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Along the White Rim Trail, 2017, Part 3

We had a good night at Candlestick camp and before we were up we were passed by the only other person going our direction (besides a lone bicycle) the entire trip.  Before long we were out of camp and back on the trail.  We didn’t have too far to go for day three, but there was a hike on the list that would take a bit of time.


As you make your way upriver along the Green there begin to be bottoms that seem to be big flat bars along the river.  They may have had extensive cottonwood galleries at one time but now the tamarisk has mostly taken over.  There are still some nice cottonwoods to be found too.  We passed Valentine Bottom, Unknown Bottom, Queen Anne Bottom, Beaver Bottom and Potato Bottom.  Somewhere in there the White Rim started getting closer and closer to the level of the river.  In hindsight it should have been obvious that we were seeing the last of it, but we didn’t really realize it until it was gone.  I would have said goodbye.

The White Rim approaches the level of the river

The main stop of the day was the hike out to Fort Bottom, but first there was the climb up Hardscrabble hill.  We talked to an oncoming camper the day earlier and he mentioned that Hardscrabble was a white knuckler.  We started up it  passing a couple narrow and steep spots without much difficulty.  We got to what we thought may be the top of the hill and stepped out to have a look.  Not such a white knuckler after all.


Midway up Hardscrabble

Once back in the truck we went around the corner and looked at each other saying “The road goes up there?”, and why yes, yes it did.  So up we went.  There was one steep spot with a bit of a blind corner when all you have to look at is the hood of your truck and you drive for a bit by your memory of where the road was.  But quickly we were to the actual top of the hill and on our way to Fort Bottom.  But seriously, who dreamed up this road?


Green River

We parked the truck and took a walk out to Fort Bottom, a big peninsula in the river.  You make your way out the point and eventually down to river level.  There is one section of the trail that is only a couple of feet wide and I wouldn’t recommend it for those that wouldn’t enjoy a trail with a steep drop-off on either side.  But then again, who doesn’t enjoy a trail like that?

Fort Bottom Trail gets skinny

The namesake fort is a structure from the Puebloan era and estimates are that it dates to about 1260.  Wow.  We got a good eye on it after crossing the bridge.  It is in a strategic location on the top of a plateau, but further reading postulated that it may have actually been used for rituals or celestial observation.  Either way it is an impressive piece of construction.


The fort of Fort Bottom

More recently there was a cabin built that still stands, apparently the purpose was a halfway house for tuberculosis patients headed for a planned center at the confluence of the Green and Colorado.  Dry air anyone?


We returned the way we came and then it was on to camp.  We could actually see camp from the start of the Fort Bottom trail as we were set to camp at the Hardscrabble camp.  The wind kicked up in the afternoon and pretty much coated everything we had in a red dust.  Our souvenir from the trip I guess.  We still have plenty if anyone wants some.  Due to the wind we called it an earlier night and didn’t stay out to enjoy the plentiful stars of the past two days.  Next morning we retrieved our items that the wind borrowed and hit the road.  Before long we were passing Upheaval Dome and exiting the park.


Upheaval Dome


Goodbye Canyonlands

The climb out was similar to the drop down, crazy switchbacks that bring you up about 1000 feet.


Mineral Canyon Switchbacks


We had a bit of time before we needed to put some miles behind us so we toured the viewpoints overlooking the country we had spent the last four days in.



We were already both asking “When can we come back?”.  The sure sign of a good trip.



5 thoughts on “Along the White Rim Trail, 2017, Part 3

  1. Truly a wonderful trip! I’ve seen many reports on the White Rim Trail. Although they highlighted the stunning scenery, they never kindled a real desire to visit. Your report and photos did. We must go and look at cracks and enjoy the walk to Fort Bottom. Thank you for letting us tag along!

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