October 14, 2010

Split Mountain

In Dinosaur National Monument, one of the most spectacular viewpoints is from the top of Split Mountain.  No roads lead there, but it's an easy horseback ride, only 12 miles round trip.  The photo above, taken from a distance, shows our trailhead on the right.  We ride up the ramp-like slope on the west side of the mountain. 
Here is a panorama from the summit:
Near the top, a Ponderosa forest looks like a park. Fires removed the underbrush, leaving most of the thick-barked, mature trees intact:
We saw this marker near the 7600 ft summit.  It's apparently a secondary USGS marker, with the arrow pointing to the primary one, which we did not see.
We  looked down on the plains surrounding the Green River below.  The Dinosaur quarry is in the valley near a big curve of the river seen just behind Steve's hat. 
The 1869 Wesley Powell expedition noted that the Green River cuts a deep gorge through the mountain, which he named Split Mountain Canyon.  Today, float trips through this canyon are popular with summer rafters. 
To show how the plant communities change at different altitudes, I took these photos as we descended.  We rode through Ponderosa pines:
through a pinion-juniper zone:(Instead of using reins, Steve is pointing a turn for Boss, who responds surprisingly well to hand signals.)
We continued down through flat meadows rich with native bunchgrass:
and finally through sage flats decorated with a rainbow:
We were parked near the rocky crags knows as The Reef, where we've often seen raptors perched on the rocks, keen eyes sweeping the landscape as they wait for an unlucky bunny to appear: 


  1. Have not have time to visit your blog recently, what beautiful scenery. We will one the road for almost three weeks now and just came back from Italy.

  2. Thank goodness for you and your blog! You take me to all the little corners of Utah I'll never get to see on my own. So glad you share it here, just beautiful!

  3. Janie, am glad to hear from you to which I must apologize for not being here for too long. You never get tired of filling us up with your beautiful world!

    If you have a facebook, please add me in this profile Inday Leah Dancel. Send me a message using code name utah trail. I will talk to you regarding the book you have published.

    Will appreciate hearing from you. (^_^)

  4. Janie, This ride had a little bit of everything (including a rainbow!). Plus, I like the shots you took of Steve in his red vest. Boss is one smart horse - who ever heard of hand-signaling a horse?

  5. Another adventure. What a ride. I always liked the ponderosa woods that were cleared. I get so frustrated here in Oklahoma with the thick brush I encounter sometimes.

  6. The scenery is absolutely breath-taking! Thanks for taking us along with you on this beautiful ride.

  7. Beeeeeautiful. I really like the rainbow picture.

  8. The changes in vegetation are so like coming up to the North Rim from, say Kanab. I love seeing all the different life zones. Looks like about a 3000-4000 foot elevation gain to that magnificent view. I've been finding more USGS survey markers lately, but not always the triangulation. The rainbow was a great final touch to this ride.

  9. Wow Janie.... This may be some of your best pictures and scenery yet... The views are fabulous... Thanks for sharing... I am so envious.. Love the rainbow also.

  10. Dear Janie,

    As I have said in the past, I'm very jealous of you, in a good way :) Wish I could have a life like that of yours? Seriously, any possibility for me to settle in that area?

  11. Your photos show us just how magnificent this area really is, Janie. Thanks for sharing.
    I see another book in the making!

  12. It's very beautiful and the variety of plant life is striking. The sky looks increasingly dramatic through the sequence of photos.

  13. Such beautiful views Janie.
    Love all the different landscapes you get to ride through.
    Love the rainbow. And Boss is ONE smart horse!!!

  14. Beautiful panorama shots, of course the one with the rainbow is my favorite.

  15. You both are the masters of the landscape!! Hugs

  16. I'm working backwards through your posts--but I've really liked these two about Split Mountain.



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