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Thread: The Chute of Muddy Creek 4 day backpacking trip

  1. #1

    The Chute of Muddy Creek 4 day backpacking trip

    I have been wanting to explore the southern part of the San Rafael Swell, and had some free time in May, so I decided to follow the Muddy Creek route that Steve Allen describes in his Canyoneering 2 book. As scheduled, the route takes 6 days, my original plan was to do it in 5 days, skipping the exploration of Chimney Canyon. I ended up doing the route in four days, May 8-11, 2014.

    The route starts at Hondoo Arch, near Tomsich Butte. I did cache one gallon of water along the Hidden Splendor road, as suggested by Allen. Rodents are a minor problem in the San Rafael Swell, but I still didn't want to risk it. You will make your life a lot easier if you do cache some food. Both the Hidden Splendor, as well as the road to Hondoo Arch are fine to drive with a normal car.

    The route follows the Muddy Creek downstream through "The Chute", which is a narrow, (~6ft wide) section of Muddy Creek where the water spans the narrow. The day I hiked through The Chute, the Muddy had a discharge rate of 62 cfs. In the deepest section, the water came up to my waist; I am 5'11". In that section the water was slow moving and the bottom muddy and I did not feel in danger of being pushed over by the water.

    My Merrell Waterpro Manistee shoes were not the right wading footwear. The bottom of the Muddy is, well, muddy, and I often sank above my ankles. Since the Manistee is a completely closed shoe, with a ankle cuff like that of a tennis shoe, the small rocks went in, but never came out. I was emptying my shoes every 20 minutes. Keen sandals would have been much better.

    It took me 6.5 hours to do The Chute and on day 1 I camped at the mouth of Chimney Canyon. Day 2 took me up Mud canyon (the two class 4 chock stones are easily climbed), to my Hidden Splendor Water cache, through Cistern Canyon, and on to the mouth of Ramp Canyon, where I camped. That took 6.5 hours. Allen's plan has you camp at the top of Cistern Canyon.

    Day 3 I hiked from Ramp, to the bottom of Quandary Canyon (1 hour), which was the first water source since my cache the day before. Another 30 minutes took me to Muddy Creek, which I followed upstream for a few hours, past the Hidden Splendor mine, and then up an old mining road, past the Little Susan Mine. Once I reached Chimney Canyon, I decided to stop for my 4th night. I found a few springs in the canyon wash that had been recently used by cattle, that was the only water I found, so what can you do. That day I walked 6 hours. Allen's plan has you camp on Muddy Creek, right after the Hidden Splendor Mine.

    The weather turned windy and rainy that night, and the following morning there was snow on the tops of the surrounding buttes. It was still raining, and with no overhangs to hide under, I quickly packed my things and continued to follow the Pasture Trail (which is an old minding road) to Muddy Creek, then upstream to the trail head where I parked my car. That very muddy section took me 4 hours to complete.

    The loop itself, if done in four days, skipping the exploration of Chimney Canyon, breaks out into hiking times of; Day1: 6.5 hours, Day 2: 6.5 hours, Day 3: 6 hours, and Day 4: 4 hours. Since the terrain is not difficult, hiking 6.5 hours is not an issue. This hike makes a good introductory desert backpacking trip, as the navigation is easy, and if you get into trouble, there are numerous ways to bail out early.

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  2. Likes hikster11, Udink, Sandstone Addiction liked this post
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  4. #2
    I have done most those canyons as day trips except the Chute of Muddy Creek. I would like to do the Chute as a day trip. Did you do this by yourself?

  5. #3
    Yes, I did the trip solo. To get to where Chimney Canyon meets Muddy Creek, will take your 6.5h. It looks like you might be able to then go up Chimney Canyon and take the mining road West of Muddy Creek back to the trail head. That loop would take 10.5h, a very long day trip.

  6. Likes hikster11 liked this post
  7. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by hikster11 View Post
    I have done most those canyons as day trips except the Chute of Muddy Creek. I would like to do the Chute as a day trip. Did you do this by yourself?
    I highly recommend doing this as a float :) Hiking could be fun, but floating it is a blast!
    My YouTube Channel

    "As you journey through life, choose your destination well, but do not hurry there. You will arrive soon enough. Wander the back roads and forgotten path[s] ... Such things are riches for the soul. And if upon arrival, you find that your destination is not exactly as you had dreamed, ... know that the true worth of your travels lies not in where you come to be at journey

  8. #5
    Talk about resurrecting a post from the past... by any chance do you drive a DeLoren?

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