Grand Gulch Pt 1 - Slickhorn 3rd to Trail Fork loop

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fossana

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Jan 11, 2018
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Start/end: Slickhorn Canyon 3rd fork trailhead (could be done in either direction). Marked as Slickhorn Canyon #6 on BLM map.
Mileage: ~10.5 miles
Difficulty: class 2
Navigation: Map/GPS may be useful. No signage in the canyons.
Filterable water: seasonal
Designation: Grand Gulch Wilderness Area
Fees: $2 per person per day, or $5 for 7 days (self-service day use permits)
Nearest town/gas: Mexican Hat or Blanding, UT
Date hiked: 11 May 2019
Notes: 1.2 miles of dirt road required unless you shuttle


Approximate Route
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Trip Report
My Grand Gulch backpacking trip was canceled due to rain, and it had been a long week of late nights to support the managed database launch at work. I knew the following week would be crunch time for the next big product launch, and if I didn't get some backcountry time over the weekend I might metaphorically kill someone. More rain was predicted near Zion, but Grand Gulch looked reasonable. That evening I threw together my gear and headed out. I stopped around 1am and camped just past Capitol Reef. After breakfast in Hanksville, I rolled into the Grand Gulch area late morning. The Kane Gulch ranger station lot was packed, so I decided to check out Slickhorn for some solitude.

I parked at the Third Fork trailhead and headed downcanyon. Ruins in Slickhorn (as least advertised ones) aren't as plentiful as Grand Gulch proper, but neither are the crowds. With the recent rains, I didn't need to worry about running out of water. At times it looked like it was going to rain, but never did. I saw not a single person in the canyons nor on the road.


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If you look closely you can see granaries along the prominent, continuous ledge in the first photo.
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Bob

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Mar 3, 2013
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Nice .... Slickhorn is one I've been trying for many years to do..... Just doesn't get done
 

Titans

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Aug 18, 2018
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Glad you got into the wilderness. It’s a scenic canyon and the Larkspur is beautiful. What other loop hikes did you have in mind for that day? It’s lower mileage than you usually like, but this loop would be one we could do next time. Thanks for sharing.
 
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Jackson

I like to go outside.
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May 31, 2015
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I saw not a single person in the canyons nor on the road.
Sounds just like my time there a few years ago. No people in 3 days. Wonderful place, despite the relative lack of ruins. Great to see it again through your trip report! Thanks!
 

fossana

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Jan 11, 2018
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Glad you got into the wilderness. It’s a scenic canyon and the Larkspur is beautiful. What other loop hikes did you have in mind for that day? It’s lower mileage than you usually like, but this loop would be one we could do next time. Thanks for sharing.
I didn't have much time to plan this time, so grabbed what info I had laying around. That was the Slickhorn loop, and the Grand Gulch tributaries. I had done Bullet to Sheiks, and Fish to Owl loops on prior trips. Those are more like 15-17 miles.
 

LarryBoy

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I didn't have much time to plan this time, so grabbed what info I had laying around. That was the Slickhorn loop, and the Grand Gulch tributaries. I had done Bullet to Sheiks, and Fish to Owl loops on prior trips. Those are more like 15-17 miles.
That's literally how every single one of my slickhorn trips came together. Except with Kelsey books and no maps :)
 

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