We had one last detour before our final destination of the magnificent Zion National Park.
Our goal was to pack in as many sights as we could on our ten-day trip.
We were up early for a short hike to a lookout at Lake Powell.
Back on the road, we turned off the main highway and set out on a dusty, bumpy, red-dirt path barely wide enough for one vehicle — more like a wagon train trail — several miles off the main road to a trailhead that would lead to an amazing slot canyon hike.
The Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, at 1.7 million acres, dominates southern Utah.
It’s unique in that it is the first monument to be administered by the Bureau of Land Management, rather than the National Park Service.
The Grand Staircase is a geological formation spanning eons of time and is a territory of multicolored cliffs, plateaus, mesas, buttes, pinnacles, slot canyons, and world-class paleontological sites..
After hiking for about and hour or so, clambering up and out of narrow and shady slot canyons that seemed to go on forever, passing a random cow or two, the “cathedral” emerged in a open space bathed in sunlight.
I don’t know why it’s “secret” except that a couple of experienced hikers we chatted with at the trailhead shared a few of the highlights of the area and cautioned us not to be TOO specific when we talked about where we were to avoid it becoming overcrowded. Spectacular. WOW. This is supposed to be one of the longest slot canyon hikes in the country, if not THE longest. We hiked for about three hours in, a six-mile round trip. ME!
Next stop, ZION!