Canyonlands: The Maze: Pilgrimage to the Doll House

TripLeader

Explorer
Part 1: Prologue
"Each visit to The Maze convinced us all that we must return again."
-Kent Frost, My Canyonlands: I had the freedom of it
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I've really fallen in love with the desert over the last 10 years. I've had the good fortune to explore the American West and this is the report of one such experience. I try to go back as often as I can. I don't know why it took me so long to get to The Maze. I started asking myself that question as soon as I arrived there.
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The desert seems exposed. You see the layout of the land like you can not in any other place. The geology is there for everyone to see. Millions of years of physical history there for the viewing. Cultural history remains. Those who were there 1000 years ago have not been forgotten.
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Part 2: Arrival
We exited the highway around noon on a Sunday in late April 2017 to the dirt road that led to the Hans Flat Ranger Station.
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Getting there was an event itself. We were delayed by a snowstorm in Colorado that pushed our departure back by a day. The weather then moved to Western Kansas. That set us back 4 more hours while we detoured around a 250 mile stretch of Interstate 70 that had been closed due to snow and wind.
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We drove on the dirt for a few minutes. We pulled over, ate lunch, and aired down the Cooper S/T Maxx tires to 20 PSI.
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We continued on our way.
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Although the sign said it was a national park, we were not there yet, and would not actually be in the park for another 24 hours. The ranger station and our first campsite were on federal lands, but outside of the park's boundaries.
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We arrived at the ranger station. We picked up our permit from a very helpful and friendly staff. The entire permit process was fantastic. The online reservation system was great to use. It showed what was available and what was already reserved during our planning stages at home.
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We continued on.
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TripLeader

Explorer
Part 3: The Flint Trail Switchbacks
We came upon the switchbacks. It's one lane with no place to pull over, other than maybe at some of the switchback corners. We followed the advice given to us by the ranger who issued our permit and got out to look them over before heading down. We were looking for any vehicles coming up. They would have the right-of-way and we would have to move for them, which would consist of a long uphill backing maneuver. All was quiet with no traffic.
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We headed down.
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Looking over at the upcoming sections.
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It was a beautiful day with a high around 70 degrees. The sun was out and shining on DoorDing's 2012 Tacoma. It was a 2 man trip for us, and DoorDing has been building up his truck since he bought it new.
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Continuing on past the switchbacks.
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Flhtruss

Observer
Hi TripLeader
Thanks for the write up and pictures. Would you mind to say what road and closest town you entered from, so I can google map.
Thanks Russ
 

TripLeader

Explorer
Hi TripLeader
Thanks for the write up and pictures. Would you mind to say what road and closest town you entered from, so I can google map.
Thanks Russ
To get there:
We went west from the town of Green River, Utah for about 10 miles to Utah State Highway 24. We went south on 24 for about 15 miles to the turn off. The road is labeled "1010" on Google. It's the next road south (on the east side of 24) past the turnoff for Goblin Valley State Park (on the west side of 24).
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It may be hard to see here, but I just Googled Green River to Hans Flat Ranger Station. The blue route is the way we took. There are other ways to get there of course.
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TripLeader

Explorer
Part 4: Tea for Two
Our first night's campsite was at Teapot Rock. We followed the sign in the direction of the Doll House.
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This deer was along the side of the road.
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Teapot Rock in the distance.
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The Tacoma on the slickrock.
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At the campsite.
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TripLeader

Explorer
Part 5: The First Night
The campsite was rather exposed. We set up camp in the late afternoon. We had only seen one other vehicle since dropping down the switchbacks. That was a park ranger in JKUR. She stopped and talked to us for a few minutes and inspected our permit. Not one person drove past our campsite that night or the next morning.
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We carried 10 extra gallons of fuel with us. DoorDing topped off the tank with 5 gallons that evening.
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We grilled hamburgers and corn for dinner. The match light charcoal was slow to start. We used the air compressor to get it going.
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The sunset light that night on the La Sal Mountains in the distance.
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Overall, we had good weather and mostly calm winds during the trip. We did wake up to some high winds against the tent that night. We had no problems with wind the rest of the time
 
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TripLeader

Explorer
Part 6: Driving in "the Worst"
From a National Park Service brochure about roads in The Maze: "The road between Teapot Rock camp and the Land of Standing Rocks is the worst in The Maze. Four-wheel drivers should be prepared to make basic road or vehicle repairs and should carry the following items: at least one full-size spare tire, extra gas, extra water, a shovel, a high-lift jack and, from October to April, chains for all four tires."
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We had just left Teapot Rock and were about to see that section for ourselves. Whether it was the worst or the best depends on your perspective...
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Around this time we came upon a group of 3 Jeeps: an XJ Cherokee, a WK Grand Cherokee , and a JKU Wrangler. The WK had broken a rear control arm bolt.
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TripLeader

Explorer
Part 7: Standing Rock Campsite
We saw more as we continued toward our second night's stay at Standing Rock.
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We finally entered the actual boundary of Canyonlands National Park.
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Looking out over Land of Standing Rocks.
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Parked at Standing Rock campsite.
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Lizard sightings were common. This little guy was on the base of the huge spire at the campsite. The formation in the background is "the Plug."
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Flhtruss

Observer
Hi TripLeader
Thanks for that info. I was on that section of road once before. Rode from Vegas and picked up I70 at Green River. It rained from Fuitia to Green River at the turn in Hanksville there was a lightning storm, I felt as though I was the tallest item for miles. needless to say don't remember much of the turn offs. I appreciate your directions. The section you listed as worst, how would you say a F250 would out there. It is so beautiful and would like to take the wife there.
Russ

edit) what was the milage from fuel stop in to fuel stop out
ps liking the pics and trip report.
 
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