Minor Overlook ~ Canyon Rims Recreation Area
The Canyon Rims Recreation Area is rarely crowded, because two busy National Parks are located right next door. Most of the tourists focus solely on Canyonlands National Park, Arches National Park and adventures in the Moab Valley when visiting, so they tend to overlook the neighboring Canyon Rims Recreation Area. Part of the neglect is due to this recreation area barely appearing on smart phone mapping systems. No matter what the reason is as to why the big crowds do not flock here, there is one thing for sure. Finding a place that is not crowded is a real blessing when Moab is at full capacity during the busy summer season and finding empty campsites is even better still!
The main access point for Canyon Rims Recreation Area is located just a few miles north of Monticello, Utah on Highway 191. The road to look for is Needles Overlook Road. After traveling a few miles on Needles Overlook Road, the fork in the road is where Hatch Point Road begins. Hatch Point Road meanders along the canyon rim to the Hatch Point Campground and the majestic Kane Creek Anticline. Starting from Highway 191, the total distance to the Anticline Overlook is almost 32 miles and the trip on Hatch Point Road will involve some seriously long dirt road driving. Fortunately, Hatch Point Road is a well maintained dirt road, so passenger cars that have higher than average ground clearance can do the trip, although something like a Jeep would be more apropos.
All along Hatch Point Road are scenic overlooks and famous landmarks, so the long dirt road drive to the Kane Creek Anticline is far from boring! There are several dirt side roads that go to primitive campsites on the canyon rim too, but most of these dirt trails are too rough for anything other than a 4×4 vehicle. The Canyonlands Overlook Trail is a good example of one of the “4×4 Only” trails in the Canyon Rims Recreation Area. On the flip-side, some of the scenic overlook dirt side roads are smooth enough for a passenger car and the Minor Overlook certainly fits this bill of fare!
The Minor Overlook Access Road is a one way loop around a big eroded red sandstone outcrop. The dirt road goes along the edge of a towering cliff and the views of Canyonlands are nothing less than spectacular! The Colorado River, part of the Dead Horse Point potash mine ponds and a portion of the Island In The Sky District can be seen. The views of the canyon floor from this towering cliff top overlook reveal the harsh rugged maze of canyons and bluffs that give this terrain the reputation of being a no man’s land. In some spots along the road, there is room enough to part the vehicle and set a spell, while taking the beautiful views in, so be sure to take your sweet time when visiting the Minor Overlook at the Canyon Rims Recreation Area!