5 days in Utah Canyons

Timharper89

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Jan 6, 2016
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I am planning a trip for myself and three buddies to Utah, Arizona, and Colorado the last week in April and the first week in May. We would like to include a 5 day backpack loop in Southern Utah Canyons. We are new to backpacking as this will be the first trip for 2 of us and the other two only have done a few backpack trips. We have experience with long day hikes and two of us have military background with navigation skills. Are there any suggestions where to go to see and experience the most in the area? I have been contemplating the Lean-To to Youngs loop through Dark Canyon but wonder if it will be a bit much for us. We don't necessarily want a walk in the park, but we don't want to die in the desert :p. It seems to be hard to find information about loops in the canyons. Everything is an out and back or requires a shuttle or would only take a couple days. We would prefer not to do either of the above if at all possible, and we want to get the backpacking experience of 4-5 nights of carrying our own gear and setting up each night. Any Ideas/suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance!
Tim
 

Nick

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Aug 9, 2007
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Welcome to BCP!

I would definitely not suggest doing something like the Dark Canyon/Youngs/Lean To area for for first time or very limited experience backpackers. That's some tough country out there. If you don't at least have a little experience with getting your pack and gear dialed in, it could be miserable or worse. I think you'd be better served hitting a general area and mixing up your days. Maybe do 1-2 night trip mixed in with some day hikes in the area. You'll probably get more variety and it'll be much more forgiving than committing to a 5 day trip if there are any problems.
 

Timharper89

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Jan 6, 2016
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Welcome to BCP!

I would definitely not suggest doing something like the Dark Canyon/Youngs/Lean To area for for first time or very limited experience backpackers. That's some tough country out there. If you don't at least have a little experience with getting your pack and gear dialed in, it could be miserable or worse. I think you'd be better served hitting a general area and mixing up your days. Maybe do 1-2 night trip mixed in with some day hikes in the area. You'll probably get more variety and it'll be much more forgiving than committing to a 5 day trip if there are any problems.
We don't want to run into a ton of hikers. Do you have suggestions? We really want to get the "roughin' it" experience. I feel two days doesn't quite do that. We also want to explore and get a sense of adventure. The youngs/lean-to loop sounded perfect aside from it being so rough. swimming holes, ruins, boulders, minor climbing, etc. Do you know of any routes that would be similar but less rugged while avoiding crowds? Or is that asking too much for novices? We will be stopping for overnighters on the way to get the hang of everything and find out what doesn't work.
 

BJett

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May 3, 2013
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It might be too early to get into Dark Canyon in late April, not sure what the snow conditions are like but I've heard mid-late May is more typical.
I always swear by the Death Hollow area as a great intro to desert backpacking. lots of options, mostly shuttles but you could probably get someone to help you with that. I've never had a problem. I'll be in So Utah about the same time, I always spend 2-3 days in there to get my desert legs back.
 

Timharper89

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Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
7
It might be too early to get into Dark Canyon in late April, not sure what the snow conditions are like but I've heard mid-late May is more typical.
I always swear by the Death Hollow area as a great intro to desert backpacking. lots of options, mostly shuttles but you could probably get someone to help you with that. I've never had a problem. I'll be in So Utah about the same time, I always spend 2-3 days in there to get my desert legs back.
Shuttles are expensive, and I don't know why, but walking through cold water for three days doesn't sound that exciting.
 

Timharper89

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Joined
Jan 6, 2016
Messages
7
It might be too early to get into Dark Canyon in late April, not sure what the snow conditions are like but I've heard mid-late May is more typical.
I always swear by the Death Hollow area as a great intro to desert backpacking. lots of options, mostly shuttles but you could probably get someone to help you with that. I've never had a problem. I'll be in So Utah about the same time, I always spend 2-3 days in there to get my desert legs back.
And isn't it heavy with poison ivy? One of my friends went to the hospital once he got it so bad. But I think someone was burning it in the fire, so may not be that big of an issue.
 

BJett

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May 3, 2013
Messages
528
well then, good luck!
 
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