“part of the old spanish trail”
The La Sal Mountains or La Sal Range are located in Grand and San Juan counties, Utah. The range rises above and southeast of Moab and north of the town of La Sal. This range is part of the Manti-La Sal National Forest and the southern Rocky Mountains. The maximum elevation is at Mount Peale, reaching 12,721 feet (3,877 m) above sea level. The range contains three clusters of peaks separated by passes. The peaks span a distance of about 18 miles. The name of the range dates to Spanish times, when the Sierra La Sal (meaning the "Salt Mountains") were a prominent landmark on the Old Spanish Trail between Santa Fe and Los Angeles. The range formed as a result of intrusion of igneous rocks and subsequent erosion of the surrounding less-resistant sedimentary rocks. The most abundant igneous rocks are porphyritic, with phenocrysts of hornblende and plagioclase: these rocks are called diorite in some accounts but trachyte in at least one other source. Syenite, some containing the unusual mineral nosean, makes up a few percent of the igneous rocks present. Some of the igneous intrusions have the shapes of laccoliths. Ages of these igneous rocks fall in the interval 25 to 28 million years. The magmas were emplaced into sedimentary rocks with ages from Permian to Cretaceous.
We drove the Jeep around the trails up here at dusk last night. The leaves were starting to fall and the later afternoon sunlight glinting through the trees. We actually got some decent altitude too - I think around 11,000 ft. Beautiful, I'll come up here every time I'm in the area.
The contrast of the Lasals over the red desert of Moab makes them an incredible sight. Only a short 20-30 minute drive from Moab proper, the Lasals keeps snow almost all year and is a great place to go for tobogganing in the winter and hiking year round. A nice place to cool off from the desert heat!
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La Sal Mountains
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