Jumpup and Kwagunt Canyons lollipop loop (Kanab Creek Wilderness)


Jan 11, 2018

Yet once again snow blocked access to Bill Hall trailhead, so I had to find a plan B. On the way in I had passed a sign for Kanab Creek Wilderness, so I decided to check it out. The roads to the Jumpup Canyon trailhead were in surprisingly good condition given the horror stories of flat tires I had read about accessing places like Monument Point. I arrived at the cabin the night prior, only to find the small parking lot filled with cars and tents. Fortunately there was a quiet, flat place to camp not far up the road.

In the morning I chatted with the group that had camped at the trailhead about my hike options, as well as my upcoming plans for a Dirty Devil trip. One of them, who turned out to be Bert Fingerhut, mentioned that he had written to prologue to one of the Allen Canyoneering books. I considered driving to Indian Hollow to do a variation on my original plan, but Bert suggested that I explore Jumpup and neighboring canyons instead. Another person recommended continuing in Jumpup Canyon if I liked scambling. I decided to take their advice.

Start/end: Ranger trail #41 trailhead/Jumpup Cabin
Mileage: ~17 miles
Elevation gain: ?
Difficulty: class 3 (a few spots)
Navigation: Map useful since some of the trails/junctions aren't marked. Limited cairns
Filterable water: a few springs, including Jumpup; rest seasonal
Designation: Kanab Creek Wilderness
Fees: none
Nearest town/gas: Fredonia, AZ
Date hiked: 14 Apr 2019

Approximate Route

Trip Report
The trail soon passed a spring, after which the canyon opened up into a wide wash filled with gravel. The walking was easy, but tedious. At ~4 miles the official trail branched onto the Esplanade, but as suggested I stayed in Jumpup for more technically interesting terrain.

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The canyon began to narrow and the scenery improved. There was a little exposure on ledges to bypass pour-offs and climb down a ladder constructed of logs and climbing webbing/cord.
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The canyon, now reminiscent of the best parts of Fish/Owl Canyons on Cedar Mesa, descended down slickrock ledges filled with hanging gardens, frogs, and flowers.
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I consulted the map and decided to head up Kwagunt, then loop back on the esplanade via Ranger trail through Sowats and back to Jumpup. Kwagunt was equally lovely. I didn't have any information, so wasn't 100% sure it would go. Fortunately, there were bypass trails around any pour-offs.
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Near the head of Kwagunt, the esplanade came into view, with small towers and twisting gullies framed by towering striped mesas. I carefully wove my way on solid surfaces to reach Ranger trail.
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Above Sowats Canyon I ran into the group from the trailhead. They asked where I had gone, and the water situation since they were headed down Kwagunt. The trail in and out of Sowats was surprisingly well-maintained (much more so that some Grand Canyon NP trails) with stone steps.
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The sweeping views continued along the esplanade trail. I dropped back into Jumpup Canyon. The warm temps made the 4 mile gravel slog feel longer, but I finally reached the spring for a quick drink of cool water before making the short final hike back to my car.
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Extend that trip.....thru kanab creek to the Colorado and out deer creek .... You won't be dissapointed
Extend that trip.....thru kanab creek to the Colorado and out deer creek .... You won't be dissapointed

Noted, thanks. I just did Deer Creek last weekend, but haven't gotten around to the TR. Also, realizing I posted this on the wrong forum. Oh well.
Noted, thanks. I just did Deer Creek last weekend, but haven't gotten around to the TR. Also, realizing I posted this on the wrong forum. Oh well.
About a day day and half hike along Colorado from deer Creek to kanab creek...
Thanks for another great TR. I really enjoy all your cool trips.......We head down from Vancouver every Spring and I appreciate all the new ideas.
Super to find this website and forums. I'm planning a May 2023 trip to this area. We're hoping the roads will have dried up.
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