Chicken Corners and a Baby Lion’s Back in Utah

When given the choice between Colorado or Utah for hubby’s upcoming birthday trip in March, hubby was quick to choose Utah. He had already gone stir crazy for months during the fall and winter from not being able to take the Jeep out due to the snowy and soggy backcountry roads of Colorado. Hubby had been longingly watching off-roading videos of two particular trails in Utah that he wanted to try – Mashed Potatoes and Fins & Things.

I had also watched most of those videos of vehicles attempting those difficult 4WD trails, and although it was hubby’s birthday, those were two trails I was not going to agree to do, especially in the winter when even the dry, desert landscape of Utah gets snowy and slippery.

Nonetheless, we headed to Moab, Utah, and despite the disappointingly snowless weather, hubby still agreed to do a more tame (but still strangely-named) scenic 4WD trail called Chicken Corners that parallels the Colorado River most of the way.

With a name so bizarre, I really expected the trail to be just as weird or to run into a funny, chicken-like rock formation, but it turns out the trail gets its name from a narrow cliff-edge section around a corner where, back in the day, when the trail was just a livestock/pack trail and much more narrow, the least “chicken” animal was willing to pass. That being said, the trail was pretty straightforward and Moab-esque and we honestly couldn’t recall any narrow section where we were “too chicken” to continue. The most “chicken” thing that stood out to us on the trail was a sign appropriately decorated with comical-looking rubber chickens.

The next day, we ditched the four wheels, but kept with the Jeep theme of the trip by visiting an arch on foot just outside Moab called Jeep Arch. The trail to Jeep Arch is nearby to a trail of a much more popular arch called Corona Arch, and while Corona Arch is a must-see in the Moab area, we had already seen Corona Arch a couple of years ago and definitely appreciated the less-busy Jeep Arch trail.

Hiking in Utah is unique in that most times, there isn’t really an obvious and overused foot path to follow due to the sandy and rocky terrain. Furthermore, there isn’t a lick of shade in Utah and you are at the mercy of whatever the weather delivers, which most times is unrelenting sunshine and heat. Fortunately, we found that the Jeep Arch trail had many cairns (stacked rocks) to guide our way, and even when there seemed to be several opposing “cairn options,” they all seemed to ultimately lead in the same direction. And as far as the weather, all I can say is it was good that we were doing the hike in the winter, which was still a bit too toasty!

Jeep Arch trail is a short and easy 3.5 mile-trail and allows dogs, so the granny dachshunds came along! The hike in included a really cool view of another unique rock formation, Gold Bar Arch, that looked almost like an elephant. Not only did Jeep Arch actually look like a cute Jeep, but it was a spectacular sight to be able to hike directly up to the huge Jeep Arch “window” and see stunning 360-degree views of the landscape, complete with snowy mountains in the far distance!

Although our granny dachshunds did a spectacular job hiking the trail and only needed a lift on the sections with steep rocks, by the very end, Roxie was slugging far behind as if time did not exist her little world. Eventually, we forced her beyond her will to be carried out for the last mile of the hike. She was not a happy camper about this, given that she is a very independent and fussy little wiener dog!

After our Jeep Arch hike, we still had time to do another activity for the day, so we spontaneously decided to do a couple of nearby, easy 4WD trails that would loop us back around to Moab starting with Long Canyon and ending with Gemini Bridges. As much as I prefer Colorado landscape to Utah, Utah somehow never ceases to impress me with its unique and endless, textured landscape.

On our final day in Moab, before our drive back home, hubby nonchalantly mentioned he wanted to visit something quick just outside Moab called the Baby Lion’s Back. Knowing that we didn’t have time for a full-blown trail and thinking that it was just going to be a cute lion-shaped rock formation that we could easily drive up to, I didn’t ask any further questions.

I was bamboozled when, 10 minutes later, we arrived at the most horrendous, steep rock formation that was “meant” to be driven up. Hubby ended up being on his own for this birthday endeavor because not only was I not willing to be a passenger for this scary 4WD activity, but I wasn’t willing to leave the dachshunds in the vehicle either. The dachshunds and I stood outside and watched while hubby drove up and over the steep, rock formation. The rock was so steep that I couldn’t even see if he had successfully made it down the other side, but eventually he returned and we continued back home on flat ground, vowing to never let him visit the Baby Lion’s Back or its relatives ever again, birthday or not!

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