Scenic USA - Utah

Behind the Rocks

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Behind the Rocks WSA - Moab, Utah

Photos by Rob Jones
Rob's Trip Report

     The state of Utah has more than its share of scenic beauty. Its extraordinary diversity ranges from desert valleys to high forested mountain peaks, making this area a sightseers delight. Many famous national parks, especially the Mighty Five and numerous state parks blanket the state and make it difficult to choose the perfect travel destination.
     For those Utah sightseers interested something new and unique, the Behind the Rocks area is well off the beaten path and is quite challenging. The Behind the Rocks Wilderness Study Area (WSA), just about a mile southeast of Moab, consists of 12,635 acres. The terrain is similar to most Colorado Plateau land, highly eroded and sparsely covered in pinyon pine and desert shrubs. Petroglyph - Petro Alley, Utah The jumbled topography of Behind the Rocks is laced with domes, slickrock benches, knobs, red-rock fins, remote canyons, sheer cliffs and pure jaw-dropping scenery. While use of the WSA is limited to hiking, fin walking and climbing, 4WD routes on perimeter form sections of the wilderness boundaries and attract weekend adventurists.
     Used mainly as a dirt-bike trail, the Behind the Rocks Trail is said to be for advanced riders only. If not thoroughly convinced, names such as White Knuckle Hill, High Dive and Upchuck should offer credible clues of what this area is all about. While some of these motorized recreational activities are very noisy, inside the wilderness hikers should find the solitude they're looking for. Extreme land forms, such as the near vertical Moab Rim, create a haven for nature lovers and backcountry explorers. The area's sandstone fins, natural arches and scenic viewpoints create the unique subject matter for avid photographers and sightseers. Indian ruins, petroglyphs, desert bighorn sheep and peregrine falcons only add more reasons to take up this backcountry challenge. With no specific trails and no guide books to follow, Behind the Rocks is a great place to explore and one of the best places near Moab to get lost.

   Area Map
   WSA Map


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