Suggestion Needed- 4 days in Southern Utah (Escalante?) in Mid-October

OCArch

Stuck In the Suburban Wasteland
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Sep 20, 2017
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Howdy all,

A couple college buddies and me have begun a tradition of getting out for a brief 3-4 day backpacking trip at least once a year. We try to switch it up but have been to Havasupai, Lobster diving and beach camping in Catalina, and hiking the PCT up near Mammoth. Whatever we can squeeze into our increasingly busy lives, that our wives, girlfriends and now kids will allow us to take.

We had the thought this year of meeting in Vegas, and traveling to Zion to do the narrows but were put-off by the relatively short duration of the hike so we never got a permit. Thats still an option though if we do the next-day walkup pass but we'd have to coordinate tightly.

My sister lives out in Park City and recommended Escalante and I have looked into it, and obviously the place is drop dead gorgeous, Im just not exactly sure how to pick a plan. I found a couple amazing trip reports through Coyote Gulch here (https://backcountrypost.com/threads/coyote-gulch-loop.65/) that looks like the ticket, but seeing as we dont do too many trips, we want to make sure we arent doing a mediocre trail when there is a better option nearby. Ideally we are looking at a 3-4 day loop. We would prefer a longer hike out, and either set up a base camp and day trip for a day or two, or do a small jaunt to the next spot.

I have seen some amazing pictures of tight slot canyons and waterfalls, and that is right up our alley. We arent very technical in terms of climbing, but we are experienced in the outdoors and we've all been college athletes, State Lifeguards, Eagle Scouts, etc so we are up for a challenge.

Anyone have any experience in Escalante in the Fall in terms of expected weather? We are coming from CA so we would obviously be watching the weather and would need a backup plan or two, but we'd like to have a better idea of what those could be before going so we arent trying to come up with lack of knowledge on the fly. Thanks for any and all input.
 

deelek

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Many would consider this the premiere short backpacking trip in the state, Fall is a terrific time to do this trip, particularly if the cottonwoods are turning. I'm sure most members of the site will agree.
 

OCArch

Stuck In the Suburban Wasteland
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Looked again at the Coyote Gulch trip and realized thats on the backside of escalante. its right on the edge of the range we were hoping to go from home. Are there any suggestions for something closer to Vegas? Sounds like the timing is right at the very least!
 

deelek

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Some questions. Are you flying or driving to Vegas. Are you looking to strictly backpack or would you be willing to have a base camp and have top notch day hikes out of and near your camp. I have an nice itinerary based on the latter if you are interested based out of the White House Campground.
 
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Jackson

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Your requirement for proximity to Vegas (which I totally understand) makes things difficult. There are so many great places down there, but next to Zion and the Escalante area, the other good backpacking places are too far out.

You could look into permits for the northern part of Zion (La Verkin Creek, Hop Valley, Bear Trap Canyon, etc.).

You could also spend a few days along the Escalante exploring Sand Creek, Death Hollow, and the Escalante Gorge. That's a slightly shorter drive than going down Hole-in-the-Rock road to Coyote Gulch.

Whatever you do, be sure to share a trip report on here!
 

LarryBoy

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How about the under the rim trsil in bryce. Fits the geography. Might be a little chilly up hugh so bring sn extra layer

If permits are still availavle, the Paria would also be right up your alley
 

OCArch

Stuck In the Suburban Wasteland
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Messages
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Some questions. Are you flying or driving to Vegas. Are you looking to strictly backpack or would you be willing to have a base camp and have top notch day hikes out of and near your camp. I have an nice itinerary based on the latter if you are interested based out of the White House Campground.

Out of the 4 of us, 1 or two will be flying. The rest will be driving and gathering the flyers in Vegas.

We are definitely open to any and all good ideas. We would like to get "out there" though and unplug and get away from people, so car camping would work as long as we still felt remote. Top Notch day hike would be a great substitute for backpacking. Even if our Base Camp was a couple miles out that would be ideal though. Leaving the comfort of a vehicle is nice.
 

slc_dan

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Boulder Mail Trail or Escalante River Gorge are both great for first time Escalante visitors. They are both a little shorter distance, as you don't have to drive down the slow Hole In the Rock Road.
 

