Utah Choices .....things could be worse.

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Mar 18, 2014
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So I'm coming up on a long 4 day weekend where I can get out to Utah and perhaps get to some areas I still need to see. I'll be heading out with a friend.



*I really wanted to do Salt Creek point to point but driving 2 cars all the way out from Colorado seems wasteful on gas and counter-productive to the environment just to run this one shuttle. I looked into companies that provide shuttle and was dismayed at it costing a few hundred dollars just to catch a ride somewhere. Plus, we would need to pay park fees to get our permits from the visitor center and neither of us has a parks pass.
- would you suggest an out and back from the top? It seems like a lot of walking for the 3.5 days...

on to the list... Some of the places on my list I'm trying to choose between: ( i kind of put these in order from 1st preference to last)

1. Boulder Mail Trail > Death Hollow (or someone said to walk in from the bottom at Escalante and walk the bottom up to the wading sections to see the best part of this)
- what I'm worried about is the temperature and the chilliness of the water. Should I just save this one for a late May/Early June trip?

2. Blanding area - explore Grand Gulch ruins and hikes like Fish/Owl canyons that I've been wanting to do. Car camp each night. Maybe explore Comb Ridge ruins and hikes.

3. Halls Creek Narrows / Muley Twist Canyons. Car camp or backpack some of this area.

4. Little Death Hollow / Wolverine Loop
- don't know too much about this area, I just wrote down that it looked like a good long dayhike or multi-day

5. I would love to get to the Paria Canyon or explore more of Buckskin but this just seems like an excessive drive from Colorado for a long weekend. Best to save this area for a longer outing.

Can anyone help me decide what to do or help by making a suggestion. It'll be the last weekend in October when I get out. I'll be staring at the weather all next week (some would say obsessively) and making a plan B for somewhere in Colorado or New Mexico if the forecast is not favorable to canyons and the dirt roads that lead to them.

Thanks for taking the time to read this and offering up your advice.
 

regehr

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Lots of good stuff here. My guess is that LDH/wolverine would be a lot to take on for a day hike given the short days, make it an overnight.
 

IntrepidXJ

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*I really wanted to do Salt Creek point to point but driving 2 cars all the way out from Colorado seems wasteful on gas and counter-productive to the environment just to run this one shuttle. I looked into companies that provide shuttle and was dismayed at it costing a few hundred dollars just to catch a ride somewhere. Plus, we would need to pay park fees to get our permits from the visitor center and neither of us has a parks pass.
- would you suggest an out and back from the top? It seems like a lot of walking for the 3.5 days...

I've done Salt Creek point to point and as an out and back from the top. I wouldn't hesitate to do it out and back from the top again, I just wouldn't plan to hike the full point-to-point length if you do that. Only go down halfway or so and save the bottom half for another out and back trip from Peekaboo. There is a lot to see and find in the upper section that it's definitely worth it.
 

IntrepidXJ

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1. Boulder Mail Trail > Death Hollow (or someone said to walk in from the bottom at Escalante and walk the bottom up to the wading sections to see the best part of this)
- what I'm worried about is the temperature and the chilliness of the water. Should I just save this one for a late May/Early June trip?

I just did this hike earlier this month (Escalante River and up DH a little ways from the bottom) and it was definitely getting a little chillier in the evening. If you bring neoprene sock and other cold water gear, you should be able to stay warm. I just hiked in Chacos with wool socks in the water.

http://adventr.co/2019/09/the-upper-escalante-river-lower-death-hollow/
 

IntrepidXJ

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4. Little Death Hollow / Wolverine Loop
- don't know too much about this area, I just wrote down that it looked like a good long dayhike or multi-day

Great hike, but just like your Paria Canyon / Buckskin option, it seems like the drive would be out of the way for you for an extended weekend. This would probably be a good area to visit on a longer trip.
 

gnwatts

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Drive to the end of Cigarette Springs Road on Cedar Mesa, great camp spot there. Hike to the Citadel and then into Road Canyon and see 7 Kivas, down Road then up Lime Canyon and back to your camp spot. Pretty fun loop hike.
 

RyanP

Formerly bob32
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If you haven't been to the main part of the Needles district, I would recommend that over any of these given the time of year and your location. It's closer to Denver than any of these, and a great option for late season in my opinion. Some of these other options with water in the canyons sound chilly, and some of them are probably best when you have lush vegetation all over. But the Needles are mostly awesome because of the rock formations and slickrock hiking, so it's still nice once things turn brown.

