Southern Utah Backpacking ideas for MLK Weekend?

TylerB

Member
Joined
May 7, 2018
Messages
13
Hi all. I'm new to this site so hope it's ok that I'm posting this here. I'm looking for ideas on a long weekend backpacking trip. I have the gear to stay warm if the temps drop down to say 30 at night. My goal for this weekend is to do something that has relatively big miles (20 or so miles a day...so a 60-ish mile trek). Hoping for a loop or out and back but trying to avoid a hitch (because.....omicron). Ideally I'm looking for something I can just cruise and not spend a ton of time using GPS or route finding. I can do closer to 25 miles a day if I don't have to do a lot of wayfinding. I would like to bring my dog...but that's not a deal breaker. Any ideas of something that could satisfy these requirements? I've backpacked quite a bit in this area....but nothing is coming to mind. I'm open to other places...as long as it doesn't take more than 6-8 hours to drive from salt lake.
 

Jackson

I like to go outside.
.
Joined
May 31, 2015
Messages
2,695
I spent 5-10 minutes racking my brains trying to think of something, but I'm having trouble thinking of anything with mileage that high that doesn't involve much off-trail/routefinding. There are probably some routes you could piece together in the Grand Canyon and Canyonlands that would hit that distance. Seems like most stuff outside of national parks where you can take dogs is going to have appreciable route finding and GPS use once you get into the 20+ mile range. Some loop in the Escalante area could maybe do it, but I'm not familiar enough with the stuff down Hole-in-the-Rock Road.

And do you plan on hiking in the dark? You may also just walk really fast. You'll have a little under 10 hours of daylight each day down there. I love winter backpacking down south, but the lack of daylight makes it really tough for me. Spending 12+ hours in a tent really wears on me. Haha.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,634
I wouldn't expect that the road to the upper end of Salt Creek would be passable, but you could definitely do and out and back starting at the lower end. I've done it before on MLK weekend. Good times.
 

regehr

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,568
also a lot of these places could, in a cold snap, easily go well below 20 at night in Jan. I usually do my first backpacking of the year in early March and have had some very very cold nights in the desert even then (not below 20, but not much above either)
 

TylerB

Member
Joined
May 7, 2018
Messages
13
Helpful feedback...I'm liking the salt creek idea because someone else recommended that to me way back and I had a trip planned there that fell through a year or so back...I've been wanting to check that out.

When larry boy says start at the upper end I think that means the peekaboo trailhead and that would work nicely as a base camp....
e.g. saturday hike peekaboo to SC1 and freeze my ass off saturday night
sunday hike back to peekaboo and sleep in my toasty warm car
monday do a loop hike combining squaw/lost and maybe even out to chesler park and return (without a backpack)

The cold becomes more bearable when I only have to do it for one night. My coldest nights have been in shoulder season when I overestimate the temps and don't pack right

But who's going to break it to the dog that he's not coming?
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,634
Helpful feedback...I'm liking the salt creek idea because someone else recommended that to me way back and I had a trip planned there that fell through a year or so back...I've been wanting to check that out.

When larry boy says start at the upper end I think that means the peekaboo trailhead and that would work nicely as a base camp....
e.g. saturday hike peekaboo to SC1 and freeze my ass off saturday night
sunday hike back to peekaboo and sleep in my toasty warm car
monday do a loop hike combining squaw/lost and maybe even out to chesler park and return (without a backpack)

The cold becomes more bearable when I only have to do it for one night. My coldest nights have been in shoulder season when I overestimate the temps and don't pack right

But who's going to break it to the dog that he's not coming?
The reason I recommend Salt Creek rather than the other trails in the Needles is because anything that goes over slickrock is impassible if there's snow or frost present. I got stopped on the Peekaboo trail a few years ago (only a few tenths from Salt Creek actually) because of frosty slickrock. Traction devices aren't really appropriate because they'll scar the slickrock. I'd probably start from Cave Spring and visit Angel Arch, the All American Man, and whatever else you want to explore up there. Sounds like you're all about the miles - and that's cool - but don't neglect the opportunity to poke around in Salt Creek and look for rock art. There's tons of it, and half the fun is the detective work to find it.
 

Fatboy

Member
Joined
Aug 29, 2019
Messages
23
Nothing off of HITR that I know that fits those parameters. ... and far as temperatures go , I was camped up on 50 mile bench road last January and the lows varied between 11 to 15 degrees while I was there.... and that is Fahrenheit.

Temps do vary and you may get warmer weather but I would be prepared 10 to 15 degree nights.

HOLE IN THE ROCK road is a good place to set up a base camp and do a bunch of day hikes, that way you can be back at your vehicle if it gets too cold. There is a lot to see just off of that road that can keep a person busy for some time.

Cosmic Ashtray
Batty Pass caves
Dinosaur tracks
Lots of slots to explore
Rock art
Ruins
Kiva

You have the popular slots like Peek a Boo and Coyote but Davis, 50 mile, Sooner/Willow past Broken Bow, Llewellyn all can be done safely solo with proper precautions and have lots to offer with no crowds.

