Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails
by David Day (Rincon Publishing)
© David Day/Rincon Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
Looped this trial as a day hike. Make sure you have a 4x4 to get to the end of the road. Very deep sand (I had to leave my car at the split). The hike down to the confluence was excellent and gave a fantastic view of Steven's Arch that you see on entry from the Crack. The canyon is never monotonous with all the different features, but don't plan on climbing in at Jacob Hamlin. The climb out is very doable, but I wouldn't have wanted to go the other way. If you're not afraid of heights, peer back in from the top for a dramatically different view.
This was my first overnight backpacking trip. I probably should have had more experience to do this, but I made it. As the previous post suggested, rope does come in handy. We were able to lower our pack to the floor at the crack and also used it to climb out. We were able to climb free of the extra weight of our packs, and then pull them up point to point. We camped overnight and made 1 1/2 days out of it. Wear hiking shoes for the land part and sandals or water shoes for in the creek. I'm not sure how much the creek depth changes but you could not keep your feet dry in the season we went. There are two pit toilets along the trail. Very much to see... arches, other unique rock formations, wildflowers, native art, small water falls.
I would give this trail a 5 for best if it didn't almost kill me on three separate occasions. First off the road from where you are supposed to leave your first car to the actual trail head is nothing but at least ankle deep sand and about 3 miles or so of it really tough if you didn't bring your shuttle vehicle. I was dumb enough to hike in the mid day sun in July in this. I strongly suggest not doing this hike in the summer or at least start as early as humanly possible. Once in the canyon the heat didn't bother me as much with the creek to cool off in. Also make sure to bring some sort of rope its very difficult to get through the crack in the rock because its near impossible to pull your pack through you'll wanna drop it down then continue through. Also at the end of the trail the climb out is pretty brutal if you haven't rocked climbed before don't take this risk. With a pack on it was scary as hell. These "foot holds" the indians made are nothing more than very shallow depressions no deeper than your palm. While the author says the first 20 feet or so are the most challenging the next 300 will kill you if you aren't in shape. Also this is another great place that rope may come in handy. That being said this this is one of the most beautiful and amazing hikes i have ever done. There is just something magical about these deep canyons of Utah. If you are comfortable with some rock climbing then take this trip you wont regret it. Just make sure to be well prepared and carefully plan your trip. Don't take this trail lightly I found it to be much more difficult than this author portrayed. But I cant wait to go back, to face that canyon with more confidence and prowess, just better prepared this time.
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