The Outbound™ publishes Cathedral Valley Story
Updated: Aug 2
Camp in a backcountry Southern Utah location among the massive sandstone monoliths.
Cathedral Valley is a scenic backcountry area in Capitol Reef National Park. It is a remote, stark desert characterized by amazingly beautiful sandstone monoliths that some say resemble cathedrals. Many of the valleys structures have interesting, highly descriptive names: Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Moon, The Walls of Jericho, among others.
The long dirt road out to Temple of the Sun along Cathedral Valley Road is a barren, rocky 60 mile loop that requires a high clearance vehicle. Don’t expect to go more than 15 mph the entire time. The solitude can be a bit frightening, a flat tire may leave you stranded for a quite awhile. I don’t recommend going alone. But, ... I did. :)
Those two nights, I was the only human being within 50 miles in all directions. I didn’t see another soul for 3 days while exploring Cathedral Valley, By far, the most remote location I have visited, which I found utterly fascinating. It felt as though I was transported to another time. No signs of civilization whatsoever. Completely alone in the elements.
Next to the massive Temple of the Sun, is the smaller Temple of the Moon. I planned my trip around the lunar cycle, hoping shoot photographs of the Temple of the Moon, under a full moon.
I camped under the stars, listened to the coyotes, watched herds of antelope, and rock climbed spires. It felt as though I was discovering unexplored land. The silence is deafening and the crickets seem louder than ever. The coyotes could have been 20 miles away howling at the moon, but they sounded like they were right next to me.
Nearby the Temple of the Moon, the Glass Mountain is a geologic formation consisting of large selenite crystals forming a mound or plug 15 feet high. Selenite is known by native cultures for its healing powers.
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Greg Harlow is a traveling photographer and videographer residing in Salt Lake City, Utah.
P: (605) 430-9769