(Canyonlands National Park)
Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails
by David Day
Distance: 8.8 miles (round trip)
Walking time: 5 hours
Elevations: 540 ft. loss/gain
Trail: This is a slickrock trail, well marked by stone cairns.
Season: Spring, early summer, and fall. This hike is very hot in the summer and cold in the winter. The best times are during the spring and fall. The road to the trailhead may be impassible, even with a 4WD, after a heavy snow or rain. For current conditions call the Hans Flat Ranger Station, Canyonlands National Park, at (435) 259-2652.
Vicinity: Canyonlands National Park, Maze District, near Hite
The Chocolate Drops, as seen from the bottom of the Maze
Links to other sites:
Ordering books & Maps
Comments about this site or our book:
When Edward Abbey first wrote
these words he was standing on the Maze Overlook (page 217) looking
at what we now call the Chocolate Drops. The Maze has since been
protected as a part of Canyonlands National Park, and consequently
it is still possible to share the feeling of wonderment that
Abbey must have experienced forty years ago.
Follow the cairns from the parking
area around the east side of the large monolith beside the road,
then on towards the other spires farther out on the plateau.
All of these formations are the unlikely remains of a 200-foot-thick
layer of Organ Shale that once covered Canyonlands. By now, however,
the unrelenting forces of erosion have almost completely removed
the crumbling rock from the area, and only a few pinnacles of
red shale still remain. After about thirty minutes the trail
passes by the next group of Organ Shale formations, including
one particularly picturesque mound that is topped by an enormous
balanced rock. So precarious is the capstone that it is hard
to pass beneath it without unconsciously walking a little faster.
If you are interested in a supplemental map of the
Chocolate Drops area, we recommend:
Canyonlands, Maze District (Trails Illustrated, map #312)