Colorado Plateau

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Things to do


Date of travel

November, 2009

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Reasons for trip

The Colorado Plateau is the best collection of great scenery on the face of the planet. The Colorado Plateau covers about 120,000 sq miles (the UK is 94,000 sq miles),7 mostly in the American state of Utah with extensions into the states of Arizona (the Navajo Indian Reservation, Petrified Wood National Park, and the Grand Canyon; Colorado (Mesa Verde National Park, The San Juan Skyway, Colorado National Monument, and the Black Canyon of the Gunisson National Park); New Mexico, and Nevada.

The major Utah sights on the Plateau are Bryce Canyon, Zion, Aches, Canyonlands, and Capitol Reef National Parks; Scenic drives on UT Rts 12, 9, 24, 95, I-70, and US 89 and 189; Grand Staircase Escalante, Dinosaur, Natural Bridges, and Cedar Breaks National Monuments.


Many Hollywood Western movies were filmed on the Plateau, with crews staying in Moab or Kanab– Stay in John Wayne’s room at the Apache Motel in Moab.

Angel Canyon near Kanab is the world’s largest no kill animal shelter. Altitudes of the features of the plateau range from under 300 ft above sea level in the Grand Canyon to over 14,000 ft in the San Juan Mountains.

Boulder Mtn. (10,000 ft altitude) is so big that it was discovered twice, once by explorers coming from the north who named it Boulder Mtn. And also by explorers from the south who called in the Aquarius Plateau. The short road from the north side to the south side is 120 miles long.

Skiing at Telluride (Colorado); Eagle Point & Brian Head, Utah; and Snow Bowl, Arizona.

The Grand Staircase is series of plateaus within the Colorado plateau that are piled up on top of each other rising from about 300 ft above sea level (the Grand Canyon) to over 10,000 ft (Aquarius Plateau).

The Book Cliffs, east of Price Utah are so vast and remote that they hide some exceptional sights. Desolation Canyon– 100 miles long and almost one mile deep is 2/3 the size of the Grand Canyon and you never heard of it. The closest paved road ends 32 miles from the canyon rim. Best visited by helicopter and a week long raft trip.

From the roadside rest area at the summit of the San Rafael Swell on east bound highway I-70, you can see mountains 137 miles away.

I-70 is the main highway on the Plateau. There is sign on I 70 just west of Green River that warns, “Last Services for 110 Miles”.

There are 5 expressways that connect America east to west: I-90, I-80, I-70, I-40, and I-10. Such is the vastness of the Colorado Plateau that there is a place on I-70, 110 miles long, where there is no place to stop for petrol (gas in America), no place to stop for food, and no place to find accommodations for nights sleep.

This is as good a place as any for the residents of Europe’s trivial principalities to gain an appreciation for the scale of the world’s handful of continental sized countries (USA, Canada, Russia, Brazil, and Australia).

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