This trail ROCKS
Overview: This is half of an interpretive trail (and the most-used portion of the trail) that includes 23 educational panels and signs. This trail is called the Mr. Williams Geology Trail and is named in honor of Mr. Williams, a passionate local geologist from the area. When he passed away, a portion of his estate went to creating and maintaining these trail markers and signs, starting in 2014. This southern loop, in the Devil's Canyon area, covers portions of the D1 and D3 designated trails in the Devil's Canyon area and wilderness.
Warning: Portions of the hike are in creek bottoms. These can be treacherous when flowing. Do not attempt if there is a flash flood hazard.
Hike: The Devil's Canyon portion of the geology trail starts at the Devil's Canyon trailhead. Each sign has an arrow, written directions, and GPS coordinates for the next sign, along with lots of informational pictures and text about the geology of the area. The trail moves up D1 towards the hill, then descends to the left, crossing the creek at the bridge. At the next marked juncture, take a left. The geology signs are easy to see here, so simply head for them as you parallel the creek and the Entrada Sandstone wall above it. You will cross the creek again and come to a sign next to a large boulder; the sign explains how flash floods moved this boulder from the source area a few miles away. From here the trail actually backtracks to the most recent creek crossing. Go back to that bridge and turn left, dropping into the creek bed. This is the longest unmarked stretch of the trail as you negotiate the slickrock creek bed, sandy benches, and rocky boulder jams. In the spring the creek runs gently with snowmelt, and flowers bloom in the sandy soil. In the fall, the cottonwoods turn yellow, making this section the most scenic of the whole hike.
Eventually the trail comes to signs 20 and 21, just before entering the Black Ridge Wilderness. Sign 21 lets you know that you need to turn around. Follow the trail downcanyon slightly and then turn left at the marked junction. This takes you out of the canyon and up onto the Kayenta bench, affording you amazing views of the Book Cliffs and the interior of Devil's Canyon where you were just walking. Eventually you reach the D1 trail again; turn right. The final two geology trail signs are visible on the descent. After stopping at sign 23, follow D1 back to the D2/3 trail and turn left - you are now back on familiar ground. Follow this section of trail back to the parking lot.
Water Sources: The creek in Devil's Canyon flows during the spring and after monsoon storms. Bring all you need.
Camping: Only in the Black Ridge Wilderness, which can be accessed from this trail.
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.