Zion-South Utah Spring Break - March 9th-March 14th

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IndyTgrFan

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Hi all, great forum. I've been reading a bunch of the different threads as much as i could but due to the latest conditions in the Zion area I thought I'd go ahead start a new thread and ask a few pointed questions.

I'm flying out to the area with 2 of my college aged sons (both go to different schools but have the same Spring Break and weren't really interested in the Beer Soaked Beaches this year.) Lucky Dad

We land in Las Vegas late Friday night and drive to Zion early Saturday morning. We've never been to Zion or the area at all. (experience level is medium...high for a bunch of Flatlanders) The plan initially was to stay in a hotel a few nights and then maybe camp every other night or something like that (Zion Campground or backcountry depending on the weather and ability to get permits or also camping up near Bryce...even just finding a spot off the road as i've read about to set up our tent). To be safe I have hotel reservations for every nigh except Wednesday night (Sat & Sun in Springdale) (Mon & Tue in St. George) and (Thursday in Cedar City...for access to Bryce Canyon). St. George is 2 1/2 hour drive from Bryce Canyon.

Currently Hwy 9 from Zion to Mount Caramel is closed which makes getting to Bryce from Zion a lot longer, and also Canyon Overlook and East Rim Trails are closed. Also, due to all of the ran, the twitter page says that the Narrows are closed b/c the Virgin river is above 150 CFS. The weather forecast for Zion is high of Mid 50s and the forecast for Bryce is Mid 30s. Lot's of trail closures right now at Bryce as well.

So, given the current conditions I thought it would be best to go ahead and stick to my Hotel plan where it makes sense to maximize the time we are actually hiking and seeing new things. I'm wondering with the weather forecast if it even makes sense to do the 3+ hour trip to Bryce or to call an audible and hit some other beautiful areas where the weather might be more hospitable. Is GSENM and places like Bighorn Canyon going to be warmer?

So based on the above does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts? TIA
 

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#2
While it has been consistently wet out here, it hasn't been very cold the past few week. Also check the accumulation, not just the probability of precipitation. Sometimes it says 40% chance of rain but 0.0 inches of accumulation.

Escalante is at a higher base elevation, so tends to look more like the Zion high country. If you're looking for drier, warmer outings look into places closer to Vegas like Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire, and Gold Butte. Snow Canyon in St George is also at a lower elevation than Zion, Bryce or Escalante.
 
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#3
I am trying to hit GSENM area and Bighorn Canyon tomorrow through Friday. I spoke with the visitor center in Escalante yesterday and they said hole in the rock road is pretty wet and muddy at the moment but when I called they thought I could make it maybe about 10 miles down with 4 wheel drive. They did say that could change for the worse with added rain/snow. The cross country trailhead for Bighorn is 4 miles down HITRR, access from the other side via the Old Sheffield Road is completely out at the moment.

So with all of that said I would be sure to call the interagency visitor center in Escalante before changing plans to GSENM. We are still heading that way and if all else fails we will visit some of the state parks in the area.
 

IndyTgrFan

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fossana: thanks for the tips...

swmalone: i have been reading your thread to get thoughts and ideas... if you wouldn't mind coming back on when you have a chance and providing some updates, that would be great.
 
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fossana: thanks for the tips...

swmalone: i have been reading your thread to get thoughts and ideas... if you wouldn't mind coming back on when you have a chance and providing some updates, that would be great.
Will do. If everything goes to plan or at least I get home when I’m supposed to I can let you know how it went by late Friday or sometime Saturday.
 
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Okay so a quick update. HITRR was fairly muddy, but we only needed 4 wheel drive once, and even with that we came down a hill somewhat sideways after it had been raining all day Wednesday. As for hiking there is a lot of mud and water. We made it across Harris and up above Zebra, but Zebra was full of water. Thursday we started out trying to access Bighorn but abandoned about half a mile in when we couldn’t find a way to cross Alvey wash without getting a lot wetter and muddier than we wanted. If we had water shoes with us we probably would have pushed on. We went to lower calf creek instead. Even that trail had a lot of mud and water and some stretches of snow, slush, and ice. I will write up a trip report later, but hope this helps for now.
 

IndyTgrFan

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Okay so a quick update. HITRR was fairly muddy, but we only needed 4 wheel drive once, and even with that we came down a hill somewhat sideways after it had been raining all day Wednesday. As for hiking there is a lot of mud and water. We made it across Harris and up above Zebra, but Zebra was full of water. Thursday we started out trying to access Bighorn but abandoned about half a mile in when we couldn’t find a way to cross Alvey wash without getting a lot wetter and muddier than we wanted. If we had water shoes with us we probably would have pushed on. We went to lower calf creek instead. Even that trail had a lot of mud and water and some stretches of snow, slush, and ice. I will write up a trip report later, but hope this helps for now.
Thank you for the quick update. Where did you enter HITRR? In retrospect, was it worth it or would you opt for something/somewhere less wet? Did you stay overnight somewhere in the vicinity? Were you there for 2 days?
 
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#8
If House Rock Road is ok, go to White Pocket. You can come in from 89A from Kanab or Fredonia by going over the North Rim. Chrck to make sure that 89A is ok. Thry only plow during the day.

The sand on the roads to White Pocket should be pretty firm with all the moisture. Its free and you can wander around. You could even get to Cottonwood Cove TH just out of the South Coyote Buttes and visit the North and South Teepees.

Maybe even drive to Lee's Ferry and go up the Paria Canyon a ways.
 
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Thank you for the quick update. Where did you enter HITRR? In retrospect, was it worth it or would you opt for something/somewhere less wet? Did you stay overnight somewhere in the vicinity? Were you there for 2 days?
As far as I know you can only access HITRR with a vehicle from highway 12. It would have been nice if it wasn’t as wet and muddy, but saying that we still enjoyed ourselves. We camped one night and bailed on the second for a few reasons that I will mention in the trip report. You may want to take advice from others and stick to the lower elevations. Escalante was expecting snow and high winds today.
 

IndyTgrFan

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If House Rock Road is ok, go to White Pocket. You can come in from 89A from Kanab or Fredonia by going over the North Rim. Chrck to make sure that 89A is ok. Thry only plow during the day.

The sand on the roads to White Pocket should be pretty firm with all the moisture. Its free and you can wander around. You could even get to Cottonwood Cove TH just out of the South Coyote Buttes and visit the North and South Teepees.

Maybe even drive to Lee's Ferry and go up the Paria Canyon a ways.
Awesome! Some new places to research. I'm a complete Newbie when it comes to Utah, By your last statement this seems to be "open National Land? is that right?
 

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Stephanie B

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#11
There's plenty to see and do if you're based in Kanab, UT (which is about 1,000 feet lower in elevation than the Escalante area). Assuming House Rock Road is passable, we'd highly recommend hiking around White Pocket. Make sure you get driving directions for it, though. Have fun!
 
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#12
Awesome! Some new places to research. I'm a complete Newbie when it comes to Utah, By your last statement this seems to be "open National Land? is that right?
You do not need a permit for those areas at all. I guess it is ok to camp at the trailhead of both places, but I doubt campfires are allowed. They are in the Vermilion Cliffs Natl Monument. Roads can be A little confusing, but you can pick up a map in Kanab or probably even in St George at the Vermilion Cliffs visited center there.
 
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#13
Now that you are looking at down there:
Yellow Rock
Hackberry Canyon
West Clark Bench (Edamaiers Secret)
Wire Pass (self issue permit for dayhike)
 

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