20 June 2015

Noah's Ark

Dixie National Forest

One last excursion up First Left Hand Canyon, just across the road from the first excursion, hiking to a formation called Noah's Ark. The trail leaves from within the Vermilion Castle Campground. It is signed, but does not have any dedicated parking next to the trailhead. There are spaces near the start of the campground. I set off up the gentle slope bellow the trees.

the ark above the ark sign
The start and the end.

The gentle slope is soon replaced with a moderate slope. There are a few (four total) small downed trees to jump over, but none are difficult to navigate. Reaching a short ridge line, the trail gets dim (and likely there is old trail under another downed tree), but there is still only one way that looks likely and it is correct so navigation continues to be simple.

trail along a short ridge
Above the dim trail area, there is quite obvious trail.

Grand Castle
The Grand Castle across the canyon.

climbing in yellow rocks
Continuing upward.

Eventually the moderate slope tilts upward and there is one last bit of steep climbing to get up between a couple rocks to the ark. The rocks change quickly through this section and there are a couple shallow caves to check out. One cave seems to have a resident who leaves a brown ooze around the bottom edge. The larger ones seem to be clean and look to have been used for shelter from the rain a time or two.

hole in the rocks
A cave in the composite rocks.

loose shale area
Climbing more steeply and with less firm footing.

Once up and through the rocks, there is still a short push to get to the ark. The trail seems to come to a large viewpoint looking out over the canyon. Turning around, there are the rocks that the trail is named for rising above. Across the canyon is the Grand Castle that Vermillion Castle climbs to.

red rocks arcing
Arcs of red rocks for Noah's Ark.

over the top
Looking out over the edge of the canyons to the wide valley below where the interstate runs.

peek into the second canyon
The trail below on the left and a little bit of the road up Second Left Hand Canyon as it turns to dirt on the right.

After looking around, I head back down. There are a couple spots that I want slow, steady footing while going down the steep section. Gradually, the slope mellows out again to land me in the flat campground.

long slot of a hole in the rocks
The cave that most looks to have been shelter for many people.

©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 30 July 2015

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