Scenic USA - Utah

Cathedral Valley

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Temple of the Moon and Sun - Cathedral Valley, Torrey, Utah

Photo by Jack Brauer
Jack Brauer Photography

   Caineville Wash Road, one of Utah's many back-country byways, heads north from Utah's Route 24. This gravel and dirt road, found about 10 miles east of the border of Capitol Reef National Park, entices inquisitive travelers to an adventure through the slickrock countryside of Cathedral Valley. The track, very treacherous when wet, makes a large loop and exits through the Capitol Reef's South Desert, via Hartnet Road. To bypass crossing the Fremont River ford on the Hartnet Road side of the loop, another route, using Baker Ranch Road and Thousand Lake Mountain Road (FR-022 and FR-206), leads west to Route 72, exiting just about five miles north of Fremont.
   Pictured here is one of the impressive sights along the way, two massive sandstone monoliths called Temple of the Moon (foreground) and Temple of the Sun. Lying alongside a short side trail (see area map), these formations are made up of Entrada Sandstone, deposited millions of years during the Jurassic Period. These pinnacles and monoliths were protected by a harder layer of Curtis sandstone, and the surrounding rocky material has long since been eroded away.

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