Lower Hackberry (GSENM)

Jan 19, 2012
This forum has started me thinking about some 2012 plans so I hope someone can help me out with this one! I would like to break my wife and daughter (she will be three by then) into an easy backpack trip. I have seen hackberry and hiked up a short distance and think it would be fun to hike up a couple miles (2-3) set up a base camp, etc. I have a couple questions
1. Does anyone know the typical biting insect season for Hackberry? I hiked yellow rock in may two years ago and gnats ate my wife alive is this the same in the canyon? Horseflies?
2. I understand cattle are sometimes in the canyon are there good springs for other than the stream for water filtering? How far up canyon from trailhead are these springs?
3. How much of a problem is quicksand?
4. Any other suggestions/thoughts?


Aug 9, 2007
Alright. So I've never been to Hackberry but I've spent a lot of time in the MOneymint, so I'm just giving you my opinions based on that.

I think the biting flies are only really an issue in the peak of summer. Maybe mid-June through August? I've done lots of spring and fall trips to GSENM, as late as early June and as early as Sept. and never had an issue with them. Although a really wet spring I think makes them worse. Mosquitos are a totally different story...

I wouldn't worry too much about cattle and finding filterable water. That's why you pack a filter, right? Springs are awesome if you can find them but pumping downstream from some poop isn't going to hurt anyone. Hell, I spent 3 days at Allsop Lake with Ndheiner drinking unfiltered, unpurified water from a ground spring with cow crap all around it and we were okay. :confused: I even pumped downstream from this: :lol:

Why a water purifier is such a good idea by ibenick, on Flickr

As for quicksand, it's usually just fun stuff from my experience. There have been two times where I was very suddenly swallowed up to the waist though so if you're walking in the river bed, I'd plan on that happening. Just don't leave anything in your pockets. I was walking in an inch of water on what felt like a solid river bed when this happened:

Sunk by ibenick, on Flickr

Last, from what I've heard of Hackberry, I'd pass it up and go do something like the Escalante River Gorge or Willow Gulch with the fam. The Gorge is super easy, really scenic and you start hiking right from the town of Escalante. 3 miles in gets you through a handful of huge, deep bends with 1000 foot walls. Even some rock art and big alcoves to check out along the way. I have several TR's through there if you'd like to take a look.
Jan 19, 2012
Thanks, the main reason hackberry was high on the list was just it's location. I could be at the trailhead in an hour and a half whereas anything in the escalante vicinity is a minimum of three hours and with the road over cedar mtn closed more like 3 1/2 but an extra hour and a half drive may be well worth it for a more enjoyable trip!
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