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1/20/2011

The Wedge Overlook An Observing Site and Wonderful Views

This piece is intended to share one of the best kept secrets of Utah with you. It is a wonderful place to observe from, a outstanding place to visit and hopefully one day becomes protected as a state or national park. One of the best kept secrets of living in Utah is the many wonderful scenic places one can go and get a first class view of nature. Hopefully this is maintained moving forward well into the future for the upcoming generations. Also, since the weather has continued not to be so good (last night it cleared but the full moon made observing not so good) I've decided to place some links to another area that one can go and observe in Utah. This one is called the Wedge Overlook.

Now I have to admit up front that I have not been to this site yet, but as soon as the threat of snow, rain and/or frost is gone from this site, I am going to head there for a two day new moon event (observe for 2 nights in a row and stay over for one day). An outstanding member of the Salt Lake Astronomical Society and retired Deseret News reporter Joe Bauman (who has a wonderful blog located at the Deseret News that I recommend you read) observes there and if you search his blog, you'll find images taken of him imaging there in the dark. Anyway, Joe is the one who has made me aware of this site and thanks to him I intend to check it out come spring. Hopefully, before spring, I can get some time observing again.

The Wedge Overlook is one of the most scenic vistas in the state of Utah. "The Wedge overlooks the San Rafael river as it flows through the “Little Grand Canyon”. The San Rafael river is a combination of Ferron Creek, Cottonwood Creek, and Huntington Creek which meet at a single point, and then continue to the Colorado River. The Wedge is a massive upheaval geological dome of which the top layers have been eroded away. Further erosion by the San Rafael River has created the spectacular views that are available today. The Wedge Overlook provides restrooms, handicap access, camping (limited to designated sites) hiking and mountain biking."

Here are some images of the "Little Grand Canyon."




























































If you want a wonderful panoramic view of the site, go to this link.

Skies are dark, really dark from what I am told with the only light coming from campfires from nearby campers, but it is easy enough to get away from them and their smoke. The following sites provide directions:

Link 1

Link 2

This site provides images of their visit to the Wedge.

And a map of the site.

There are designated campsites if what I have read is correct that are available on a first come first serve basis.

Here is a YouTube video of someone driving out to the site. I recommend turning the sound off, then watch as they get to the Wedge Overlook area around 4:20 to 4:32 in the video. They then continue on driving through the region. For some, reading the directions and then having a visual aid can be helpful.

Hopeful come March or April (most likely April) I'll be heading down there and giving a first hand account of the site. A few cautions. One, gas. I know my Pathfinder gets about 300 miles on a tank, maybe more. I would stop and top off the gas tank in Price or somewhere before heading out to the Wedge. Also, make sure you spare tire is pumped up and that you know how to get it out. Flats do occur in the desert. Finally, have plenty of water, and food. There are toilet facilities there as you can see in the images or in the YouTube video, but no other services. I recommend your own toilet paper as well. Water and food are a must here if your staying the night.

So for those local to Utah, I hope you've learned of a possible new area to observe from and for those outside of Utah perhaps you have a new place to visit if you ever come out this way.


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