Southern Utah Backpacking Suggestions

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
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Mar 31, 2013
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Since we didn't get any mountain BP in this year my children
are clamoring for a Thanksgiving BP in the deserts of southern Utah.

I've read several TR but nothing has stuck out to me.

Looking to do a 3 day/2 night.

Probably something where I wouldn't have to do a lot of off road
driving either.

Your recommendations and experiences are appreciated as well as
info on permits, water, and sights.
 

SKLund

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Aug 19, 2016
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459
Grand Gulch from Collins Spring. Maybe not as South as you want. The dirt road in is maintained and only gets rough the last mile or so. Plenty of Camry's and Subaru's when I was there last. You can do some mellow backpacks in the vicinity and head back out same way you came. There is a pretty good at large place to camp about a half a mile from the trail head.

Give me a day and I'll put up a map. Bannister Ruin is in there, cowboy camp near the trail head. Some awesome rock art, granary's up high.

Following is the map. Red lines are the routes we did in general, not tracks. If you use the campsite, look for a sock wrapped around a branch. Left it there in March.

Click here to view on CalTopo
 
Last edited:

Jackson

I like to go outside.
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x2 on Needles. Get on reserving the permits soon if that's your plan, just to be sure you can stay where you want. I was looking a few days ago and a few of the prime spots are already taken for around that time period.
 

LarryBoy

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Or pick one of the canyons of the lower Escalante. Lots of good choices there.
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
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Or pick one of the canyons of the lower Escalante. Lots of good choices there.
I know there's lots to choose from there. Any specific you could recommend? 25 miles or less.

You can do an amazing loop in the Needles over Thanksgiving as well

This is one I actually had in mind. I know a lot of people here have done it. What is water like this time of year?
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
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Pick a park, look at their website, hike it.
Have you done anything in Capitol Reef? If so, any specific you would recommend? That's the park I haven't been to.
Thanks!
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
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x2 on Needles. Get on reserving the permits soon if that's your plan, just to be sure you can stay where you want. I was looking a few days ago and a few of the prime spots are already taken for around that time period.
What are the "prime spots" in the Needles District?

I'm going to check it out now. Thanks.
 

DrNed

The mountains are calling and I must go
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Joined
Mar 31, 2013
Messages
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Grand Gulch from Collins Spring. Maybe not as South as you want. The dirt road in is maintained and only gets rough the last mile or so. Plenty of Camry's and Subaru's when I was there last. You can do some mellow backpacks in the vicinity and head back out same way you came. There is a pretty good at large place to camp about a half a mile from the trail head.

Give me a day and I'll put up a map. Bannister Ruin is in there, cowboy camp near the trail head. Some awesome rock art, granary's up high.

Following is the map. Red lines are the routes we did in general, not tracks. If you use the campsite, look for a sock wrapped around a branch. Left it there in March.

Click here to view on CalTopo

Thanks for the map! What was your mileage on this? Being in Grand Gulch does this require a permit?

Thanks again!
 

Jackson

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I guess I should've differentiated between prime and popular, but I guess they're popular for a reason.

Chesler Park is probably the most competitive area for permits. CP1 seems to always be the first one gone. Rightfully so, as it's a great spot.

Elephant Canyon is very popular as well, probably in part because it's the canyon you follow to get to Druid Arch.
 

SKLund

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Thanks for the map! What was your mileage on this? Being in Grand Gulch does this require a permit?

Thanks again!

I can't say the mileage because of all the rincons that you have to travel through. it makes it longer than the distance actually is. You can use Caltopo tools to measure the line. If a back pack it's pretty easy. You need to go to the Kane Gulch Ranger Station and watch a flim. They give you the permit after that. Call ahead first to the Montecito BLM office. Get to Kane Gulch early because they are gone by 10:00 AM or so.
 

LarryBoy

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I know there's lots to choose from there. Any specific you could recommend? 25 miles or less.



This is one I actually had in mind. I know a lot of people here have done it. What is water like this time of year?
You'll have to do some carrying of water in the Needles. There's fairly reliable water near the the turnoff to Druid Arch. Also could be some in Elephant Canyon. Thankfully that spring by Druid is pretty centrally located so you can be out there for several days without any crazy water carries.

Escalante - i'm definitely not the expert here but the old standby of Coyote Gulch would be interesting, and not as crowded as it was a couple months ago. I've done Harris Wash around the end of November before. Little Death Hollow if you enjoy slot canyons...
 

LarryBoy

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Have you done anything in Capitol Reef? If so, any specific you would recommend? That's the park I haven't been to.
Thanks!
Either of the Muley Twist Canyons are beautiful destinations. Or combo them!
 

slc_dan

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Have you done anything in Capitol Reef? If so, any specific you would recommend? That's the park I haven't been to.
Thanks!

Yes, all of the outlined hikes, plus more. They are all spectacular.
 

gnwatts

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I can't say the mileage because of all the rincons that you have to travel through. it makes it longer than the distance actually is. You can use Caltopo tools to measure the line. If a back pack it's pretty easy. You need to go to the Kane Gulch Ranger Station and watch a flim. They give you the permit after that. Call ahead first to the Montecito BLM office. Get to Kane Gulch early because they are gone by 10:00 AM or so.

I am pretty sure that the rangers are no longer there, I may be wrong. If so you might be able to get your permit at the trailhead.
 

LarryBoy

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I am pretty sure that the rangers are no longer there, I may be wrong. If so you might be able to get your permit at the trailhead.
I thought the ranger station is only staffed March thru October. There's definitely nobody there in February
 

SKLund

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Aug 19, 2016
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It would make sense that they are not there. I mean they were barely there last Spring during peak. I went back 3 times, earliest was 10:00 AM, and they still weren't there. It's all volunteers who have to drive in from Blanding, Cortez, Moab, or wherever... There are only one or two full time BLM'ers around and they leave all the visitor admin to the volunteers.
 
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