We weren't sure what we were going to find on Slickrock Mesa. It looked like a fairly straight trail that ended in a bizarre place, but it was worth a little exploration. We were happy to find one of the best trails of the trip.
The trail started right off of the easy end of Long Canyon, and it was also pretty easy at the start. Then we found ourselves in a wide, flat area with lots of new equipment to be used for oil drilling or refining. We thought we were already done, but then the trail continued on the other side.
Just a bit further past this point we saw another trail to our left. This is probably another way in, and a better way. We had seen another spur leaving Long Canyon just before our actual trailhead, and that might be better. We'll check that out next time.
The trail didn't look well-used, but there were tracks in the dirt in front of us and cairns every once in awhile. We had a track to follow, so we kept at it.
The trail suddenly turned to a steep downhill for awhile, and we were having fun on it. When it mellowed out again, it got curvy and the rocky sections started.
Even though it's called Slickrock Mesa the trail doesn't spend much of its time on slickrock. There are some slickrock sections, but not many. Slickrock is often found in the trail in the form of stairs, steps and shelves. There is a particularly nice set of shelves in the trail that was a lot of fun.
The GPS track we were following was from a USGS map, but it ended. The actual trail just kept going, so we followed it. It had to go somewhere! We continued following the same tire tracks in the dirt, making trail finding challenging but not impossible.
There were some great views of the areas around us, including the Gemini Bridges area. You could even see Gooney Bird Rock from there. The views of the La Sal mountains and the fins in front of them were also pretty and difficult to capture on camera.
The trail came to a loop and we were at the end. We walked out and found a good overlook of the river, which is where the trail was headed. It's not the best overlook in the area -- not by a long shot -- but it sure was fun getting there.
We turned to go back and had the sun in our eyes for a bit. Then it went behind the ridge and we all enjoyed the trip up to the trailhead. It was even more fun on the way up, with all of the obstacles going uphill.
We'll definitely add this trail to our list of favorites. It would be good to do it again when we had more light, so we could get more pictures of the actual obstacles. This was a really good time.