The Maze: Spanish Bottom to Water Canyon

Discussion in 'Backpacking' started by Nick, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

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    Are you starting in the morning at the Maze Overlook or later in the day? Like are you car camping there at one of the designated sites the night before or driving in first. That will make a big difference on your schedule.

    Your first and second nights are both dry camps. I would personally avoid that and rework your itinerary to coincide better with water availability. If you get an early star

    1) Yes, backpacking at the dollhouse campsites is off limits. You also have to stay a mile from all roads.
    2) It wasn't that bad and we took the long way. It's shorter to drop in at Chimney Rock. If you're reasonably experienced and in decent shape, it won't be a big deal so long as you don't leave camp at noon. I would not recommend camping by The Plug. Too close to a road for one, and no water. Camp closer to springs and your trip will be more enjoyable.
     
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  2. Chuck the Mauler

    Chuck the Mauler Formally known as "kcwins"

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    FYI when we were there is past April we ran into the park rangers at the Dollhouse. There are 3 sites there and because previous reservations had been canceled by someone else, they allowed us to stay there. Per their recommendation we stayed at site #3. The only stipulation was that you have to pack EVERYTHING out with you. Camping at the Dollhouse is highly recommended (if that is a realistic option) but a trip back down to the Spanish Bottom wouldn't be a big deal. You can have a fire there too.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2017
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  3. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

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    You would have to have a river spec firepan to have a fire at Spanish bottom.

    And sure, you could backpack camp in a car site but why would you want to? Like Chuck alluded to, you must pack out human waste if you do that. You also have no water source and a road running through camp. I'd prefer just about anywhere in the backcountry.
     
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  4. Chuck the Mauler

    Chuck the Mauler Formally known as "kcwins"

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    Nick, you're spot on about the firepan. We had one from our trip down the river to get to the Spanish Bottom where our trip started and ended.

    Not sure what "road" you're referring to? Site #3 is a half mile back from the road and sites #1 and #2. Yes there is a two track that leads to the site, but nothing "through" it. I thought the spot was spectacular.


    DSC04886-2.JPG DSC04925.JPG

    http://backcountrypost.com/threads/canyonlands-np-part-4-of-4.5857/
     
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  5. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

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    Yes, that road. Not to mention having other campsites nearby. To each their own, but when I backpack, I want to get away from that stuff. I've car camped at 3. Nice spot.
     
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  6. Kullaberg63

    Kullaberg63 Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Moab
    @frahminator , first determine where all the water sources are. Then plan you route, and be ready to adjust along the way.

    Here are some you can consider: Water Canyon spring, Shot Canyon springs. The Maze proper as in below the Overlook and down Horse and near the Harvest scene. The Colorado (with special treatment). Jasper above the big final drop. Etc.

    The dry areas are the roads and all their camps, the Dollhouse and most of the hike over to Water. All the ridges.
     
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  7. frahminator

    frahminator New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Thanks everyone for the responses!

    We are still debating where to start. One of our 5 group members really wants to experience the 4WD aspects of the trip. I'm more of the backpacking mindset, but appreciate the idea of having a water supply (or two) that we don't have to lug around.

    Debating three options now:

    1) Two 4WD vehicles into Chimney Rock, leave one there with food/water restock. Take the other 4WD to Dollhouse. We'd likely head up to Water Canyon for a night, back to Chimney Rock for supplies and then up Pete's Mesa trail to the "below the Maze Overlook" spring the next night. Then, would head down either back the same way, or go a bit west and come back through The Maze like you did.

    2) Ditch the 4WD idea and start from down by Flint Flat, spending the first night at Lou's Spring. 2nd night at Dollhouse, 3rd night at Maze Overlook. The water outlooks dries up there... do we try to get back to Lou's Spring for the 4th night, or are we pushing our luck?

    3) Convince the group to boat down to Spanish Bottom and copy your route :)
     
  8. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

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    Thoughts...

    Option 1:
    Getting vehicles to the Land of Standing Rocks is tough and takes a long time even for experienced drivers with the right kind of short wheel base vehicles. I just did it again back in October and it was a good reminder of what a pain in the ass it can be. I did quite a bit of damage to my vehicle too. (My 2016 trip: http://backcountrypost.com/threads/the-maze-iii.6355/)

    The first time I went out there we did a 4WD/backpack combo (2011 trip: http://backcountrypost.com/threads/canyonlands-the-maze-spring-2011.45/). We drove out to Standing Rock campsite and camped there a night, then parked at Chimney Rock TH and went backpacking in The Maze/Pictograph Fork area for a night. After that we went out and spent a couple nights at Dollhouse #3. We had two vehicles so we hiked the confluence trail and Water and Shot Canyon up to Chimney as a one-way day hike of about 11 miles while we were camped in the Dollhouse. The whole trip worked out well and mixing the car camping and backpacking made the nasty drive in more worthwhile.

    Option 2:
    Ugh. That's a hell of a walk down the Flint Trail, all the way out to Golden Stairs and then all the way out to The Fins just to your first water source. And Dollhouse to Maze Overlook in a day is really long if you go through Shot and Water. You'd be better off coming in from Hite and parking before Teapot Canyon around Waterhole Flat. Walk the Dollhouse road out to Mother and Child and then divert into The Fins. That'll ease your approach and it doesn't involve significant off road difficulties. You could still make a lolliloop out of it by going into the Maze via Jasper Ridge and out at South Fork Horse or The Plug to get back to the road. Going back to Lou's would be way out of the way regardless of which spot you started at.

    Option 3:
    For backpacking, that's the best way to go in my opinion.
     
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  9. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

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    One more thought - going down the Flint Trail to the Maze Overlook isn't even close to as nasty as getting to the Land of Standing Rocks. It's still very much a high clearance 4WD route, but much easier. If you want to do a hybrid, drive out there and start your backpacking trip. And enjoy a night or two at one of the Maze Overlook campsites at each end!
     
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  10. Kullaberg63

    Kullaberg63 Member

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    I'm pleased it still poses considerable planning challenges to reach this place!
     
  11. frahminator

    frahminator New Member

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    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    That it does. We've done a multi-day backpack in The Needles and a couple multi-day backpacking trips in the Grand Canyon. This one is a grand daddy when it comes to proper planning. I greatly respect the challenge ahead.
     
  12. frahminator

    frahminator New Member

    Messages:
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    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Nick - thanks for the note about Maze Overlook. We had discussed the option of backpacking from there as well. Will put it back on the table for discussion.
     
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  13. frahminator

    frahminator New Member

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    Location:
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    @Nick - one from our group has a "2016 F-150 w/ 4WD" that he'd prefer to remain in pristine condition (it's his wife's primary vehicle, so he has "use it, not abuse it" privileges ;)). Would a truck like this stand a chance getting to the Maze Overlook and back? Would going in via Hite route help?
     
  14. Nick

    Nick Post 'em if you got 'em!

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    I can't speak for his driving skills, but I did it in my 2015 F-150 this past October without any damage. Good driving and occasional spotting is important in a couple of spots, but for the most part it's not bad. The road to the Land of Standing Rocks is a whole different story. The Flint Trail isn't going to be any worse on the truck than coming in from Hite.
     
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