Utah's Incredible Backcountry Trails
by David Day (Rincon Publishing)
© David Day/Rincon Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
If you don't have two vehicles, the Zion Adventrue Company will provide a shuttle to the trailhead of this point to point adventure. Make sure that you start early enough, and you give yourself plenty of breaks during the day as the hardest part of the hike is the last 8 or so miles. As long as you traverse the plateau, there is very little elevation gain or loss. However, once you enter the canyons, the trail changes dramatically. The views are best in the park and the experience is unforgettable. Two experienced hiker buddies completed the trail in under 8 hrs.
Planned as a 2 day hike with reservations for Potato Hollow campsite, site #8. The trail starts as a very mild downward grade and continues in this manner for most of the first few miles, taking you through a meadowy valley. Grasses on either side of the trail were waist to chest high and eerily silent, but amazing to watch sway in the wind. We arrived at our campsite at about 11:30, but decided to continue on since at this point the hike had been rather light. After potato hollow there is a much steeper uphill section that puts you on the top of Horsepasture Plateau. From there, there is a fork in the trail where you can take the Telephone Canyon loop or continue on the West Rim. We chose to stay on the West Rim trail and were treated to some amazing canyon views. There is an overlook that has some felled trees for benches that were a great spot for lunch. Shortly after, the descent began off of Horsepasture Plateau. The descent began as the temp was starting to hit its peak and at the same time as the trail transitions from prairie/woods in to canyon. At times the descent was difficult, but this is likely due to breaking in of new boots and that I am a flatlander. As you are nearing the end, you run into "Walter's Wiggles", a series of switchbacks that are shared with the trail to Angel's Landing. I carried 120 oz water and ran out with about 2 miles remaining. There are springs, but it seemed that after the springs is where we began to consume most of the water. Great experience.
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