Hiking Canyonlands and Arches National Parks
by Bill Schneider (Falcon Guides)
© 2017 Bill Schneider/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
We started the hike rather late (1:00 PM) and finished just in time before it was dark (8:00 PM). We could have finished sooner, but were taking our time in the beginning. There was absolutely nobody else on the trail besides us. We saw a lot of people at the trail head (parking area), but I assume they went to the other easier Murphy Point overlook trail. It was VERY quiet the whole time. No life, bugs, water flowing or anything making any noise. If you stop moving, it was just dead silence. It was like you were in a different world. It was very beautiful and scenic. The only natural sound that occurred was the thunder and rain that happened for a moment on the way back. It was a refreshing way to end the hike. It was unlike any other hike I've been on. I should have put eye drops beforehand because my eyes were really red almost bloodshot looking afterwards because of the sand and dryness.
We turned left at the trail junction (Murphy Wash) and wondered why most guides suggest you to go right first. If you go right (Murphy Hogback), you see great views in front of you as you hike towards White Rim Road. Then as you take the White Rim Road to the Wash, you are going downhill rather than uphill.
Our experience with going the Wash route first is that it is very rocky, but that way you get the hard part out of the hike first. Then you hike uphill on White Rim Road (it is steep, but after doing it we didn't think it was that bad). Then at the end of the hike on the Hogback, you have a pleasant "cool down" hike on top of the mesa.
Climbing up the 1100 foot area to the Island in the Sky seemed impossible but it wasn't so bad afterwards. I was really impressed on how the trail was engineered at this part of the trail.
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