Monday, February 5, 2018

Exploring Fantasy Canyon

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Exploring Fantasy Canyon, Vernal, Utah. Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Kids, Camping near Vernal, UT
Fantasy Canyon is about an hour south of Vernal, Utah and is a small, but unique area consisting of grayish-brown sandstone. Most of the main erosion direction is horizontal and resembles irregular stacked planks, bones, or thin pinnacles. Keep in mind that these formations are extremely fragile - don't break off pieces or take them home. Most of the formations occur on the north side of the mesa, centered along a narrow ravine only 200 ft long and up to 20 feet deep. Exploring this area is really interesting and fun, but it is really small. Plan on combining visiting Fantasy Canyon with other hikes in the Vernal area to make it a worthwhile trip, If you plan on only coming out here to see Fantasy Canyon, you may be disappointed.

From SLC head East on I-80, then take HWY 40 for the next 144 miles. When you see the sign for "Ouray, UT' turn right onto UT-88. Drive 17 miles and just after you cross the bridge, turn left and you'll be on Chipeta Grove Rd. Stay on this road until you reach the first and only 4-way intersection. Drive straight and you'll now follow the signs for Fantasy Canyon.

Here is a driving map from SLC.

There isn't really a trail - this is more of an "explore on your own" area. Exploring Fantasy Canyon will take an hour, max.

Kid friendly? Yes!
Dog friendly? Yes, off leash
Fees/Permits? None
Can you camp here? 
Yes, camping is allowed and free right in the parking area. There is one port-a-potty. There are a few picnic tables as well. There's plenty of flat area for tents, and RVs/Vans can easily make the drive as well (no hook-ups).

Exploring Fantasy Canyon, Vernal, Utah. Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Kids, Camping near Vernal, UT
 Follow the signs to reach the main parking area.
Exploring Fantasy Canyon, Vernal, Utah. Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Kids, Camping near Vernal, UT
The large parking area, where you can also camp. The biggest downside to the Fantasy Canyon area is that it is surrounded by oil & gas fields.
Exploring Fantasy Canyon, Vernal, Utah. Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Kids, Camping near Vernal, UT
 Since we camped here the night before, we woke up to Fantasy Canyon for sunrise. It wasn't the best time to get photos of this area. The ideal time would be late afternoon to sunset.
Exploring Fantasy Canyon, Vernal, Utah. Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Kids, Camping near Vernal, UT
 There are so many fun things you can find and explore - found this really small hole as I was staring at the rocks.
Exploring Fantasy Canyon, Vernal, Utah. Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Kids, Camping near Vernal, UT
Piles of stacked rock.
Exploring Fantasy Canyon, Vernal, Utah. Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Kids, Camping near Vernal, UT
 Taking it all in!
Exploring Fantasy Canyon, Vernal, Utah. Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Kids, Camping near Vernal, UT
 Fin-like rock which was about only 1 inch in thickness.
Exploring Fantasy Canyon, Vernal, Utah. Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Kids, Camping near Vernal, UT
Every turn offers something different.
Exploring Fantasy Canyon, Vernal, Utah. Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Kids, Camping near Vernal, UT
 Looking into the "heart" of Fantasy Canyon.
Exploring Fantasy Canyon, Vernal, Utah. Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Kids, Camping near Vernal, UT
 Watch out for steep drop offs.
Exploring Fantasy Canyon, Vernal, Utah. Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Kids, Camping near Vernal, UT
 Early morning light among the rocks.




Hiking to Moonshine Arch in Vernal, UT

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Exploring Fantasy Canyon, Vernal, Utah. Hiking in Utah with Dogs, Hiking in Utah with Kids, Camping near Vernal, UT

1 comment:

  1. Friends found this place when they visited Vernal. We had been there a couple months prior and I never read anything about it when I researched hiking. Darn! Maybe one day we'll wonder back there. You photos are so beautiful! Those are the coolest rocks:)

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