Hiking Grand Staircase-Escalante & the Glen Canyon Region
by Ron Adkison (Falcon Guides)
© Ron Adkison/Falcon Guides. All Rights Reserved.
My friend Diana and I hiked this trail in the middle of June this year. It was amazing. We lucked out on weather with no rain to live up to all the flash flood hype. The water level was very low and some of the 'reliable springs' were dried up. in fact we missed the last two on the BLM map. Advice: make sure you arrange your shuttle a head of time as the drive from Lee's Ferry back up to Whitehouse is about a hour. Also consider getting up early, hiking until it gets unbearably hot and then having a siesta until the shade comes back. If you can you should DEFINETLY day hike to the wave and down into Buckskin Gultch. I didnt make it to the wave but deeply regret it. If you cant buy a permit don't worry as the parking lot for buckskin and the wave is the same and the rangers dont really check. Milage is a bit condensed in the begining and the end it not as dry or as difficult as the guidbooks make it sound.
I took this hike with my daughter from March 30 to April 3, 2005. The weather was beautiful, but some of the hiking was more rugged than we expected. Hiking through the narrows of the canyon is slow (we had to cross the river over 150 times the first day). The second day of the hike involves more off-river hiking to avoid large boulders. Finally, the last third of the hike involves an extended hike on a bench west of the river and, even in 75 degree weather, it was hot. There was also one tricky ledge and a fair amount of climbing around boulders. The scenery is incredible. There were no insects, a few deer tracks and a lot of lizards. And, by all means, fill all your water bottles at the last reliable spring! I would also suspect the water levels were higher this year due to record moisture in southern Utah; however, the river was mostly knee deep in its deepest places.
This is an absolutely breath taking hike. The Paria Wilderness offers a stunning display of red cliffs thru a narrow river gorge. We first hiked along the ridge (the upper trail) which is not a trail route described in our trail book but it was a fairly used trail. We were able to see the canyon from above and watch the river below us wind thru the vermillion clifs. We began to wonder how to get down to the river bed since the canyon walls were becoming steeper and there was no way to get down unless we grew wings or slid down a crazy way. My great hiking partner spotted a trail in the distance to get down to the canyon floor. It was very exciting - a steep route with soem deep breaths needed to get down. Not recommended for those afraid of heights!! We then reached the beautiful canyon floor and meandered along beside the river. The views along this hike are stunning. It was relly fun to walk in the river, sludge thru the mud and laugh thru the quicksand! The rocks along the river bed were like ones I have never seen with millions of colors and so smooth like a babies bottom. I hope this review will encourage others to go on this hike. I highly recommend it. Tips: Hat, sunscreen and plan to get your feet wet and have fun!
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