Heck, even Dance Hall Rock is worth checking out... be sure to go for a walk around it as there is cool graffiti and old names scratched in the draws behind the amphitheater.

Have fun whatever you do and Enjoy!
 

Ugly

Life really is better Here
.
Joined
Apr 20, 2013
Messages
967
@LarryBoy is spot on for the Needles for potentially impassable. -I've been eyeing a few routes.
I would give a better update, but headed there Thursday night. So if you see some guy and his lanky teen boy and a red Tacoma say Hi.

I have been into Chesler Park and Devils Kitchen or thereabouts during January for several of the past years. The Joint is always a worthy day hike with traction of course to get into Elephant. With no one around, Devil's Kitchen is also a quiet place to freeze at night.
There is a little breezy front coming through Friday, but not bad for January really.
 
Last edited:

TylerB

Member
Joined
May 7, 2018
Messages
13
Lots of good ideas....the reason I'm looking for lots of miles is because I like to keep moving all day and then just crash at night....it helps me to stay busy when I'm hiking alone. But I would gladly replace those hiking miles with exploring rock art as @LarryBoy suggested. I might just rent a zero degree sleeping bag from the U and spend two nights exploring salt creek.

I like the HITR road idea to pack in some day hikes....also eyeing the ticaboo creek area... I have done the maidenwater to trachyte creek loop and thinking there might be an option to go up or down trachyte and explore some side canyons. I'm ok with some routefinding (also helps with boredom)...I just like to have a little more planning time and this trip is kind of last minute. I've done the hayduke from arches to Hite...was thinking to just add another section of the hayduke but all those would require a hitch. Also thinking about the escalante route through GCNP...but the permit might be tough and would require a shuttle/hitch. Also thinking about moody canyon area if there's an option to create a decent loop or out and back in that area...still looking into that.

Thanks for all the valuable insight....it's much appreciated!...and thanks for the heads up on ice in needles.
 

regehr

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,568
I think a zero bag is a great idea, I have an old 5 degree bag that I use for this sort of thing, it's heavy but it's super nice to not be facing the prospect of a shivery, borderline-hypothermic night, those are just no fun.

there are big loops in the Moody area, see one of the Allen books, either 2 or 3 or maybe both. I've not been there but a number of others here have. linking up with Halls Creek might be particularly nice
 

John Morrow

Member
Joined
May 22, 2015
Messages
787
One could go down Harris Wash, up Silver Falls, down Choprock, and finish overland via Fence back to Harris TH. Minimal routefinding and long miles. Big miles for me, I'd take five days for explorations and more relaxed pace for something like that
 

John Morrow

Member
Joined
May 22, 2015
Messages
787
I think a zero bag is a great idea, I have an old 5 degree bag that I use for this sort of thing, it's heavy but it's super nice to not be facing the prospect of a shivery, borderline-hypothermic night, those are just no fun.

there are big loops in the Moody area, see one of the Allen books, either 2 or 3 or maybe both. I've not been there but a number of others here have. linking up with Halls Creek might be particularly nice
a "barbell" loop of lower Muley to Halls Narrows fits. looping the middle is not difficult going up on the chinle behind the reef and some neat mine ruins
 

regehr

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2012
Messages
1,568
a "barbell" loop of lower Muley to Halls Narrows fits. looping the middle is not difficult going up on the chinle behind the reef and some neat mine ruins
or a more southern loop going over the Baker Trail and/or the Red Slide
 

TylerB

Member
Joined
May 7, 2018
Messages
13
One could go down Harris Wash, up Silver Falls, down Choprock, and finish overland via Fence back to Harris TH. Minimal routefinding and long miles. Big miles for me, I'd take five days for explorations and more relaxed pace for something like that
I am liking this idea @John Morrow . Google earth puts this at about 38 miles+some miles to explore side canyons...anything off trail people recommend?

I read from @Jammer webpage here that the north fork of the choprock is easier canyoneering (no need for ropes/rappels)? Does my map look right.

harris_choprock.jpg
And see! here I thought I wouldn't have time to do any planning....thanks all for your help planning this trip!
 

John Morrow

Member
Joined
May 22, 2015
Messages
787
I am liking this idea @John Morrow . Google earth puts this at about 38 miles+some miles to explore side canyons...anything off trail people recommend?

I read from @Jammer webpage here that the north fork of the choprock is easier canyoneering (no need for ropes/rappels)? Does my map look right.

View attachment 106327And see! here I thought I wouldn't have time to do any planning....thanks all for your help planning this trip!
Map looks right on. In case it is not clear, N. Fk. Chop is a side canyon and not on the route. Red line is main fork. N Fk is up-canyon travelable a ways but has a rappel/unclimbeable dryfall eventually.
You move fast so water may not be a concern. If it is then you could start on the east side at Silver Falls TH and have watered camps each night for certain. But carrying H2O over the dry Sil Falls/Chop divide may not be a concern for you.
 

