Zion to Arches Hike

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Jammer

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Back in the spring I did another big hike in southern Utah -- this time it was a 44-day trek from Zion to Arches. At 726.5 miles it just happened to be 1.5 miles longer than my Nevada to Colorado Hike many years ago! Note that this includes "total distance walked" and not just trail miles. I've been slow to post much about the trip as I wanted to get the video done first -- and that turned out to take much longer than normal. That was partly due to some distractions, but also because I had so much footage this time including converting bunches of 360-degree footage to normal POV shots (I used this more than anticipated after my Sony NEX-5 died on day 10.) Anyway... I ended up making an extended video trip report and broke it up into 14 segments of about 15 minutes each. I still plan on making the shorter "summary" video and a 360-degree video, but those will have to wait a bit longer. So... if you'd like check out the video series...

Here's the link to the full playlist on YouTube: https://goo.gl/cdC82A
or... here's the first video:


Or... if you'd rather read a trip report (ironically that's what I usually prefer), below is a summary of the trip. I haven't even added this to my site yet, but plan to do so soon along with more details, maps, and photo galleries, etc.

Part 1: The Zion Traverse (April 18th, 2018)
The trip began with a cross-country stretch to get into the Kolob Canyons and then an unexpected snowstorm. I left the snow behind as I made my way down the West Rim and crossed Zion Canyon to climb up the East Rim. I made my first-ever trip out to Cable Mountain Viewpoint and then after failing to find a new route down into East Canyon, I retraced my steps back to the East Rim Trail to get down to Checkerboard Mesa area.
Part01_3up.jpg



Part 2: The Barracks
I’ve gone through the Barracks three times now and it has never failed to disappoint. I explored a few of the side canyons as I made my way out to near Mt. Carmel Junction where I had my first cache of the trip.
Part02_3up.jpg



Part 3: Up the Grand Staircase
Leaving Diana’s Throne I dropped down into Red Canyon and Peekaboo Slot (and had to climb out due to an obstacle and re-enter lower down canyon!) A cross-country stretch took me along the White Cliffs up to Skutumpah Canyon which I took up to intersect the backroad by the same name. Then I went up Meadow Canyon toward the Pink Cliffs — the top layer of the Grand Staircase geological formation.
Part03_3up.jpg


Part 4: Bryce to the Paria
Picked up the Grand View Trail in the Dixie National Forest and followed it up to Bryce Canyon National Park. After climbing up to Rainbow Point, I dropped back down on the Under-the-Rim trail before exiting the park to camp where I awoke the next morning to several inches of new snow! The snow soon turned to rain as I made my way down to Bull Valley Gorge where I had my next cache. The slot canyon was a muddy mess, so I decided to road-walk over to Willis Creek. It was a continuous day of rain as I made my way down through the Willis Creek Narrows and on to the Paria.
Part04_3up.jpg


Part 5: The Upper Paria
When the sun finally came out I took advantage of the opportunity by hanging my gear out to dry and doing some side hikes to an awesome balanced rock and a canyon known as Red Slot. Back with my gear I continued down the Paria to Deer Creek to see the rock art and then eventually to the colorful-stripped hills and the Old Pahreah Townsite.
Part05_3up.jpg


Part 6: Yellow Rock to Wahweap Hoodoos
Followed a new-to-me route from the Paria to Yellow Rock before making my way over to Coyote Canyon where I did an exploratory route down. The next day I followed some “administrative” backroads through a barren landscape before arriving at the amazing Wahweap Hoodooss.
Part06_3up.jpg


Part 7: The Kaiparowits Plateau
After a dry and fairly miserable few days through the southern canyons of the Kaiparowits, I ditched my planned route and instead headed back to the Hayduke Trail where I knew what to expect including the limited (but reliable) water sources. Checked out Wind Window Arch atop Fiftymile Mountain for the first time and then followed the original Middle Trail down to Hurricane Wash.
Part07_3up.jpg


Part 8: Coyote Gulch and Stevens Canyon
Another fun trip through the scenic (and popular) Coyote Gulch. Once at the Escalante River I made my way up into Stevens Arch before continuing up the ledges of Stevens Canyon looking for the way back down to the canyon floor. Unable to find the route, I eventually had to backtrack through the arch and to the Escalante before going up Stevens Canyon from the bottom as I’ve done before.
Part08_3up.jpg