OCArch

Stuck In the Suburban Wasteland
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
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Your requirement for proximity to Vegas (which I totally understand) makes things difficult. There are so many great places down there, but next to Zion and the Escalante area, the other good backpacking places are too far out.

You could look into permits for the northern part of Zion (La Verkin Creek, Hop Valley, Bear Trap Canyon, etc.).

You could also spend a few days along the Escalante exploring Sand Creek, Death Hollow, and the Escalante Gorge. That's a slightly shorter drive than going down Hole-in-the-Rock road to Coyote Gulch.

Whatever you do, be sure to share a trip report on here!

Question about the Northern part of Zion: I keep reading that permits are available the day before at the ranger station, but are you able to book two nights at the same place? Or would this be for an area without camp sites? From what I was reading about those hikes, they were mostly 2-day adventures, and we were looking for something a day or two longer than that.

Getting a day-before permit shouldnt be a problem (key word 'shouldnt)' . We've commited to getting to the ranger station as early as need-be to make that work. We can pull into Zion early, set up camp at the ranger station for opening, and send the rest of the party on to secure a First-Come car camp spot for the night. We are considering doing this for the narrows as it would give us a day to day-hike, and a 2-day trip down the narrows. Is it possible to do the narrows Longer? Lingering for a while is always great.
 

OCArch

Stuck In the Suburban Wasteland
Joined
Sep 20, 2017
Messages
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How about the under the rim trsil in bryce. Fits the geography. Might be a little chilly up hugh so bring sn extra layer

If permits are still availavle, the Paria would also be right up your alley

Checked on Paria permits just the other day actually, nothing available :scatman:. That one looked like it fit the bill though.
 

deelek

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Out of the 4 of us, 1 or two will be flying. The rest will be driving and gathering the flyers in Vegas.

We are definitely open to any and all good ideas. We would like to get "out there" though and unplug and get away from people, so car camping would work as long as we still felt remote. Top Notch day hike would be a great substitute for backpacking. Even if our Base Camp was a couple miles out that would be ideal though. Leaving the comfort of a vehicle is nice.
Here's my idea for you. Not saying it is better than the other's as all of these places are unbelievable. I've done this after flying into Vegas from Philly and it is a 3 1/2 to 4 hour drive to White House Campground to your base below
P3130005.jpg


Your day hikes include the Paria Canyon no permit required if not camping within the canyon, trailhead right at the campsite. We did a 15 mile out and back to the confluence with Buckskin

P5210366.jpg


Buckskin Gulch about a 10 mile drive. There are MANY other exciting hikes in the area. My wife and I made camp at White House for a week and had beautiful hikes every day. Let me know if interested

_3170343.jpg
 
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OCArch

Stuck In the Suburban Wasteland
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Sep 20, 2017
Messages
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Just to follow up on this, we ended up consolidating our plans and heading out to Zion. After a quick pitstop in vegas (and up about $100 on the tables!) we headed out to Zion, getting there before first light. I hopped in line at the visitors center for a next-day permit for the zion narrows, while my buddies got in the car line at the south camp ground. at 6:30am, I was first in line, althought second in line showed up at about 6:45.

We got both our permit and our car camp spot, so after setting up our 'glamping' spot, we joined the zoo in line and went up to angels landing for a little day hike. Beautiful! but busy. the next day we packed up camp, caught a 9:30 shuttle to Chamberlains via the Zion Adventure Co (highly recommended, they did great) and set out on our adventure. We got campsite #10, so we had about 10+ miles to go, and did it in about 5 hours. The best part (besides the amazing natural splendor) was that we didnt see another soul the entire day.

After doing battle with the ninja mice that inhabit the campsites, we set out the next morning to complete the hike, and made our way home. Short trip, but absolutely worth it. Perfect weather (80s in zion, 70s in the canyon, low 40s at night, and water temp at ~40) and AMAZING fall color. Ill follow up with a legit trip report also. too much fun. Thanks to everyone for the recommendations

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