LarryBoy

Hiker Trash
.
Joined
Jan 4, 2015
Messages
2,634
Good chance you find water at the Colt Mesa waterworks as well.

Edit - though with temps forecasted in the low 20s, the source might be frozen.
 

TylerB

Member
Joined
May 7, 2018
Messages
13
Thanks again everyone for helping me plan this. A couple of last minute questions to anyone familiar with this area:

1. How is the road to Silver Falls TH? I read here that high clearance/4wd is needed. Is it the type of thing where I could drive in a ways with low clearance/front wheel drive....and then road walk the last few miles to the trailhead when the road starts getting rough?
2. The water camps you mention @John Morrow I'm thinking this refers to Escalante river. Should I expect silt or any problems running through a sawyer?
3. Any need to bring cordage for lowering/lifting my pack? Any tricky obstacles along that red line that a dog might struggle with?
4. Detours or side canyons you recommend exploring off that main route? Rock art or ruins I should keep my eyes open for?

This is a great forum. I appreciate all your help.
 
Similar threads
Thread starter Title Forum Replies Date
S Backpacking Southern Utah with dogs? Trip Planning 1
Devin Ashby Southern Utah Backpacking Loop Help Trip Planning 9
C Recommendations for 4 day Backpacking in Southern Utah with dogs please... Trip Planning 1
cjhaines Southern Utah Backpacking Suggestions Trip Planning 4
DrNed Southern Utah Backpacking Suggestions Trip Planning 17
M 7 days in Southern Utah - Multi day backpacking trips? Trip Planning 6
A Memorial Day Weekend 2015 Backpacking Trip - Southern Utah Trip Planning 0
natylka Memorial Weekend backpacking in Southern Utah Trip Planning 10
CodyL Southern Utah in January Backpacking 10
Nethos Southern Utah - Late October & Early November 2020 Trip Planning 16
Titans Slick muddy recovery in Southern Utah General Discussion 8
Titans 2020 Road Conditions Southern Utah (& Arizona Strip ) Trip Planning 1
C Guess the Spot: somewhere in Southern Utah General Discussion 4
N Grand Canyon and southern Utah in late November Trip Planning 3
andyjaggy Southern Utah Quickie Trip Planning 23
OCArch Suggestion Needed- 4 days in Southern Utah (Escalante?) in Mid-October Trip Planning 11
o2bav8 Southern Utah trip Hiking & Camping 4
T Advice Needed for 5 night Backpack route in Southern Utah Trip Planning 2
K Food storage in Southern Utah General Discussion 5
BryanG Exploring Southern Utah Trip Planning 15
Eugene Southern Utah - Suggestions for 3-4 day backpack in October Trip Planning 4
westy Southern Utah Backpacking 6
Udink Southern Utah, March 2016 Hiking & Camping 7
DrNed Trapped Cougar Released in Southern Utah General Discussion 9
hatchcanyon Exploring Southern Utah by Airplane Everything Else 20
Hubert Poul 37 days on bikes in southern Utah (PART 1) Hiking & Camping 15
Aldaron Southern Utah Canyoneering Canyoneering 29
C Backcountry Noob in Southern Utah Noobs: Introduce yourself! 2
pixie1339 Fall colors in Southern Utah? Trip Planning 23
Cool Danish Southern Utah Expedition 2014 – Canyonlands, Sandstone and more. Hiking & Camping 16
o2bav8 Southern Utah Trip Hiking & Camping 4
TJ Sheridan Wahweep Hoodoos, Toadstools, & Rimrocks of Southern Utah - AERIAL FILM Hiking & Camping 5
Hubert Poul Planning my 37 days in Southern Utah (on bike) Trip Planning 13
JaseTheAce Southern Utah late June Trip Planning 4
katuah Southern Utah late March - early April Trip Planning 9
Lisa Thoughts on bear options in southern Utah? Trip Planning 19
TrektheWorld Canyoneering opportunity in southern Utah General Discussion 1
Chuck the Mauler Grand Canyon / Southern Utah help Trip Planning 3
Howells Outdoors XC Ski at Southern Utah's Deer Valley Winter Sports 3
LarryBoy Help plan a February weekend in southern Utah! Trip Planning 12
Laura Annual Photography Trip Across Southern Utah Photography 27
JulieKT Greetings from Southern Utah Noobs: Introduce yourself! 13
BJett Packrafting Guide - Southern Utah General Discussion 3
S Southern Utah mid-March with kids Trip Planning 6
Krissi Cook What are the fall colors in southern Utah like right now? General Discussion 33
baltocharlie Fall trip to Southern Utah Trip Planning 12
pstm13 Southern Utah and Mesa Verde in June with Kids Trip Planning 2
Aldaron Southern Utah Dirt General Discussion 43
pstm13 Camera Setup for Southern Utah/Canyonlands Photography 13
R 5-day October backpack in southern Utah Trip Planning 3

Similar threads

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

Top