Part 9: Capitol Reef to Bullfrog
After making my way over the Waterpocket Fold via the Baker Route, I went up Halls Creek and through the narrows which was not nearly as eventful as the last time I was there (the small flash flood of 2015). North of the narrows I took the Airfield Route to exit Capitol Reef National Park and made my way over to Bullfrog Canyon. An unexpected obstacle required a detour to the south and then a short hitch to the marina where I got my next re-supply.
Part09_3up.jpg


Part 10: Swett Creek and around Lake Powell
North of Ticaboo I followed a backroad up Shootamaring Canyon and past a uranium mine and several dead cows. Past the saddle of the Henrys I made my way over to Swett Creek where I descended down through the narrows and eventually to Lake Powell where I followed the northern shore around and to the North Wash area. Got an extremely fortunate assist from @Nick so I didn’t have to pound the pavement (again) over to the area near Hite.
Part10_3up.jpg


Part 11: Dark Canyon to Fable Valley
Enjoyed being back to a good water source when I finally got to the bottom of Dark Canyon. After several dips in the great stream, I headed up Youngs Canyon. I was confronted with a bit of a navigation challenge, but finally made it up and out of the canyon, over the plateau, and down a string of dryfalls to get into lower Fable Valley.
Part11_3up.jpg


Part 12: Through the Needles
From Gypsum Creek I headed through Beef Basin and then took a detour from my planned route and headed through Ruin Park — where I enjoyed seeing a few ruins. I followed the Jeep road past the southern entrance of Canyonlands National Park and to the Needles. I had a blast doing the Joint Trail again after 20+ years and seeing Chesler Park before dropping into Elephant Canyon and doing a side hike to Druid Arch. Instead of heading over to Salt Creek via Peek-a-boo as planned, I decided to make a beeline for the campground and then on to Needles Outpost where I had another re-supply package waiting.
Part12_3up.jpg


Part 13: Hayduke North from Canyonlands
After a short diversion from Needles Outpost I picked up the Hayduke Route again in “We-Hope-So” Wash before climbing out and following the remote ridges over to Indian Creek and then up Rustler to the Lockhart Basin area. Was fortunate to get more water in Lockhart Canyon before re-connecting with the Jeep road which I followed to southwest of Moab.
Part13_3up.jpg


Part 14: The Final Stretch to Arches
From the Chicken Corners area I continued on the Hayduke along the Jeep road north until leaving it to take a new-to-me route up through Jackson’s Hole and up to Amasa’s Back. Had an amazing final camp where I got to see the final sun on the Behind the Rocks area. Took Jackson’s Trail down to Kane Springs Canyon where I followed the road to Moab, walked through the town, and then into the southern end of Arches National Park. After a short stroll up Lower Courthouse Wash, I met up with my parents and the hike was over! After that I joined them in seeing some of the “touristy” spots in the park just to complete the experience.
Part14_3up.jpg



Zion_to_Arches_Map_Overview.jpg
 
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Dave

Broadcaster, formerly "ashergrey"
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Sooo many little stories that I'm sure this summary glosses over. Respect for all of the research and sweat you pour into these journeys. It was cool to actually see you "in the wild."
 

Perry

Formerly Cuberant
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I watched every video as you released them. Couldn’t wait for the next one to be posted. Loved ‘em!

Thank you for sharing your passion. Most inspiring!


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Reef&Ruins

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As always... you inspire with your TRs.

I'm especially interested in more info on this:
"North of the narrows I took the Airfield Route to exit Capitol Reef National Park..."

I'll have to look through your videos and site to find this part of this trip. I want to go to the Halls Creek Narrows and back via this route but I've got my hiking buddy, aka Dad, to convince it can be done.
 

Titans

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Epic x 44 !!!!! That was some shitty cold damp weather from Bryce to upper Paria.... I watched the videos through to Wahweap Hoodoos and no... that did't count as a bath in Wahweap creek, but fun to watch ;) I will watch the remaining videos later this week.
Yah, we hiked into Wahweap on December 3, 2017 - "the day before"... On our way out, we passed a sign indicating we were : "leaving the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument". Literally the next day December 4, 2017 Wahweap Hoodoos was removed from the monument and the sign we saw meant something different, Wahweap was leaving the monument. Very sad.
 
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slc_dan

Desert Rat-Weekend Warrior
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I too have been watching every video as it comes out. I loved following along, and know how much is missed even in this longer form videos.

