Moonshine Wash/Colonnade Arch questions

RyanP

Formerly bob32
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
304
I am planning a 2-day trip and would like to hike Moonshine Wash one of the days (I just did Little Wild Horse Canyon last week---2nd slot ever!---and it got me hooked). Anyway, I saw a trip report for Colonnade Arch nearby, which looks like a potential 2nd hike to do on the trip. I have a few questions about these two hikes:

1. I can bring either my Subaru Outback or my minivan. Normally I prefer the minivan on trips because I like to sleep in the back. Can I make it to Moonshine Wash in the minivan? How close can I get to Colonnade Arch in the minivan? How close can I make it in the Outback?

2. Assuming I can't get very close to Colonnade Arch in my vehicle, is it bike-able with a mountain bike? I wouldn't want to do this over a long distance, but I wouldn't mind biking a handful of miles if it's not too rough.

3. Does Moonshine Wash hold much water? Does anyone know if it currently has much water? How/where do you find info on this? When I hiked Little Wildhorse last week, it had water past my waist for a stretch (and I'm 6'3''). I didn't mind this much, but if I should expect similar or more water in Moonshine Wash, I may push to do this trip earlier or not at all (because I'm worried November might be too cold for the wading).

4. I was hoping to do this trip the 2nd week of November. I might be able to push it a couple of weeks earlier if the weather is significantly better If you think it's worth pushing the date up (because the canyon is freezing in Nov. or has ice-cold water, etc.), please let me know.

5. Do I need any special footwear or gear for this hike? I was hoping to just hike it in some old tennis shoes or trail runners (my understanding is that it is a beginner-friendly hike with a few easy short scrambles). Do I need neoprene socks or a wetsuit?

Thanks! If anyone has any other tips for these hikes or suggestions for better hikes in the area (for example, I may do Horseshoe Canyon instead of Colonnade Arch), please let me know!
 

Nick

-
.
Joined
Aug 9, 2007
Messages
12,934
Moonshine/Colonnade is really far from LWH. It's also light years different from LWH. Being new to this, you should seriously work your way up to Moonshine by doing other non-tech canyons first. Moonshine is super close to being technical. It has spicy downclimbs that some people won't be able to reverse if needed and significantly more challenging navigation challenges. It is not a walk in the park. It is in a super remote area with no one around. You have to be totally self reliant out there. You shouldn't do it without more experience. With that said...

1. I can bring either my Subaru Outback or my minivan. Normally I prefer the minivan on trips because I like to sleep in the back. Can I make it to Moonshine Wash in the minivan? How close can I get to Colonnade Arch in the minivan? How close can I make it in the Outback?

Not that close with either. The minivan is okay on the main road if there is no damage, but there usually is some damage. Bring the Subaru. You can get a little closer with a high clearance 4WD vehicle but I'm not sure if Subaru fits the bill in this case.

2. Assuming I can't get very close to Colonnade Arch in my vehicle, is it bike-able with a mountain bike? I wouldn't want to do this over a long distance, but I wouldn't mind biking a handful of miles if it's not too rough.

No. Once you're on that side road off of the main road, just walk. You could maybe cut off like a half mile or so but it's not worth it. Just walk. If you can't make the main road in your Subaru, go somewhere else.

3. Does Moonshine Wash hold much water? Does anyone know if it currently has much water? How/where do you find info on this? When I hiked Little Wildhorse last week, it had water past my waist for a stretch (and I'm 6'3''). I didn't mind this much, but if I should expect similar or more water in Moonshine Wash, I may push to do this trip earlier or not at all (because I'm worried November might be too cold for the wading).

It can hold some water and it can me muddy as shit. It changes from flood to flood. You don't find info on it unless you talk to someone who went there the day before because not that many people go there. If it's rained in the last week or so, plan on a bit of wading and sloppy mud.

4. I was hoping to do this trip the 2nd week of November. I might be able to push it a couple of weeks earlier if the weather is significantly better If you think it's worth pushing the date up (because the canyon is freezing in Nov. or has ice-cold water, etc.), please let me know.

Recent conditions matter, not so much the month.

5. Do I need any special footwear or gear for this hike? I was hoping to just hike it in some old tennis shoes or trail runners (my understanding is that it is a beginner-friendly hike with a few easy short scrambles). Do I need neoprene socks or a wetsuit?

I completely disagree with this being a beginner-friendly canyon. It's hard to imagine conditions that would warrant a wetsuit though.
 

RyanP

Formerly bob32
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
304
Wow, thanks a lot Nick. I'm kind of embarrassed for the post now, but at the same time I'm glad I asked before just heading out there (to be fair, I'm pretty experienced backpacking/hiking, including some solo off-trail travel, but like I said I'm new to slot canyons). I swear I read in one or two places that Moonshine was a beginner-friendly option. If there's any doubt though, I'll do something else instead. Do you have any recommendations for other beginner-friendly slots? Specifically, I am coming from Denver and wanted to keep this to a 6-hour drive max, so nothing in Escalante/Zion area unfortunately. Otherwise maybe I'll do a quick Moab area hiking trip...
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,545
One benefit of going to Horseshoe Canyon instead of Colonnade Arch is that you should be able to get to the trailhead in your minivan with no problems.
 

regehr

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,475
Hey bob32, I also got kind of tricked by people describing Moonshine as easy (I swear I've read totally nonchalant reports of people taking kids through it) and then was surprised to find a not-at-all easy-looking ~15' downclimb partway through the slot. Also I recall using both high-clearance and 4wd to get somewhat near it. It's a great slot though and the bridge is really neat (and may not be there that many more years).
 

Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
.
Joined
May 5, 2012
Messages
1,722
I'm kind of embarrassed for the post now, but at the same time I'm glad I asked before just heading out there...

No shame in asking the questions. Far better than the alternative of ending up needing a rescue, or worse.
 

RyanP

Formerly bob32
Joined
Mar 1, 2015
Messages
304
So I guess the question I should have asked is, does anyone have any recommendations for beginner-friendly, non-technical slot canyons (other than Little Wild Horse) within 6-7 hours from Denver? Or are there any? Maybe Crack Canyon? If anyone has a recommended ordering for these to progress safely from easier to harder, I'm all ears. (I'd be interested in recommendations/ordering for anywhere in UT, but I am much more likely to actually make it to ones within a half-day drive).
 

regehr

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,475
Just in that same area... Crack is fun and there's a way to bypass the one climbing problem that's pretty easy anyhow. Ding/Dang sound fun but I haven't been there. Cistern/Ramp have one difficult climbing problem (in Ramp) that I'd have been very unhappy about without a belay. Bluejohn is maybe the coolest slot canyon I've visited; you can see almost all of the good stuff by entering below the main slot and walking up to where it gets difficult. Similar situation for Upper Chute / Baptist Draw but I haven't done that yet. In general I've had lots of great hikes visiting technical canyons with kids and wo ropes and just turning around when things get difficult.
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,545
Ding and Dang are a little tricky, especially depending on which direction you go. No ropes required, but a person unfamiliar with canyoneering moves could have some trouble getting through. When I went, there was waist-deep water in a place or two as well.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
Tyler Roost Country: Keg Knoll, Colonnade Arch, Moonshine Wash, Goblin Valley Hiking & Camping 1
Nick Moonshine Wash and Colonnade Arch Hiking & Camping 4
RyanP Moonshine Wash (Sat 3/27-ish) Meet Up (Members Only) 10
Stephanie B Second Journey into The Maze : Moonshine Wash Hiking & Camping 11
DiscGo Moonshine Wash [Video] Hiking & Camping 4
Udink West Fork of Moonshine Wash Hiking & Camping 9
IntrepidXJ Moonshine Wash Hiking & Camping 12
Scott Chandler Easter Weekend Day 2: Moonshine Wash Hiking & Camping 3
regehr moonshine wash conditions General Discussion 14
Nick Moonshine Wash & Keg Knoll Hiking & Camping 13
Aldaron Moonshine Wash Canyoneering 15
Tyler Moonshine Wash 04.11.10 Canyoneering 0
Nick Three Canyon & Moonshine Wash Canyoneering 7
Christian Arscenic, Blarney, Wildhorse Window, Moonshine, Colonnade, A Secret Canyoneering 7
wanderinfinn Three, Moonshine, and Blue John Canyons Canyoneering 9
ADubs Looking for info from anyone who has done the Egypt loop and exited via 25mile wash (Escalante). Trip Planning 3
Stephanie B Old Woman Wash, Three Finger Petroglyphs, and Wild Horse Canyon (Backcountry Fest in the San Rafael Swell) Hiking & Camping 6
J Virgin Springs Canyon Cane Wash Loop Trip Planning 3
balzaccom Comb Ridge and Wash Trip Planning 8
Stephanie B Sixteen Room Ruin and Lower Butler Wash Hiking & Camping 15
cmgz Red Breaks from Harris Wash Canyoneering 13
Nick Beaver Dam Wash Trip Planning 3
Ross High Spur and North Wash Canyoneering 5
George_Washington_Hayduke North Wash Canyoneering: Sawtooth, Bingo, Hog 3, Hog 4 Canyoneering 2
kansas Butler Wash Road Trip Planning 0
C Looking for HCL 1901 Rock in Old Womans Wash Utah Noobs: Introduce yourself! 2
ashleyoutside Angel Cove Canyon - North Wash, Utah Canyoneering 0
Ross Hiking/easy canyoneering partner for Bull Valley Gorge,Sand Wash (Red Cave) & other spots Trip Planning 0
DrNed Black Dragon Wash Trip Planning 8
Desertrat Old Woman Wash Hiking & Camping 2
hatchcanyon Salt Wash Road Off Road 0
ram Bypass My A** ....Tanner Wash, Grand Canyon 2-20-09 Canyoneering 4
uintafly A weekend in North Wash Canyoneering 5
hatchcanyon Salt Wash Photography 0
natylka Backpacking: Hurricane Wash into Coyote Gulch of 26 miles back in May Backpacking 3
hatchcanyon San Rafael Swell - Cane Wash Off Road 4
Scott Chandler Cathedral Wash Hiking & Camping 6
Udink Cottonwood Wash to Nate's Canyon Hiking & Camping 3
Brewhaha Lost Go Pro North Wash 9.1.14 General Discussion 0
Dave Salt Wash field oil leak General Discussion 2
gnwatts Eardley Canyon & Straight Wash Backpacking 11
Udink South Red Wash Hiking & Camping 4
Udink Jackass Wash Hiking & Camping 4
D Harris Wash to Neon Canyon - Escalante Backpacking Backpacking 3
Udink GCNRA, Above LWHC, Temple Wash Hiking & Camping 5
D Harris Wash or other canyons for November Trip Planning 9
Udink Upper Old Woman Wash Hiking & Camping 2
baltocharlie Trip planning: 'tween North Wash and The Needles Trip Planning 3
Dave Cathedral Valley - Middle Desert Wash Trip Planning 11
Udink Ernie Canyon and Iron Wash Loop Hiking & Camping 4

Similar threads

Don't like ads? Become a BCP Supporting Member and kiss them all goodbye. Click here for more info.

Top