Monday, March 14, 2016: Valley of Fire: Windstone Arch, Prospect Trail

Some years ago photographer Andy Waddington told me about Windstone Arch. His photo of it is fantastic (link below). For me finding Windstone Arch turned out to be much more difficult than I expected. I relied on my memory from photographs and advice from the rangers, but the scale in my mind was completely wrong. It is very small. Fortunately Larry found it after we had spent about an hour wandering around various beautiful outcroppings. This is all Aztec sandstone, and the way it weathers is quite different than other sandstones I am familiar with.

Here is the iconic view of Windstone Arch. The tafoni in rear is fantastic. Coordinates are 39° 24 44.84. Waddington’s remarkable image of this feature is visible at Andrew Waddington World Images>Galleries>Underground

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Here is a reverse view. All this is hidden in a small cave, which adds to the mystique, the nice light, and the difficulty of finding it.

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We then looked at the Grand Piano rock, and then Larry and I were dropped off at White Domes and we did the entire Prospect Trail (5.5 miles) which was quite spectacular. Unlike other trails in the park this one sees few visitors (we saw two parties coming in the opposite direction). The whole trail is interesting, but for small erosional features, the southern part is better.


The Grand Piano

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Here is Larry at the hardest scrambling section on the Prospect Trail.

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Prospect Trail features

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One feature of the Aztec Sandstone is the prevalence of elephant-trunk formations, such as the one in center here.

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At the end of the day we visited some interesting striations just south of the junction of the White Dome Road and the Rainbow Vista trailhead.

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Beavertail cactus were prevalent, though rarely in flower this early in the season. We saw one flower.

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We then drove to St. George, Utah, where we were to spend three nights.

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