It is part of the Colorado River Recreation Area.

Along Highway 128 there were 4 nice campgrounds placed on the banks of the river. There wasn’t too much action on the river, but we did see a few people paddleboarding and floating on the river. Here it was moving fairly slowly.

The scenery along the river is beautiful and ever-changing.

The river cuts through the canyon for 45 miles, but we drove only 20 miles to Onion Creek Road where we “aired down” for the drive up the canyon.

From the pull-off, we got our first glimpse of the Priest and Nuns rock formation. Can you see it on the right side?

Looking back from where we came, the bluffs were lined up like sentries along the highway.

At the beginning, Onion Creek Road was a wide gravel road which took us toward the canyon.

As it took us deeper into the canyon, the road narrowed and criss-crossed Onion Creek.

The road cut deep into the canyon with distinctive rock formations at every turn.

Our guidebook told us that we would do 27 river crossings along this road starting at mile #1. That’s where we started to count. The creek is usually a trickle, but it can be deep after heavy rains and flash floods are always possible according to our book. There wasn’t much of a creek at times, but the river banks and bushes along the river told another story when the river was deeper and faster flowing with the last big rain.

As the road wound its way up into the canyon, at times it was steeper and made some hairpin turns where we couldn’t see around the corner. Bob beeped his horn to alert any drivers coming the other way.

We only ran into one truck coming down and we pulled over to let him pass.

The scenery was breath-taking!

We crossed a bridge about 4 miles into the canyon which was our 19th river crossing.

We came around a blind curve and saw 2 full-sized trucks ahead of us.

There was a large turn-out area in the shade of a rock wall up ahead, so we thought we’d pull over and give them some time to get farther ahead of us.

It was nice and shady, so we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to eat our lunch here.

Bob took the opportunity to scout the road up ahead to see where it went.

I hung out by the Jeep to check out the unusual markings on the rock walls there.

These look fragile, but they are hard rock.
These were small stones embedded in the rock and could not be moved.

I could look over the edge and see the river below us.

This area of the canyon was so beautiful and there was a lot to look at. We had the place all to ourselves.

From this location, we could see the Totem Pole and Mongoose Tower.

We both shouted to hear our voices echo through the canyon. That was so cool! We decided to not go any further on our drive and turn around since there was a big area here to do it in. The rest of the trail from what we read, eventually climbed out of the canyon and onto a mesa. The landscape would change from red rock to flatlands, so we figured that we had seen the most outstanding section of this drive already. On our drive back, a dirt biker came up behind us and scared the crap out of us when he revved his engine to let us know he was there. We pulled over when we could to let him go by.

On our drive back, the sun was shining on the red rocks making them glow. The scenery was stunning!

Once we got back to Highway 128 we “aired back up” again. From there, we drove further on Highway 128 along the Colorado River. Following the river up the canyon is very scenic.

We could see Fisher Towers from the road.

The color of the rocks turned to white as we neared the bridge that crossed the river about 33 miles down the River Road.

There used to be a suspension bridge over the river at one time (we remembered it when we were here a few years ago), but it was in disrepair and unusable now.

We turned around at the bridge and headed back on Highway 128.

The river was flurry of activity now with rafters, kayakers, paddle boarders, and people tubing who were all sharing the river this afternoon.

We got back to the campground around 2:00. The temp was now 104 degrees.

Auggie didn’t want to spend too much time outside, but we sat outside for awhile. Later, I put on my swimsuit and went down to the pool. The water was so refreshing! I hung out there for awhile and did some reading. Then Bob and I watched a movie until dinner. Bob grilled steaks outside under the pergola while watching the outdoor TV.

We waited until almost sunset to take our walk, so it would start to cool off a little. As the sun set, it lit up the La Sal Mountains across the valley. The tops looked pink in the sunlight. (Normally, the tops of the mountains are brown.)

We have no neighbors next door tonight, so we thought we could use their fire pit. Unfortunately, the propane tank was empty. Boo-hoo! Not every site has the same amenities. It depends on the individual owner.

We are looking forward to a cooler day tomorrow. The forecast says cloudy with a change of rain and a high of 82. We’ll believe it when we see it. Rain would actually be welcome.

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