Mollys Castle

Discussion in 'Off Road' started by hatchcanyon, Oct 7, 2015.

  1. hatchcanyon

    hatchcanyon Member

    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Germany
    Travelling along Utah State Road 24 between Hanksville and Interstate 70 shows some dark red outcrops of Entrada Sandstone similar to these seen in Goblin Valley.

    A first red stretch is the so called "Notch" some miles north of Hanksville, followed by the Gilson Buttes south of the entrance road to Goblin Valley. There is a lot of sometimes thriving sand in the area. UDOT has permanently positioned equipment for removing too much sand from the highway.

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    The Notch

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    Gilson Butte

    The sand is the reason for travel limitation. No way to reach Gilson Butte - large or small one - by vehicle, but south of the Buttes a sandy spur tends to the San Rafael Reef. We decided to try this one. It starts at 12S 05333312 4266602.

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    Sandy Road

    The trail comes sandy, in some places even with dunes. In 2009 the sand was deep and loose, this year in June after the wet spring it was much more solidified. Three and a half mile from UT 24 a red Butte becomes visible. The same structures as the other sandstone outcrops. Deep red Entrada Sandstone capped by grey Curtis Formation. The map reads "Mollys Castle".

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    Mollys Castle

    On the left in the distance Wild Horse Butte near the entrance of Goblin Valley.

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    Some short stony stretches

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    Mollys Castle consists of several parts

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    Well Draw west of Mollys Castle.

    Well Draw runs down to Muddy Creek. Farther south there is another trail into the draw and to the beautiful Fairy Cliffs.

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    Mollys Castle

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    Some kind of "unborn" Goblins in the shadow

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    More of them

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    A fin?

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    Walking down Well Draw

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    Goblin Valley Rim

    The dark red formations not that far from Mollys Castle are already part of Goblin Valley State Park. Carmel Canyon Trail is one of the State Park Trails going down into the direction of Well Draw too and might be reachable from Mollys Castle. We didn't gave it a try but it might be a backdoor.

    The trail does not end at Mollys Castle. Crossing Well Draw and climbing up a hill on the other side it offers a pretty view of the San Rafael Reef. It turns to west take aim at Wild Horse Butte. Beware of the deep ruts, at some places several yards deep.

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    San Rafael Reef

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    Wild Horse Butte

    Nice place with a view! Something distracting in a distance, the new State Park Entrance Station. Looks to us liike a Mars Station. Why did they not build in red?
    To the North Temple Mountain looms across the Reef.

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    Temple Mountain

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    Looking back to the Gilson Buttes

    All things considered a nice short trip. But beware of deep sand under dry conditions!
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2015
    Curt, Artemus, Ugly and 5 others like this.
  2. Noun Sequitur

    Noun Sequitur My Feet Hurt

    Messages:
    219
    Beautiful... thanks for posting
     
  3. Vegan.Hiker

    Vegan.Hiker TR or it didn't happen

    Messages:
    1,768
    Location:
    Mahwah, NJ
    Very cool. So this is all drivable? Looks like a nice place to explore.
     
  4. TannerT

    TannerT Hike Hard, Tread Lightly

    Messages:
    581
    Awesome quick trip! I love the formations through that area. To me they look like wax figures semi-melted in the sun.

    Salud!
     
  5. hatchcanyon

    hatchcanyon Member

    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Germany
    It's drivable from UT 24 to the trail end on pavement a short distance from the Goblin Valley entrance station.
     
    Vegan.Hiker likes this.
  6. hatchcanyon

    hatchcanyon Member

    Messages:
    136
    Location:
    Germany
    Thanks! The idea of semi-melted wax ist a new point of view to me but it fits.
     
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