I think an in-and-out from Upper Salt Creek would be well worth the drive for 4 days. I would personally probably try to drive at least most of the way the night before the trip if it were me, to enable 4 full days of exploring. Grand Gulch would probably also be great, although I've only been there in the Spring so I'm not sure about the water sources at that time of year. Both are magical places, and if you haven't done a trip yet centered around the ruins/rock art, I highly recommend either!
 
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I've done Salt Creek point to point and as an out and back from the top. I wouldn't hesitate to do it out and back from the top again, I just wouldn't plan to hike the full point-to-point length if you do that. Only go down halfway or so and save the bottom half for another out and back trip from Peekaboo. There is a lot to see and find in the upper section that it's definitely worth it.

We can't leave until saturday morning giving us only around 3.5 days of total hiking. Do you think we'd be able to make it down from the top and make it all the way to Angel Arch and see all the points between the top and there and back up to the car in 3.5 days? Also, Cathedral Butte TH is out of park boundaries and I don't have a park's pass (wasn't planning on getting one until next summer). Is there any way to pick up our permits without entering the entrance to the park?
 
Joined
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If you haven't been to the main part of the Needles district, I would recommend that over any of these given the time of year and your location. It's closer to Denver than any of these, and a great option for late season in my opinion. Some of these other options with water in the canyons sound chilly, and some of them are probably best when you have lush vegetation all over. But the Needles are mostly awesome because of the rock formations and slickrock hiking, so it's still nice once things turn brown.

I think an in-and-out from Upper Salt Creek would be well worth the drive for 4 days. I would personally probably try to drive at least most of the way the night before the trip if it were me, to enable 4 full days of exploring. Grand Gulch would probably also be great, although I've only been there in the Spring so I'm not sure about the water sources at that time of year. Both are magical places, and if you haven't done a trip yet centered around the ruins/rock art, I highly recommend either!

I've hit up a lot of the Needles hikes. I have just been wanting to do Salt Creek for quite some time and never done that one.

In Grand Gulch area I've only been to Moonhouse Ruins. I was thinking that my son or family could start joining me on some of the shorter hikes in the Comb Mesa / GG area that lead to the ruins. If my friend and I head this way I was thinking of doing more of the longer hikes like Fish/Owl canyons and hikes of this nature where my family would not be up for 10+ mile days
 

LarryBoy

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All would be good; Death Hollow would definitely be cold on the feet. Fish and Owl makes a great overnight, particularly if you want to poke around and look at ruins and side canyons.

I've got recent intel that the water situation is a bit grim up on Cedar Mesa, so, if you're planning on doing an overnight, make sure to check at the Kane Gulch RS when you pick up your permit.
 

IntrepidXJ

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We can't leave until saturday morning giving us only around 3.5 days of total hiking. Do you think we'd be able to make it down from the top and make it all the way to Angel Arch and see all the points between the top and there and back up to the car in 3.5 days? Also, Cathedral Butte TH is out of park boundaries and I don't have a park's pass (wasn't planning on getting one until next summer). Is there any way to pick up our permits without entering the entrance to the park?

Yes, I think that would be enough time to get to Angel Arch and back plus hit all the popular spots along the way.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, there is currently no way to get around going to the Visitor Center to pickup your permit. Technically, when you get a permit it says you need to pay the Park entrance fee (or have a pass) to use it.
 

Bob

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If you hike in a park you should pay the entrance fee even if not parking in the park....
 

LarryBoy

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Yes, I think that would be enough time to get to Angel Arch and back plus hit all the popular spots along the way.

Unfortunately, as far as I know, there is currently no way to get around going to the Visitor Center to pickup your permit. Technically, when you get a permit it says you need to pay the Park entrance fee (or have a pass) to use it.
Not to mention that the thirty bucks to get into the park is roughly equivalent to the greater amount of gas it'd take to drive somewhere farther. And I don't claim to speak for anyone else, but I'd rather my money go to the NPS than to Exxon.
 

fossana

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If by Sat you meant an upcoming Sat and not this past one, I'd vote for Cedar Mesa. In addition to your ideas and others' suggestions for that area, Lewis Lodge ruins are super cool. It's fairly easy to do a longer loop dayhike in Grand Gulch with something like Bullet to Sheiks (or bike shuttle the dirt road section). There's a spring at the bottom of Sheiks near the Green Man panel. Reconfirm with the ranger station, but I think it provides year-round water.
 
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