Another incredible, imaginative hike complete. Keep it up. You are an inspiration.
 

Jammer

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I'm especially interested in more info on this:
"North of the narrows I took the Airfield Route to exit Capitol Reef National Park..."
.
I think Kelsey covers this in one of his books. It's just another way to the HC Narrows that saves a few miles compared to the Halls Creek Overlook route. It's a bit more of a scramble, but nothing technical or really scary. It's marked with cairns, but not that well.
 

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Titans

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Thanks all.

I have to wonder... was it a coincidence that YouTube went down shortly after I posted this here on BCP?! :)
No coincidence @Jammer :cool: ... it's so awesome! And I got nothing else done all morning, couldn't stop watching until I had an appointment and was forced to leave the screen and rush out the door. Epic footage, love it.
 

Nick

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Like I said to you privately this week, I think this is your best hike video yet. And not just because I made a brief appearance! Seriously, awesome work. Waiting between episodes was a little painful, but breaking it up like this was awesome. It may be your last big hike, but I'm really glad it won't be your last video.
 

chandlerwest

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This morning I thought I would just watch the Zion Traverse video. Here it is 5:40 PM and I have made it to Arches. Somewhere along the way I moved from the computer into the Lazy Boy in front of the TV.) All I can say is THANK YOU for every step you made, from planning to post production.
 
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Perry

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Thanks all.

I have to wonder... was it a coincidence that YouTube went down shortly after I posted this here on BCP?! ;)
So that was *you* who crashed YouTube!! Awesome !


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Reef&Ruins

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I think Kelsey covers this in one of his books. It's just another way to the HC Narrows that saves a few miles compared to the Halls Creek Overlook route. It's a bit more of a scramble, but nothing technical or really scary. It's marked with cairns, but not that well.
Yes, only briefly... because that's Mike Kelsey. There are a few reports on the interwebs, but photos and video like you have got tells more about what one is likely to encounter, so thanks a bunch for what you have up.
 

chandlerwest

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In your Zion Traverse video you mentioned having wanted to get over to Jug Handle Arch. I have been out the way you were looking and getting to the arch isn't a benign route. You might have the skills but I didn't. The arch sits on the side of an island. If it is reachable at all it is via a broken saddle of cliffs. Even if you get to the island the view of the arch is quite limited. The island can be reach fairly easy from below though....by crossing Keyhole Canyon then trudging up a boulder ramp..
 

Jammer

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In your Zion Traverse video you mentioned having wanted to get over to Jug Handle Arch. I have been out the way you were looking and getting to the arch isn't a benign route. You might have the skills but I didn't. The arch sits on the side of an island. If it is reachable at all it is via a broken saddle of cliffs. Even if you get to the island the view of the arch is quite limited. The island can be reach fairly easy from below though....by crossing Keyhole Canyon then trudging up a boulder ramp..
Yep -- I was hesitant talking about that because I didn't want people to think it was a confirmed route (I state I wasn't sure, but edited out more detail about it.) I have been up to the arch from the bottom and then up around the bend to the spot I was trying to connect. From where I got stopped I could see a way down to the lower ledge that looked fairly straight-forward. As it was late in the day, I turned around there as the route was out of the way and the brush was a pain with the big pack and... there is still one small stretch in between those spots that I can't confirm is passable. See the pic below. I expect it looks more sketchy in the photo than in reality, but... I can't say that for sure until I walk it!

Above_Jughandle_Arch.jpg

Here's a shot from Google Maps calling out some of the key locations.

AboveJughandleArchRoute.jpg


I might try it as a day-hike next year, but otherwise... I'm hoping somebody else will give the route a go and report back! :)
 

chandlerwest

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I hadn't even considered having the drop in that far north. I just eyeballed it from that wedge of a point above your previous turn around place, Hum......I can't see me going for it. Not enough reward......ha. I DO want to try to get as far up into Keyhole Canyon down below!!
 

CTTim

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Fantastic videos. Watched from start to finish in one sitting. Couldn't wait to get to next episode. Made me elated seeing the portions that I have hiked and long for the majority that I have not. The part where you started sweating profusely after drinking all the water that Nick gave you made me laugh out loud. The tribute to your grandfather was perfect. Content like this is the reason I visit this site every day. Thanks Jammer!
 

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