Last minute advice needed!


New Member
Oct 3, 2013
Hi all,

I've flown over from the UK to the US to embark on a 2 week trip around the Southwest with a friend. I've done a lot of this before on many different occasions - Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce, GC,Antelope Canyon, Coyote Buttes South, etc. So our aim was to try and do a few different things this time, and do that end I had lined up:

-the Subway in Zion
-Coyote Gulch
-Kanarra Creek
-a slot canyon in the Escalante
-and a backpacking trip into the Maze of Canyonlands.

Now, our trip to the Maze was going to be by boat service. We've just been told that even if the government shutdown is resolved and the park re-opens, it will be too late to resume service - so our 3 day/2 night trip in the Maze is off.

We don't have long at all to come up with an alternative plan now (am in LA now and trip begins today) so I thought I'd see if anyone had any good ideas for something for a couple of days in Utah or Nevada that's similarly remote/long/etc. And thought I'd give BackcountryPost a try! Any suggestions at all would be greatly appreciated - just looking to do something a bit more out there and not a small day hike in a NP (if they're even re-opened in time).

Thanks in advance!



Adventure Guru
Jan 20, 2012
Hmm- In LA and going to Southern Utah.
Cathedral Gorge State Park in Nevada is pretty cool.
Kanarra Creek near Cedar City, UT would most likely be open
You could probably hit up some of the slot canyons in Escalante, but that may be subject to change
Some North Wash slots might work
Oak Creek Canyon near Sedona, AZ (?)
Snow Canyon State Park, north of St George, UT is open
Some slots in the North Wash, or getting over to the San Rafael Swell would definitely be open
If you stopped at Goblin Valley State park, they could direct you to a few

I'm sure some others on here have other recommendations as well.


Oct 1, 2012
Since you're going to be in the Escalante area, you might want to try backpacking in Cathedral Valley in Capitol Reef. It will be remote, spectacular, and about 2 hours from Escalante. I don't know what permits are needed but the area is so lightly used you can probably get one last minute. Capitol Reef is the least visited national park in Utah and I have a feeling that even thought they are "closed" you can probably get in that one easily. Just be advised that if anything goes wrong, you need to be able to get yourself out.

Oh yes, my apologies for our inept government. Please don't revoke our independence, we'll try to elect better officials next time.


Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
Jun 7, 2012
Grand Staircase is BIG!!

Check out some things down the Skutumpah Road, just past cannonville. Willis Creek is a really nice really beautiful hike. Round Valley draw is fun if you don't mind a little chimney/down climbing.

There are endless opportunities down the Hole in the Rock Road. Coyote Gulch like you mentioned is nice. Willow Gulch further down is stupid amazing, the dry forks are fun, it really just goes on and on.

Drive up through Boulder Utah, and the Burr Trail, and drive down the Wolverine Loop, there are a bunch of great hiking and backpacking opportunities through there as well.

Maybe after you've spent a week in GSENM, the parks will be back open? You could very easily spend two full weeks amongst the different parts of GSENM.

I apologize for our inept government. It's ridiculous that it has come to this.


Mar 3, 2013
Willow Gulch, Zebra Cyn, Death Hollow, Escalante River, Coral Pink Sand Dunes, Paranuweep. Coyote, Maze may have a permit/closed problem. Butler Wash and ruins/petroglyphs. Neon, Eygpt, etc. A lot still accessible. Weather can still be iffy in S Utah.


Aug 9, 2007
That super sucks that all the parks are closed for your visit, but like others have said, there is SO much more to see. Just head pretty much anywhere there isn't a national park in the 'grand circle' or whatever they call it. Escalante, The Swell, Cedar Mesa, etc. Sorry it's not more specific but there are just so many options. Fear not my friend, your trip will still be awesome. National Parks are overrated compared to all the gems to be found outside their boundaries.
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