Salt creek in Canyonlands

pdx_rain

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May 28, 2019
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Hi there,

My wife and I are thinking of a week-long backpacking trip in Salt Creek area in Canyonlands in the last week of June/early July and had a couple of questions:
1) We plan to start at Cathedral Butte and spend the first couple of nights near SC1/SC2 and move up to Squaw flat via Peekaboo and maybe camp at LC1 on the last night there. Is there water available along the trail around late June?
2) I've been to Canyonlands before, but not in summer...how common are flash floods around late June?
3) Also, are there opportunities for shade along the trail? Trying to determine how hard it will be to hike in the heat.
4) I'm guessing there are shuttle companies that can give a a ride from Squaw flat to Cathedral Butte?

Thanks much.
 

pdx_rain

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May 28, 2019
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Sorry...just realized I posted this in the 'trip reports' section and not sure how to change it.
 

RyanP

Formerly bob32
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Mar 1, 2015
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I wouldn't worry about flash floods in salt Creek (it's all very wide), but late June/early July will be way too hot there. I would recommend watery canyons (Zion/escalante) at that time of year (but do watch out for flash floods in those areas), or else the mountains
 

regehr

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Mar 28, 2012
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I agree, this is likely to be pretty hot. to some extent you can manage the heat by hiking in the morning and evening, and seeking shelter during the middle of the day. I think I camped in the canyonlands area in mid-July just once and it never really cooled off, at night I was on top of my sleeping bag sweating. take a lot of water.
 

dhertbag

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Feb 26, 2018
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I'm heading down to Salt Creek next weekend. I'll let you know how it goes. But, as RyanP stated, it's going to be brutally hot late June/early July. And any water I find this weekend, might be dried up by July. I have read that there's a reliable spring by Kirk cabin (mile 3.5) and usually water at upper jump (mile 8.5) and Peekaboo (mile 22) but there's no guarantee on those. Flash floods aren't a concern.
 

regehr

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I'm nowhere near an expert but heat acclimation / acclimatization (these are different things but I can never remember the difference) is a really interesting topic. there's a significant individual component and also any given person will adapt to better tolerate heat over a few days, plus it matters a lot what you're doing, how you dress, etc.

but almost anyone would be happy for an air conditioned motel room in Moab after a few days out in canyonlands in July. anyway, be careful!
 

pdx_rain

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May 28, 2019
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Thanks all for your replies. It helps to know about the heat and the water availability.

dhertbag - let me know how your trip goes.
 
Last edited:

dhertbag

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Feb 26, 2018
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Thanks all for your replies. It helps to know about the heat and the water availability.

dhertbag - let me know how your trip goes.
Had a successful trip through Salt Creek. We started at Cathedral Butte and exited at the Cave Springs trailhead. We ended up covering about 30 miles in 3 days. We saw a total of 3 other people during the entire trip. There was a lot of water in the canyon. About the only section where water wasn't readily available was between Kirk Cabin and SC3. But, as previously mentioned, this could change quickly. I was surprised at the amount of bear activity in the area. There were bear prints and scat all over the place. The road to Cathedral Butte (Beef Basin Road) was a little beat up but nothing too bad. I wouldn't want to even attempt it if it were wet though. Have fun if you decide to venture in.
 

WasatchWill

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Can't speak to the conditions of the actual trail and what shade there might be for any afternoon siestas, but for desert hiking in the summer like that, I'd suggest looking into getting a reflective lightweight umbrella, something like this:


I have a couple of those and they are a nice luxury to have to shed some of the sun off you. Also, some cooling towels (Walmart typically has some in their camping/outdoors section) to wrap around your neck/forehead in combination with the umbrella, and then you can really reduce some of the toll that heat can put on you that time of year.
 

pdx_rain

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May 28, 2019
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4
Had a successful trip through Salt Creek. We started at Cathedral Butte and exited at the Cave Springs trailhead. We ended up covering about 30 miles in 3 days. We saw a total of 3 other people during the entire trip. There was a lot of water in the canyon. About the only section where water wasn't readily available was between Kirk Cabin and SC3. But, as previously mentioned, this could change quickly. I was surprised at the amount of bear activity in the area. There were bear prints and scat all over the place. The road to Cathedral Butte (Beef Basin Road) was a little beat up but nothing too bad. I wouldn't want to even attempt it if it were wet though. Have fun if you decide to venture in.
Thanks for the info. Glad you had a fun trip.
 
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