Utah Spring Vacation | Day 1

We had the most amazing adventure through Utah. It was so desolate, but so beautiful. I’m putting together a slideshow of all our pics, but here are more of the details day-by-day:

We left Pagosa on Saturday, April 12th. We’d hoped to leave on Friday, but ended up needing the extra day to finish packing and not feel so rushed. Pakak, Denver, and Aspen were the lucky dogs who got to tag along. While Dark Star & Duchess stayed behind—they didn’t seem to mind, and Duchess really hates to travel. Even though it took us about 6+ hours to reach/find our camp for the night—we were so excited about the trip, that it didn’t feel long at all. Driving an old VW bus with a top speed around 55 mi/hr usually forces us to slow down, take in the scenery, and choose the roads less traveled.


You can see my map of the overall route on google maps.

This first day we traveled to Cortez on HWY 160, then went through McElmo Canyon to reach the border. Once in Utah, we took Res roads towards Hovenweep, turning back West to take HWY 191 to Blanding. After a quick top off on fuel, we found Elk Mountain Road, which starts near Edge of the Cedars State Park. This was a crazy, winding dirt road, but in good condition with some nice views/peeks at some of the canyons that skirt it. It started in high-desert juniper/cedars, traversed through some washes, then climbed into a mixed conifer forest much like what we’re used to at home. We saw a sign for Hammond Overlook, took the best looking forest road we’d seen in a while, and made camp.

hammond overlook

We would have liked to camp closer to this vista, but we were afraid of having our half-blind/deaf old Golden so close to a cliff edge. So we camped in the pines.