Utahand39;s Wilderness Areas The Complete Guide  by Lynna & Leland Howard

Utah's Wilderness Areas: The Complete Guide Guide Book

by Lynna & Leland Howard (Westcliffe Publishers)
Utahand39;s Wilderness Areas The Complete Guide  by Lynna & Leland Howard
Packed with useful facts and advice, Utah's Wilderness Areas: The Complete Guide is the most comprehensive guidebook covering the state's wilderness lands, both designated and proposed. Utah's several million acres of wilderness encompass deep sandstone canyons, thousand-foot-tall cliffs, and high alpine terrain - and this book helps outdoor adventurers tour them safely, reliably, and intelligently. Within these pages are profiles of 109 designated and proposed Wilderness Areas, as well as national parks, monuments, and recreation areas. Brilliant color photography and handy maps illustrate the author's meticulously crafted text peppered with wry wit. The result is an eye-grabbing guide that is both functional and a pleasure to read.

© 2005 Lynna and Leland Howard/Westcliffe Publishers. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Utah's Wilderness Areas: The Complete Guide" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 40.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 40.

Arches National Park is located 5 miles north of Moab. Of the five national parks in Utah, Arches is the one most dominated by domesticated “frontcountry.” Nevertheless, park administrators now estimate that more than 70,000 acres have wilderness characteristics. The increase in recommended wilderness acreage comes from several sources, including the addition of Lost Spring Canyon’s 3,140 acres, expiration of some mineral and grazing leases, and the exchange of school trust lands within the park for other lands. Natural stone openings are found all over the Colorado Plateau, and in other parts of the world where easily erodable stone weathers into semistable arches. But no place on earth can match Arches National Park for the dense concentration of these strangely graceful formations. Depending on what your criteria are for a measurable arch, there are about 900 stone windows, doorways, and eyes in the park. This trail guide includes descriptions of Lower Courthouse Wash.
Moab, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 5.3
Ashdown Gorge is a small but unique wilderness area next door to Cedar Breaks National Monument. Locals use the area during the hunting season, but otherwise it receives few visitors. You’re more likely to share the trail with yellow-bellied marmots, Clark’s nutcrackers, mule deer, and Steller’s jays. Bristlecone pines, Douglas fir, and lodgepole pines are the dominant flora. High elevations mean long winters with deep snow. The lower portion of Ashdown Gorge melts out at least a month before the highest elevations. Access roads to the highcountry usually open in May and close in October. This trail guide includes descriptions of Potato Hollow trail to Ashdown Creek, Twisted Forest Trail, and Rattlesnake Trailhead to Potato Hollow Trailhead.
Cedar City, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 15.5
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Beaver Dam Wash is the lowest point in Utah, making it a good bet for early season hiking. Spring was in full force when we visited in April. Prickly pear cactus was in bloom, and even the Joshua trees were softened by spring green. The only improved campground is at the Virgin River Gorge Recreation Area, right off I-15, about 15 miles south of St. George. Primitive camping along Cedar Pockets Rd. and along dirt roads that flank the northern border is available wherever you can find a flat spot. Bring your own water. From the Virgin River Campground, many paths, some of them marked simply as “trail,” lead to the river. These obvious trails bordered with rocks disappear in a few hundred yards, as soon as they reach the flash-flood plain.
Saint George, UT - Hiking
Three BLM-administered study areas are practically in the town of Moab’s backyard. Behind the Rocks WSA is southwest of town, and as the name implies, it hides behind a band of rocky cliffs that parallel US 191. Mill Creek Canyon lies between Moab and Castle Valley, east of US 191. Negro Bill Canyon is Mill Creek Canyon’s northern neighbor, northeast of Moab. All three areas are rich in two qualities: bare rock and excellent restaurants nearby. Raptors are as common over the rocky backcountry as mountain bikers are on the streets of Moab. Bikes and jeeps are not allowed within the boundaries of the WSAs, but traffic can be intense on surrounding bike trails and jeep roads. Some of the fins and buttresses within the WSAs are suitable for rock climbing, so expect to see rockclimbing species as well. This trail guide includes descriptions of Hidden Valley Trail (Plus Off-Trail Exploration of Redrock Fins).
