The Great Western Expedition of 2011, pt3...The Maze

Ranger Joe

Feed the Rangers, not the wildlife!
Jan 27, 2012
Greetings again, and welcome to the third episode of the Great Western Expedition of 2011. Today, we head for The Maze.

We have a framed map of Canyonlands hanging on the angled ceiling above our bed. It's been there ten years. That's how long I've been looking at the area called The Land of Standing Rocks. It just such a cool name. Simple. Basic. No "Devil's Armpit" or "Sandy Bottom"...just "Land of Standing Rocks." There's also an area called Ernie's Country, but no roads go there, and my long range hiking days are long over. Who the heck was Ernie, and does he hold any sort of reign over his country?

Anyhoo, here's a boatload more pictures...

On the paved road from Green River, Utah, down towards Hanksville.

The sign pointing us the right way. Glad it was there, as the road to the ranger station is rather nondescript.

The dirt road to Hans Flat (which we kept referring to as "Hans Solo Flat".)

Sand dunes along the road.

This did not bode well.

We had to check in at the ranger station. Ranger Lily made sure we knew what we were getting ourselves into.

Our first challenge was the steep, narrow switchbacks of the Flint Trail. Ranger Lily told us to check at the overlook to make sure no traffic was headed uphill...there's no place to pass except on the turns, and uphill has the right of way. Would you want to back up on this?

There was no traffic. There was nobody out here at all, for the most part. Only three of the other campsites had reservations for the evening. We were headed for Dollhouse #3.

We made it down without a problem. The Orange Cliffs loomed above us.

The little pointy rock formation just to the left of the trail is called Teapot Rock. We were warned about the road around Teapot Rock...Ranger Lily said not to expect to cover the five mile stretch of "technical four wheel drive road" in less than two hours. Since it's the only way out to the Dollhouse, we had to do it twice.

Somewhere on that section of technical four wheel drive road. It was slow going, but fun.

A rock formation called the Mother and Child. Father apparently fell down.

Standing Rock...or maybe the Father, out there all by himself after he came home drunk one too many times.

Since the name of this subforum is "Post your Jeep Pictures Here!", I felt obligated to include a Jeep picture.

Sandstone residents of the Land of Standing Rocks.

Our destination for the evening, a formation called The Dollhouse. Apparently it's a landmark for river runners, as it's quite visible from the river a thousand feet below.

The view from our campsite. It was tucked up against the rocks, facing the Dollhouse, while the other two sites were nestled among the rocks of the Dollhouse itself.

Our campsite.

The view to the south. The Colorado River is out there somewhere.

The Dollhouse at sunset.

I was hoping to get some nice star trail shots once it got dark, but the 3/4 full moon put a bit of a damper on our stargazing. It was bright enough to read by. It was also bright enough to see a couple of mice scurrying about, which concerned us a bit, as we were told that if there were mice, there were also rattlesnakes.


Unlike our campsite at Devils Garden, there were no pit toilets out here. The honeydipper trucks just can't make it out here. (That's why the Elephant Hill trail has been "terraformed" by the NPS with concrete, so the trucks can service the pit toilets at the campsites.) You have to bring your own portapotty. The collection bags, made of mylar and filled with a cupful of kitty litter, are available for sale at the visitor centers and ranger stations.

There were no National Geographics handy, so I studied the map.

Ranger Lily told us about some Indian petroglyphs not far from our campsite, and marked them on our map. They were probably drawn by bored Indians sitting over their kitty-litter-filled Mylar bags.

We left our campsite and headed off. This is the "driveway" to Dollhouse #3.

We had plans to camp a second night in the Maze, near Chimney Rock, but the weather was starting to look a little iffy, and we weren't sure we wanted to be out here if the skies opened up. We stopped at Standing Rock on our way back from the Dollhouse.

As per tradition, we annointed the Libby with dirt from The Maze.

Ranger Lily had said that she's be out in the area, conducting a four-day backcountry orientation tour with a new SCA volunteer. We met her somewhere on the difficult part around Teapot Rock, and she was impressed to see Linda driving.

The NPS uses Rubicons for backcountry patrols in Canyonlands.

Once we got to this intersection, the road got a lot easier. We would head west from here, towards SR 95 and the NPS marina at Hite.

More ominous clouds on the road to Hite Marina. We felt we made the right decision to head out.

We made it to Hite intact, and found this cute little NPS CJ hidden behind the visitor center.

The boat ramp at Hite. The last time I was here, the boat ramp ended about a hundred yards from the river.

The view of Hite from the overlook on SR 95. The white strip in the center is the boat dock.

We had used about 3/4 of a tank of gas from Green River, and arrived at Hite about fifteen minutes after the gas station there closed (at $4.25 a gallon.) We used the eight gallons of gas we brought along, which was more than enough to get us up to Torrey, near Capitol Reef National Park.

Tomorrow, the boonies of Utah and a brief foray into the Navajo Nation.

View Part 4, We Go Navajo


Aug 9, 2007
Awesome! I can't wait to get back out there this spring. Really hoping Ranger Lily is working then... she's a cutie!:lol: We camped in Dollhouse 3 as well but the ranger that gave us our instructions didn't tell us about any rock art!:mad:

Ranger Joe

Feed the Rangers, not the wildlife!
Jan 27, 2012
Thanks for all the compliments!

Awesome! I can't wait to get back out there this spring. Really hoping Ranger Lily is working then... she's a cutie!:lol: We camped in Dollhouse 3 as well but the ranger that gave us our instructions didn't tell us about any rock art!:mad:

Yes, Ranger Lily was a cutie...but sorry, she mentioned that she was engaged. We picked Dollhouse 3 before I ran across your website, and was pleased to find that it came highly regarded. The petroglyphs were literally right around the corner from the campsite, no more than a couple hundred feet to the southwest.

totally agree!!! :D:D

I would love to go so badly, but I don't want to drive alone. This is definitely a trip I want to have someone around me.
Maybe one day in the further future...

We were concerned about driving around out here by ourselves and took as many precautions as we could without towing a second Jeep. We had rented a Spot satellite device, which allowed us to post messages to Facebook and send out texts, but it turns out we really didn't need it - we had decent cell phone reception at the campsite! We're in the most remote section of one of the most remote national parks, and we had a cell signal. Ranger Lily said we probably would, as we were in line of sight to the cell towers on the LaSal Mountains near Moab.


Jan 19, 2012
Really hoping Ranger Lily is working then... she's a cutie!:lol:

I was thinking I needed to plan a trip out there for this very reason! ;)
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