Salt Creek - All American Man


New Member
Feb 11, 2012

I'm an older hiker (59) and love exploring the Four Corners region and especially Utah. I've hiked to dozens of rock art sites in my day but I really want to see All American Man. It's on my bucket list. The thing is, I don't have the endurance I used to have 10 or 20 years ago. So my question to all you younger guys (and gals) is...what is the easiest way in get to AAM in terms of distance and elevation gain? Should I enter from Peekaboo or from the south. Can you do it in one day or is that pushing it?

Hi Will! Welcome to BackcountryPost. :)

From Peekaboo, assuming you can drive all the way to the Peekaboo camp, you're looking at about 15 miles one way. Or if they aren't allowing vehicles past the gate like usual, 18 miles one way. So most definitely a bit much for a day hike. That route is pretty easy hiking though. The most difficult sections are between Angel Arch Canyon and SC3 and then it's a bit of a scramble getting through the crack right before All American Man. I'm not sure but I think Miss Buffalo or possibly Philippe has done this route as an out and back like that and may have input.

If you're set on doing it as a day hike, Cathedral Butte is probably the best way. Yes, the climb in and out is brutal, but the rest of it is very easy hiking with little elevation change. One way mileage from the Cathedral Butte trailhead to All American Man is right about 10 miles. That first mile or so is a 1,000 drop on a loose, rocky trail, then a bit of bush whacking to Kirk Cabin and from there its smooth sailing. On this route you have the added benefit of stopping at the Squash Patch Ruin, Big Ruin and a few others along the way.

Whether you can do that as a day hike, I don't know. I surely wouldn't want to but if you were to start bright and early and you have a lot of day light, it's certainly doable. I would save that climb out to Cathedral Butte for later in the day when it cools down a bit and the sun is low.

Here's a shot of All American Man for those that haven't seen it.

Unfortunately I've only been to Angel Arch and not any further. I hiked in from Squaw Flat TH, because the access road to Peekaboo camp was closed for traffic. :mad: That was 5.4 miles one way, with a few climbing and scrambling sections, now and then there were small ledges with a drop off next to you. Normally it is okay, but I had 40-55mph wind gusts and my big backpack. Wasn't that funny. At the end you're climbing down to the Peekaboo panel via a small and very narrow crack in the canyon wall, it can be a little bit tricky.
From there you follow Salt Creek to Angel Arch camp and another 1.5 extra miles one way to Angel Arch, which shouldn't be missed. I guess from Peekaboo camp to Angel Arch it is something like 10.5 miles.

I only had a permit for 2 nights, so I returned after visiting Angel Arch. Originally I planned to go further and at least visit All American Men, but I had so many issues with severe weather, I wasn't even sure throughout my hike if I can make it to Angel Arch.
That's the reason I'll repeat the trip this year and add one or two extra nights . If no one joins me in June, I'll do an out and back hike again.

I'm not sure if I would do it as a day hike, especially not from Squaw Flat TH, even from Peekaboo camp it will be a really long day and you need a very early start.
Looking into Salt Creek for early May 2014. One vehicle and 8 days... Nick, I would love to view your original post to Salt Creek!
Just got back from Salt Creek canyon Oct. 1- went through from Cathedral Butte and came out on the other end the day the park closed down due to the federal shutdown.. Wonderful trip but the heavy rains this summer have wreaked insane havoc on the lower portion of the canyon. From cathedral butte to All American Man was considerably easier/faster traveling vs. the portion from SC3 camp to the needles district road gate. The muddle/swampy/trail less disaster from SC3 makes for very slow and arduous (though rewarding in its own way) moving. I agree with what others have said re: Nick's TR about his trek there - moved this hike to the top of the list. If I was hiking in to see AMA (which oddly enough I met a solo archeologist who does work on the Navajo reservation hiking in just to see that piece of rock art) I would come in from Cathedral for what its worth.
Here is my map of All American Man and the rest of Salt Creek from my May 2011 trip.

EDIT: I keep forgetting I'll get in trouble with the NPS for posting that publicly. ;)

Guess I should post all my maps/locations to see if Big Brother is looking.......LOL. I have transferd locations from old Utah topo's to computer as things were mysteriously disappearing from new maps. Also kept a map from a guy that helped set up the Grand Gulch boundaries....of course he hadn't plotted anything ;) You can find most of the well known places on Google anyway....
My two sons and I did salt creek the second week in Aug.
I have to retake the PA boards this year and have been studying ever since we got back. My plan is to write up a report as soon as I take the test. (Is that OK even though there are other salt creek reports?) We hiked down from the top and out to squaw flat. We saw the ranger and I think his girlfriend the second day and then no one for the next four days. The registry at AMA listed the last visitor mid June.
Waning moon, the Perseid meteor shower and no tent.
We hiked from Angel canyon out to squaw flat in one day. Really should have taken two days to do that part. IMG_7601.JPG
If you want to get a good pic of Angel Arch go in the morning. We went up after hiking from SC4 and taking a nap in the shade. The sun was right behind her head and I had a heck of a time getting a picture.
@langutah didn't you say something about a sneak route to All American Man where you could do it as a dayhike? Thanks for getting me out there Nick
All American Man by NateGeesaman, on Flickr

Nah, I said that I had done it twice in-a-day from the Cathedral Butte trailhead and it wasn't all that hard really. About 18 miles if memory serves and All American Man is a reward that more than suffices for this strenuous labor. AND I said that I have been working on scouting a way in from the northeast - from Lavender canyon - but the cliffs above AMA had sytmied me thus far.
The uncensored version is still alive and well on my blog for friends and family. ;)

Any chance that uncensored version can be shared? I'd love to get to the scenery more directly (versus knowing the vicinity of various things and having to work for it) this coming spring, 2019. Promise not to share.
versus knowing the vicinity of various things and having to work for it
That's half the fun though!

Personally I think All American Man is a well-known enough site, right off a well-used trail, and keeping that particular one under wraps is pretty dang pointless. But what do I know...
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