Little Black Mountains


The Little Black Mountains lie on the border of the northern portion of Capitol Reef National Park. While not exceedingly high or difficult to climb, the geology of the Little Blacks amidst the eery desolation of the South Desert makes for an other-worldy place to adventure, a strange, colorful land shaped by water erosion and volcanism. The Little Black Mountains are made of basalt, a volcanic rock. The beds of basalt that comprise the mountains here, as well as magmatic dikes surrounding them, were created by magma surfacing from below and later cooling to form the mountains and dikes in the midst of the desert environment. The surrounding desert was shaped by violent storms which shape the desert because of its lack of water. The area is so dry that when strong desert monsoons inundate the desert with water, the soil becomes quickly saturated and large volumes of unabsorbed water flow downhill due to gravity, eroding the colorful layers of soil and sand, creating badlands, gullies and ridgelines, as well as exposing the basalt columns and magmatic dikes. The Little Black Mountains, as other geological wonders, reveal the eons-long processes that have created the spectacular shapes, colors and sizes of landscapes we see today.