Fish & Owl Canyons

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
.
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,016
So we started out at 4:00 AM on Thursday April 9 to drive down to Cedar Mesa. After stopping for gas and breakfast in Hanksville we made it the Kane Gulch Ranger Station.
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After picking up our permit we headed to the Fish & Owl Trail Head. From the Ranger Station it's a mile further south on the highway and then you make a left on to a dirt road that was well marked. It was five miles on the dirt road and was just fine for any car.

After getting our packs on we were off!
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After months of asking about which canyon to go down, debating with myself and finally asking the boys we decided to go down Owl. From the trail head the canyon rim was only about 1/4 mile. It did take a bit of searching to find the entry point, but nothing too difficult.
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I have to say I really enjoyed the descent into Owl Creek Canyon. It was mildly challenging but not difficult with some great views of the canyon.
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On your way down there is one small ruin under a rock overhang. If you're looking for it, it's easy to find.
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After examining that ruin we descended further.
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Finally reaching a large, well preserved ruin.
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There is a registry at the ruin and after flipping through I found BCP's very own @ben cowan
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Then it was down to the canyon floor, which was well marked by cairns.
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A few miles down canyon we stopped for lunch and to play in the water.
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The early start, six hours in the car and the heat were all starting to weigh down on us, so we starting looking for campsites.
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After going to bed I heard the canyon's name sake for most of the night.
The next morning it was back on the trail.
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Nevill's Arch
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Almost to the bottom of Owl Canyon
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Confluence of Fish and Owl Canyons.
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I was hoping to drop packs here and continue down and find the Watchtower ruin, but a few hours in the heat seemed to ruin everyone's sense of adventure and desire to explore, so up Fish Canyon we go.
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The bottom of both canyons are completely dry and believing this loop to be about 16 miles (based on everything I had read) we planned on hiking to about mile 12 and setting up camp. This would give us an easy last day.
We set up camp off the trail a ways in a nice stand of Cottonwoods.
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Last day - on the trail again.
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The beaver have built a nice dam in the creek.
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This was a tough spot. The trail continues here, but you've got to get up this 4-5 foot ledge.
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Shortly after getting up this ledge you'll start going up the canyon wall with a series of switchbacks that were steep with some exposure, but not difficult. Finally arriving at a large rock that you climb over and out of the canyon.

Here's a good view of it.
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Most of these boys went right up, packs on, no problem.

After climbing out of the canyon you've got 1.5 miles back to the trail head.
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As I said earlier, everything I had read about this hike, (including what the guy at the Ranger Station told me), said the loop was 16 miles. Well, my phone died at 18.5 miles. That was before beginning the climb out, so I'm estimating the actual distance of this loop to be closer to 21 miles.

After getting back to the cars we drove back to Hanksville and enjoyed a great burger at Stan's Burger Shack before finishing the drive back to Pleasant Grove.

EDIT: Spelling & grammar

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Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,844
Looks like a nice trip. Haven't been down there in a lot of years......looks like a well worn trail now...
 

Eugene

Member
Joined
Mar 13, 2012
Messages
139
Did this one about 10 years ago but the other way around. The climb down going the other way is a bit tricky. In fact I fell and busted my behind a bit on the way in. Did you go down further after the confluence? There are a few ruins up on the cliffs a ways down - I believe on the left side??
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
.
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,016
Looks like a nice trip. Haven't been down there in a lot of years......looks like a well worn trail now...
It was a pretty well worn trail. There was a good stretch coming up Fish that we had to do some route finding.
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
.
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,016
Did this one about 10 years ago but the other way around. The climb down going the other way is a bit tricky. In fact I fell and busted my behind a bit on the way in. Did you go down further after the confluence? There are a few ruins up on the cliffs a ways down - I believe on the left side??
Unfortunately, no. I believe you are correct on the left and if I understand your correctly, that is the Watchtower ruin.
 

Ben

Member
Joined
Sep 12, 2014
Messages
1,873
you said the canyon bottoms were dry. where did you see water.
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
.
Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
1,016
you said the canyon bottoms were dry. where did you see water.
From above the arch through the bottom 2 miles of Fish and the top of Fish was dry. Everywhere else there was water running in the stream.
 

Vegan.Hiker

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2014
Messages
2,094
Nice report Ned. Looks like a really beautiful area, particularly that spot near the cascade where you guys took a break. Looks like the boys had a great time.
 

Wanderlust073

Member
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Joined
Oct 30, 2016
Messages
838
I don't know how I missed this TR before I went, but I'm glad to see verification of the 21 miles I tracked on this loop...
 

gnwatts

Member
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Joined
May 19, 2012
Messages
1,847
Nice report. It looks like everyone had a good time..
 
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