Colorado Overlook Trail (& Loop) - Canyonlands National Park, Maze
||A loop hike
with good views of the Colorado River (can also be done as a shorter out
and back hike).
Highway 95 in Utah the entrance to the Maze is located just north of the
Hite Marina between the Colorado and Dirty Devil Rivers. Between
mile posts 46-47 turn east on a dirt road. After a short distance
you will come to a information board. Drive down this well graded
dirt road for 30 miles (stay right at the split along the way).
Note: at the 27 mile point you will pass a sign for the "Orange Cliff
Ranger District". After 30 miles you will come to a signed
4-way intersection, turn right following the arrow to Standing Rocks/Doll
House 20 miles. A short distance past this area the road begins to
roughen until you reach a "4-wheel drive only" sign near Teapot
Rock at which point it becomes down right terrible - take it slow.
After what seems like an eternity you will pass a small parking area
outlined by rocks on the left hand side. This is the parking area
for The Golden Stairs Trail. Continue on until you see a small sign
on the left for The Wall Campsite. Continue past The Wall, then
around Lizard Rock, past The Plug and Standing Rock until you reach the
finger shaped formation called Chimney Rock. Stay right and continue
down some more rough road until you reach a sign for Doll House
camps. Turn left towards Camps 1 & 2. A short distance
later the trail head can be seen on the left hand side.
|| 4-Wheel Drive
(some guessing here)
trail head walk up the sandy wash. The well marked trail then
winds it's way through standing rocks, over sandy tracks, through canyons
and on top of slick rock. Eventually you will come to a large
outcropping of rock on the left and views down to the Colorado River on
the right. The National Geographic Map shows the trail ending here,
but in fact it continues a ways across the sandstone to where the river
makes an abrupt looping curve. You can return the way you came or
back track to the standing rocks and turn right just before reaching
them. This short loop trail circles the rocks and connects back to
the River Overlook trail a short time later (not well marked at first, but
becoming more clear as you go, after climbing a short notch there is a
sign looking some what out of place reading "Colorado River Viewpoint
Loop"). Once back at the Overlook Trail, continue back the way
you came and in a few minutes you will reach the right branching Shot
Canyon Trail. For a longer hike turn right on this trail and follow
it across some fields and eventually into the fairly wide &
uninteresting Shot Canyon. Note: along the way you will cross Water
Canyon which has cairns leading down canyon to the right. Unless you
want to walk down to the river stay on the cairned route to the left at
this point & climb up and out of Water Canyon. The trail
continues up Shot Canyon finally climbs steeply out and continues cross
country before arriving at Chimney Rock. The stairs that exist for
part of the climb were, by one account, constructed by cattle rustlers as
a means of conveying their contraband into Shot Canyon for concealment.
Once you arrive at Chimney Rock, turn left (south) on the road and walk it
the final hour back to your car.
The author and his wife completed the loop hike described
above in about 7 hours.
||Trails Illustrated -
Canyonlands Maze District NE Glen Canyon
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||The overlook for which
the hike is named.