Non-technical 1-2 night backpacking w dogs and kids - Escalante-ish area in April?

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Mayland

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Jan 28, 2019
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Hi everyone,
Looking for some recommendations for great non-technical 1-2 night backpacking trips with 2 dogs and 3 kids (ages 16, 14, 9) in the April 6-10 week. Somewhere in the 15-25 mile range would be good.
We're thinking of camping a couple of nights along the Hole in the Rock Road to do some day hikes, so something off HITRR or nearby-ish (Burr Trail, Cedar Mesa, etc) would be great.
Not looking for serious scrambling or exposure or for deep wading experiences. Trips we've done in the past include Grand Canyon corridor, GC Hermit-Tonto, Canyonlands Needles, Canyonlands Salt Creek-Peekaboo - we loved Salt Creek the most I think b/c it was more remote and the combination of scenery and history was just incredible.

Some possible ideas so far are-
-Cedar Mesa Fish/Owl loop (but the climb into/out of Fish canyon might be difficult with the dogs - is that the only real scramble section?)
-Golden Cathedral via Fence Canyon
-Broken Bow arch (this is only a couple of miles - and sounds likely to be deep wading beyond it?)
-Escalante river trail

Would be grateful for any thoughts on these or other possibilities in the area,
thanks!
 

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Wanderlust073

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Fish Owl is a rope on one end and more than one scramble on the other. Can’t see dogs pulling it off. Can’t see hauling bags of dog poo around for days either, but that’s me lol.
 

canadug

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Honestly those are not great areas for dogs. Possibly very hot and then of course there is the issue of needing to carry a lot of water. Best of luck.
 

Bob

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Better check before cedar Mesa.... Could be dog restrictions... I don't know. Like wander says can't see it.... rpugh. Personally, dogs don't belong in the canyons on cedarmesa
 

canadug

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Dogs are not allowed in certain parts of Cedar Mesa and of course not allowed in the backcountry in almost all national parks.
 
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Ben

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I had a great time with my dog in the canyons on Cedar Mesa a few years ago.
We did Fish and Owl canyons, and exited the crack without a rope. Not that a hand line wouldn't be helpful for children, or any one who wanted it. We just passed the dog up from the person at the bottom to the person at the top.
https://backcountrypost.com/threads/fish-and-owl-canyons-cedar-mesa-ut.3627/
There are some pictures in the comments of this thread that show the crack at the end.
 

RyanP

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I agree that dogs don't belong in the Cedar Mesa canyons. Did you bring your dogs on all those other trips?
 
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Mayland

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Thanks everyone for the replies about cedar Mesa. Ben and Wanderlust thanks for the info on the route. Sounds like a great hike and I think one of our dogs would have no problem - the crack section might be a challenge for the other one (and for me to be honest!), going to think on this all and re-read the trip reports.

any suggestions for any 1-2 night trips around HITRR would also be super. Is the golden cathedral route more involved than fish/owl? I’ve read several trip reports but hard to tell - and I think it depends on water levels.

just wanted to note that we are definitely not planning to take the dogs anywhere they aren’t allowed! Cedar Mesa allows dogs on overnight permits in Fish/Owl, Mule (also sounds great but prob a little shorter than we are looking for) and a couple of other canyons but not in any that feed into grand gulch. The trails we noted above nearer Escalante also allow dogs. We didn’t take the dogs on our past trips (not allowed on any of those routes!) - left them at home with a dog sitter. Since we plan a few car camping/day hike nights this time and a shorter backpacking trip, we thought it would work out to take them.

appreciate everyone’s suggestions and advice!
 

John Morrow

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BLM brochure for Fish and Owl states this: Pets must be kept on a leash at all times. Pets must be kept out of springs, pot holes and other natural water sources. Pets are not allowed in ruins.

Unfortunately I've never seen leashes on dogs in those canyons and almost always taken right up to and in ruins. That will ruin it for responsible users. However, when it comes to dense archaeological areas like all the Cedar Mesa canyons, I believe dogs to not belong.
 
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canadug

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Sadly, I have saw way too many awful dog owners who have let their dogs wander into natural water holes and other water sources......Leashes non-existent. They ruin it for the few respectable dog owners there are.
 

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Mayland

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BLM brochure for Fish and Owl states this: Pets must be kept on a leash at all times. Pets must be kept out of springs, pot holes and other natural water sources. Pets are not allowed in ruins.

Unfortunately I've never seen leashes on dogs in those canyons and almost always taken right up to and in ruins. That will ruin it for responsible users. However, when it comes to dense archaeological areas like all the Cedar Mesa canyons, I believe dogs to not belong.
thanks, yes, we read the BLM info online and would keep them out of water and away from ruins. We’ve backpacked with our dogs nearer home (Georgia) and always keep them on leash - my husband has a harness that straps around his waist that he clips the leashes to. I do get the concerns but we are practicing and teaching our kids to LNT and that includes leaving no canine traces.
 

RyanP

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It's good to hear there actually exists a responsible dog owner in the backcountry!
 

Mayland

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We have NOT done Little Death Hollow-Wolverine yet, but it's on my list for the future and seems like it might be a good fit with your situation. I remember seeing some info here on BCP about it, plus this website provides a lot of helpful info: http://www.girlonahike.com/2017/06/backpacking-little-death.html (FYI, I don't know the woman from Girl on a Hike but her site has a lot of good ideas.)
Thank you Janice! This looks fab and like the ideal hike for us (unless there’s too much water). I also read about Hackberry over on cottonwood Rd and that sounds good too. Sadly, we are very likely to cancel our trip. While the backcountry days should be fine, we would be driving over from Atlanta during our kids spring break and that’s probably not a good idea right now :( thank you for the suggestion though - I’m hoping we can get there next year...
 

Janice

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Thank you Janice! This looks fab and like the ideal hike for us (unless there’s too much water). I also read about Hackberry over on cottonwood Rd and that sounds good too. Sadly, we are very likely to cancel our trip. While the backcountry days should be fine, we would be driving over from Atlanta during our kids spring break and that’s probably not a good idea right now :( thank you for the suggestion though - I’m hoping we can get there next year...
We're in the same situation - no April backpacking trip for us, either. Backcountry would be great, but getting there from Michigan would not. :(
 

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