Cat Canyon Overlooks

Curtis Formation rocksLast weekend when we spent some time near Hambrick Bottom, I spotted a point overlooking the San Rafael River that looked like it would be fun to hike to. At home during the week, I checked it out in Google Earth and found a couple more spots nearby that looked good for hiking, and yesterday I set out to check them out. I got a really late start, but I didn’t have too much ground to cover and I was still able to take my time.
Cat CanyonThe first place I hiked to was a place I’d already been to last weekend. It was a short walk from where I parked the truck, and it had a great view of the river. I placed a geocache there, then started hiking southeast toward another overlook of the river. In order to get there, I had hike away from the river to get around a small but steep canyon. I found a shallower place to cross the canyon, then headed back toward the river. Along the way there was a lot of chert on the ground, but only in a relatively small area, and there were a few very interesting formations in the Curtis Formation sandstone. I reached the point I originally saw last weekend and placed another cache there and just sat and enjoyed the view for a while.
An awesome archGetting to the next and final point overlooking the river and Cat Canyon was a bit tougher than the previous two. I had to hike around another deep canyon, and after crossing it I began to see the most awesome formations in the sandstone. First there was a delicate looking arch–a flat, round, solid slab of sandstone supported by two blocky, crumbly pillars. Beyond that was a larger arch, and then yet more interesting formations. It was like a geologic play land, with something new and exciting around each corner. I made it to the final point, which was as far southeast as I could get, and enjoyed a great view of the San Rafael River, Cat Canyon, Fuller Bottom, and even the beginning of the Little Grand Canyon. The view along the Red Ledges to the northeast was also quite good.
More Curtis Formation rocksAfter placing one more geocache, I took a different route back to the truck so I could see even more of this place. The great formations just never stopped! I saw a lot of good stuff on the way back. I ended up hiking a total of 3.5 miles in about three hours, and I took almost 300 photos. And what’s best is that I could (and probably will) return and still see a lot of new stuff.

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