Moab, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 3
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Black Ridge Canyons Wilderness and Westwater Canyon WSA are both on the Utah-Colorado border, next door to each other. All of the wilderness study areas in the Green River Complex are reasonably close. These wilderness areas are on the very edge of the terrain where the Rocky Mountains Ecoregion ends and the Colorado Plateau Ecoregion begins. Both areas are semiarid, but are cut by rivers and streams, with a moderately thick covering of piñon-juniper forest on the plateaus. Redrock canyons are incised into the plateaus, with seven major drainages in Black Ridge and three in Westwater. Alcoves, pinnacles, and other erosional features are displayed in the Wingate Sandstone cliffs. Great blue herons nest along the Colorado River, and two endangered raptors cruise the skies, the bald eagle and the peregrine falcon. This trail guide includes descriptions of Jones Canyon Trail.
Cisco, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 4
Death Hollow is in the high country where the Escalante River has its headwaters. The Escalante and all its tributary streams feed the Colorado River in Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. More than 6,000 feet in elevation change from the Aquarius Plateau to the Colorado River makes for some deeply incised canyons. “The Box” of Box–Death Hollow Wilderness is a narrow canyon holding Pine Creek in its tight confines. In places the walls of The Box are 1,500 feet high. At its upper elevations, Douglas fir and ponderosa pine forests provide an almost impenetrable shade. Douglas firs give way to scattered ponderosas, aspens, wild roses, and finally sagebrush and cottonwoods as hikers descend along the creek. Hiking The Box requires multiple creek crossings. In the spring, snowmelt swells the creek and boulder-hopping is much more difficult. The ability to walk narrow and shaky logs is helpful. Later in the season, when high water abates, the hike is easier and temperatures are still tolerable, especially in the shaded upper portion. This 8-mile day hike is the only official trail in Box–Death Hollow Wilderness. This trail guide includes descriptions of Upper Calf Creek Falls, Lower Calf Creek Falls, and Boulder Mail Trail.
Boulder, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 20
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When we hiked in Bryce Canyon, I frequently heard the distinctive rumble of a rock avalanche beginning and ducked under an overhang in time to escape a small shower of stones and dirt. Erosion! The major force at work was brought powerfully home. Horizontal beds of limestone, sandstone, and shale on the eastern edge of Paunsaugunt Plateau are so erosion prone that a mind-numbing array of fins, turrets, pinnacles, and spires has formed. Spires and pillars stand as tall as 1,000 feet and are surrounded by a wild architecture of natural forms resembling cathedrals, temples, ruins, dragons, gargoyles, and every other form that may come to the imaginative mind. This trail guide includes descriptions of Riggs Spring Loop Trail.
Tropic, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 8.7
In this chapter we visit three wilderness study areas attached to the southern and eastern sides of Canyonlands National Park. Adjacent lands within the national park are also being considered for wilderness designation, so these small parcels of BLM land are part of a larger picture. The nearest town is Monticello, at the intersection of US 191 and US 491 (formerly US 666). Moab is about 40 miles north of that. All of these areas are typical of high desert environments on the Colorado Plateau. Water is very scarce, with the exception of Indian Creek. Piñon-juniper woodlands have a shaky hold on the higher elevations. Sagebrush and drought-resistant grasses grow wherever they can find a toehold in the rocks. Mule deer, bighorn sheep, and the usual cadres of lizards, snakes, and insects find these deserts to their liking. Elaborate and highly scenic sandstone rock formations are the biggest draw for human visitors. Mountain bikers, hikers, and jeep enthusiasts can find solitude if they work their way off the main roads. Indian Creek, with its riparian areas, offers contrast to the desert.
Moab, UT - Hiking
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Canaan Mountain and Parunuweap Canyon Wilderness Study Areas are extensions of the slickrock plateaus and deep canyons of their neighbor, Zion National Park. Canaan Mountain is south of Zion and Parunuweap is east of it. The Canaan Mountain plateau is high enough to support scattered groves of aspens and ponderosa pines, in addition to the usual piñon-juniper woodlands. South of Canaan Mountain, in Arizona, lies the Cottonwood Point Wilderness. This trail guide includes descriptions of Squirrel Canyon, and Checkboard Mesa Area to Parunweap Canyon.
