Cedar Mesa Utah Trip. Conditions? Water?

garyhost

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Jun 17, 2021
Messages
6
I'm heading out to Cedar Mesa soon. Should arrive in the area around 6/28 with the next week or two at my disposal. I'll have my dog with me as well.

I've never been to the area so I'm curious about potable water. I've consulted a few books and reviewed the USGS and BLM websites but still don't have certain points on the map to collect drinkable water. Most of what I've read is inconclusive after mid-June or otherwise states that the authors haven't ever observed the area in the off-season.

I have filtration but still would prefer to get to the cleanest available sources.

I expect it to be very hot and plan to cut my time short and head north to Ashley/Wasatch area for the rest of my time if/when it ends up being unsafe. I'll have 12 gallons of water with me as a backup so I'm not so concerned for the first couple of days.

Can anyone familiar with the area help me with more information on where to find drinkable water?

Another thing is the weather. While I spent the first half of my life cooking under the Texas sun, I don't think I've ever experienced the intense and dry heat that I expect in Cedar Mesa. Is this something I can reasonably expect to overcome with wise planning and careful shade breaks during the sun's apex? Or am I foolish to think I'll be okay just staying in the shade in the afternoons? Another wrinkle: how about my dog? I know that however well I adjust to the heat, it will be much harder for him. Is this a terrible time to be bringing a dog to Cedar Mesa even if he's only out in the morning and evening?

I plan to head up into the mountainous national forests after Cedar Mesa so heading up there earlier than planned won't ruin the trip if it turns out to be the safer move.
 

IntrepidXJ

ADVENTR
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Jan 17, 2012
Messages
3,368
I can't tell you what water is going to be link at the end of June, but it was already very dry on Cedar Mesa this spring and we haven't had much, if any rain, since then. I suspect water will be tough to come by, especially since we've been breaking heat records this week on the Colorado Plateau!
 

Bob Wire

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2013
Messages
271
I'm heading out to Cedar Mesa soon. Should arrive in the area around 6/28 with the next week or two at my disposal. I'll have my dog with me as well.

I've never been to the area so I'm curious about potable water. I've consulted a few books and reviewed the USGS and BLM websites but still don't have certain points on the map to collect drinkable water. Most of what I've read is inconclusive after mid-June or otherwise states that the authors haven't ever observed the area in the off-season.

I have filtration but still would prefer to get to the cleanest available sources.

I expect it to be very hot and plan to cut my time short and head north to Ashley/Wasatch area for the rest of my time if/when it ends up being unsafe. I'll have 12 gallons of water with me as a backup so I'm not so concerned for the first couple of days.

Can anyone familiar with the area help me with more information on where to find drinkable water?

Another thing is the weather. While I spent the first half of my life cooking under the Texas sun, I don't think I've ever experienced the intense and dry heat that I expect in Cedar Mesa. Is this something I can reasonably expect to overcome with wise planning and careful shade breaks during the sun's apex? Or am I foolish to think I'll be okay just staying in the shade in the afternoons? Another wrinkle: how about my dog? I know that however well I adjust to the heat, it will be much harder for him. Is this a terrible time to be bringing a dog to Cedar Mesa even if he's only out in the morning and evening?

I plan to head up into the mountainous national forests after Cedar Mesa so heading up there earlier than planned won't ruin the trip if it turns out to be the safer move.
Can you survive? Yes. Will it be much fun in the upper 90’s? No. Are there better places this time of year. Absolutely!
 

fossana

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Joined
Jan 11, 2018
Messages
584
I would encourage you to at least wait until the fall, especially with your dog. The drought situation is southern UT is among the worst it has ever been, and I'm seeing water sources at 9500' dry up already. The water on Cedar Mesa tends to be spotty unless it's right after a snow melt or rain.
 
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Rockskipper

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Jun 11, 2017
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Please don't take your dog if you go. I have two and get them shaved in the spring and this heat we're currently experiencing is brutal, especially for them. I'm actually heading north soon. I'm in the Colorado mtns right now and it's hot here. I just came from Utah. Cedar Mesa will be very hot. Like @fossana says, wait till fall. Lots of nice cool places to go now that you'll enjoy and not worry about you and your dog having heat stroke.
 

Rockskipper

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I don’t mean to be dramatic, but a person can die In about four hours without water in this kind of heat. I remember a number of years ago when a teenaged mountain biker got separated from his dad and brother up in the Sand Flats above Moab. He didn’t last very long and it wasn’t even as hot as some of the temperatures in Southeast Utah have been lately. They’re breaking records daily.

I wandered all over Cedar Mesa in many different seasons and it’s not a place with much water even at its best.
 

wildwesthikes

Moronic Kitton Mittons
Joined
Sep 22, 2020
Messages
7
"Can anyone familiar with the area help me with more information on where to find drinkable water?"

A: There won't be any.

Rockskipper is not being overdramatic, I promise you. I have been to Grand Gulch in August - it's no joke. And I live & hike through Phoenix summers. Cedar Mesa on top is a little bit cooler - but not by much. Sun exposure is what will get you, not so much the ambient air temp, unless you're out there a long time.

On that trip, the only "water sources" were a couple filter clogging mudholes that were the result of Monsoon storms. As you'd be arriving several weeks prior to when storms typically begin - the hottest & driest season of the year in the SW, you will probably be miserable unless you keep it to short day hikes starting 5am and ending by 10am while carrying around a gallon of water per hike. I'd advise against backpacking out there in summer unless you are (a) masochist and/or (b) area expert who is also masochist.
 
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