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Thread: Looking for input on April backpacking trip S Utah

  1. #1

    Looking for input on April backpacking trip S Utah

    Heading out April 20 - 24 for a backpack excursion. We have previously been in Dark Canyon via the Sundance Trail twice and Grand Gulch twice. We always have a dog with us too. We are in good shape and quite athletic. I have been looking at several options for this year's trip and would like input/feedback/suggestions. Oh yeah, and we love swimming holes!

    Fish & Owl Creek: Are we going to be bombarded by other people? I get the idea that this is a fairly high traffic area.

    Death Hollow/Escalante area: Is the water going to be too high for the dog this early in the season? Is the water going to be a pain in the ass this early in the season?

    Dark Canyon Wilderness area from Woodenshoe trail: Is getting over rabbit ears pass this early in the season going to be a problem? What is water like in this area?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  3. #2
    Outdoor Guru shaggy125's Avatar
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    Another option would be hike down Forty Mile Gulch (absolutely fabulous) to the confluence with Willow. Explore down to the lake (swimming hole?) as well as up that first side canyon in Willow (pretty sure the lake isn't high enough to impede you from getting there) Hike out Willow and loop back to the car. Forty Mile has a few neck deep wades/possible swimmers, unless you have serious stemming skills with a heavy backpack on. It flows year round, so you always have pump-able water. Hiking near the lake level when it is at its lowest (usually in April) can sometimes be sloppy, but is usually doable. Watch for quicksand.


  4. #3
    Dogs in Grand Gulch?? Last I knew they were not allowed in most of the main canyons on Cedar Mesa....better check with BLM on that one. I know dogs aren't allowed in Coyote, I believe they are allowed in most (GSENM) but may need to be leashed though, may want to check with GSENM on that too. Personally I dont like seeing them in canyons....but if they are allowed..........can't say much about it. Dogs just cause to much impact in canyon country. Bears Ears is iffy that time of year, right at the top there is a North facing section of road that drifts in deep and long.

  5. #4
    Howdy! Going into the Gulch at that time might be busy, but you could always car camp and do day hikes, seeing you only have 4 days.
    Upper Dark Canyon will be accessible through BEARS EARS and it's really nice up there. There's plenty of water in the canyons. Check with the rangers at Natural Bridges or Kane Gulch to see if the road is open.
    Death Hollow might be too tough for a dog, unless it's a real badass. I've seen plenty of dogs in the lower Escalante and I certainly don't mind them, but you'll probably get some stinkeye from the militant purists. Screw 'em. For years outdoor guru Steve Allen backpacked into the most pristine wilderness with his dog and if it was O.K. with him, it's O.K. with me. Swimming holes? If you're in the Escalante area make sure you visit Calf Creek. It's dog friendly, too. Otherwise, head back to lower Dark, via Sundance. Have fun!!!

  6. #5
    GSENM dog-policy is no dogs in Coyote, and must be on leash on the Lower Calf Creek Falls Trail and within Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. I think you're good elsewhere in the park.
    Here's the GSENM info page about dogs: http://www.blm.gov/ut/st/en/fo/grand...the_gsenm.html

  7. #6
    Bogley BigShot oldno7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shaggy125 View Post
    Another option would be hike down Forty Mile Gulch (absolutely fabulous) to the confluence with Willow. Explore down to the lake (swimming hole?) as well as up that first side canyon in Willow (pretty sure the lake isn't high enough to impede you from getting there) Hike out Willow and loop back to the car. Forty Mile has a few neck deep wades/possible swimmers, unless you have serious stemming skills with a heavy backpack on. It flows year round, so you always have pump-able water. Hiking near the lake level when it is at its lowest (usually in April) can sometimes be sloppy, but is usually doable. Watch for quicksand.

    Willow/40 mile would be good and you pick up broken bow arch.

    The swimming hole in lower willow had filled in last year(June)

    Can't see getting more than a couple nights in there though.

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