Mount Carmel Junction, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 10
From Interstate 70 in central Utah, take UT 24 south to Hanksville. Where UT 24 turns west, follow it to the Capitol Reef National Park entrance. The highway crosses the park and exits on the west near Torrey. Near the park entrance on the west side, there are motels, restaurants, gas stations, and other facilities, including horse and mountain-bike rentals. The “frontcountry” of Capitol Reef National Park lies mostly along the access roads, with the backcountry being accessible only by hiking and, in some cases, by horseback. This trail guide includes descriptions of Sulphur Creek.
Torrey, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 6.2
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Both the designated wilderness the adjacent instant study area (ISA) have the same name, Dark Canyon. The tributaries of Dark Canyon are Black Steer, Youngs, Lost, and Lean-To Canyons—all of which can be explored as side trips of a Dark Canyon expedition. Fable Valley is part of the Dark Canyon ISA Complex administered by the BLM, but it’s a tributary of Gypsum Canyon, accessible from the Dark Canyon Plateau but not from the main canyon. Cheesebox Canyon, part of the White Canyon area near Natural Bridges National Monument, is separated from the Dark Canyon area by dirt access roads and a ridge of highcountry. This trail guide includes descriptions of Sundance Trailhead to Dark Canyon, Woodenshoe, Dark, and Peavine Canyons, and Horse Pasture Canyon to Scorup Cabin.
Blanding, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 53.5
Deep Creek Mountains and Fish Springs Wilderness Study Areas are about 90 miles from Nephi, on I-15, and about 50 miles from Wendover, on I-80. The Rockwell WSA is less isolated, only about 28 miles from Nephi and adjacent to the Little Sahara Recreation Area. This trail guide includes descriptions of Granite Creek Canyon.
Callao, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 6
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Most of the area west of Salt Lake City is blasted by summer heat, a blank canvas for winter winds, and largely waterless (except for the enormous, shallow saline pond of Great Salt Lake, three times saltier than the ocean). No streams reach the sea from this area. The Stansbury Mountains are a 30-mile-long oasis of rugged beauty in this salt desert, especially in the spring. The mountains are named after U.S. Army Capt. Howard Stansbury, who led a surveying party around Great Salt Lake in 1849. Deseret Peak, 11,031 feet high, dominates the skyline for hundreds of miles. From its crest, the Skull Valley Indian Reservation and the military’s Dugway Proving Grounds are visible. The Stansbury Mountains, and Deseret Peak in particular, create their own weather systems and are sometimes shrouded with clouds while the Bonneville Salt Flats to the northwest (famous as a site for setting land speed records) bake under a clear sky. North Stansbury Mountains Wilderness Study Area is about 5 miles north of the designated Deseret Peak Wilderness; Cedar Mountains WSA is about 14 miles to the west. This trail guide includes descriptions of Mill Fork Trail/Deseret Peak.Stansbury Crest Trail, and Ridgewalk South of Hastings Pass.
Timpie, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 13.4
The wilderness study areas in this chapter are all located along or near the Green River, with the exception of Winter Ridge WSA. The Uintah and Ouray Indian Reservation separates Winter Ridge WSA from the Green River corridor. If you look at a Utah highway map, you’ll notice that this entire area appears roadless. I-70 runs along the southern edge, with US 191 to the west and north. In places, Desolation Canyon (cut by the Green River) is 3,000 to 5,000 feet deep. This rugged canyon and its tributaries are not the only extreme terrain that limit access via paved highways. The 250-mile-long Book Cliffs divide the civilized world from this expanse of wilderness study areas. Frequently, boundary lines between wilderness study areas are rough dirt roads suitable for jeeps and other 4WD vehicles with high clearance. This trail guide includes descriptions of Rtrail Canyon to Joe Springs.
Woodside, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.5
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Hiking in the Dirty Devil River corridor gets a lot easier when the water level is low. The year we hiked the canyon, irrigation water was withdrawn from the river beginning April 1, so our early springtime expedition worked out well. In April, the canyon floor was warm, cacti and desert flowers were in bloom, and the muddy river warmed up enough by afternoon to make our numerous fords pleasant. Steep, sheer canyon walls force hikers first to one side of the river, then to the other. When the river is running high, kayaking and inner-tubing the river are popular forms of recreation, with Lake Powell as the destination. Anyone hiking or floating along the river should be certain to camp well above the flash-flood plain. Seventy percent of the Dirty Devil WSA is classified as barren rock, a fact that will give you some idea of the intense contrast between the riparian areas and the Sonoran Desert zone. This trail guide includes descriptions of Dirty Devil, Robbers Roost, and Buck Canyons.
Hanksville, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 25
“Burning,” “Carcass,” “Death”—the names alone alert visitors to the character of these wilderness study areas on the Kaiparowits Plateau. Water is scarce, and the vast landscape conceals dangers for both hikers and motorists. Dirt roads separate these WSAs from each other, but on the ground there’s no way to really tell when you leave one WSA and enter another. This trail guide includes descriptions of Trap Canyon, Left Hand Collet Canyon, and Tommy Smith Creek Canyon.
Escalante, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 15
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This chapter covers the instant study and wilderness study areas in the Grand Gulch–Cedar Mesa region. Although road corridors separate these areas, they have the feel of one large chunk of backcountry. In addition to the four BLM study areas, an adjacent slice of the Glen Canyon NRA along the north side of the San Juan River has been recommended for wilderness. “Cedar Mesa” refers to the Permian Cedar Mesa Sandstone that is the top layer of this broad uplift. The sandstone derives from dunes that drifted there about 300 to 230 million years ago. Many visitors assume the forest of short evergreens that covers much of the mesa are cedar trees, but the plants are actually junipers and piñons. True cedars (Cedrus) are not native to North America. (Trees of wet Northwestern forests that are called cedars are actually arborvitae of the genus Thuja.) This trail guide includes descriptions of Kane Gulch to Turkey Pen Ruin, kane gulch to Bullet Canyon Trailhead, Owl Creek Canyon to Fish Creek Canyon, and Head of Road Canyon Overlook.
Blanding, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 46.7
As you can see from the list of USGS topographical maps given in this chapter, there’s a lifetime of hiking in the Uinta Mountains. The Forest Service map High Uintas Wilderness is adequate unless you plan to do off-trail hiking. If you need the detail of USGS 1:24,000 topos, get the free Index to Utah Topographical Map Coverage from the USGS in order to purchase only the maps you need for your trek. You might want to get topos for surrounding national forest lands that are outside of the designated wilderness. This trail guide includes descriptions of Shutte to East Fork Bear River, and Christmas Meadows to Amethyst Lake.
Kamas, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 30.5
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Horseshoe Canyons South and North are proposed wilderness areas that bracket the Horseshoe Canyon detached unit of Canyonlands National Park. The famous rock art panel “Great Gallery” is the centerpiece of a canyon system that boasts the greatest concentration of Barrier Canyon–style art in the San Rafael Desert. In places, art as old as 5,000 years bears an overlay of more recent rock paintings. Hiking the national park section of the canyon and then continuing south or north into Bureau of Land Management areas offers several advantages. The signed, easy access and marked trail provided by the national park gets you off to a good start, and you are guaranteed a view of some of the best rock art. Leaving the park boundaries means leaving most of the crowds behind—solitude and unimproved campsites that don’t require fees or reservations are the reward for those willing to backpack, or to take longer day hikes. There are no marked trails in the BLM wilderness study areas. This trail guide includes descriptions of Horseshoe Canyon South, Horseshoe Canyon unit of Canyonlands National Park.
Hanksville, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 19
Two peaks form the southeastern terminus of the Henry Mountains, Mount Holmes and Mount Ellsworth. Separated from the rest of the Henry Mountains by an intervening plateau and UT 276, these peaks constitute the Little Rockies WSA. Both the Little Rockies WSA and Fiddler Butte WSA are east of UT 276 in arid terrain that abuts Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. When combined with a visit to proposed wilderness in Glen Canyon NRA, Little Rockies and Fiddler Butte WSAs are well worth the trip. This trail guide includes descriptions of Mount Ellsworth, and Fourmile Canyon.
Hanksville, UT - Hiking - Trail Length: 14.8
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