Fish Creek and Owl Creek Loop

Blanding, Utah 84511

Fish Creek and Owl Creek Loop

Fish Creek and Owl Creek Loop Professional Guide

Detailed Trail Description from our Guidebook

"A multiday loop backpack in two spectacular desert canyons. Both Owl Canyon and Fish Canyon are quite deep and narrow, with an abundance of stark, scenic beauty. During the hike you’ll pass Nevill’s Arch, two unnamed arches, and a few Ancestral Puebloan cliff dwellings and rock-art sites.

Fish Creek and Owl Creek offer an environment quite different from Grand Gulch. While piñon, juniper, and yucca vegetate the gravel and dirt bottoms in Grand Gulch, hiking in Fish and Owl is along a slickrock streambed in the upper canyon areas and along sand-cemented gravel near the junction. Vegetation ranges from yucca, prickly pear, piñon, and juniper to the spectacular ponderosa pine and manzanita groves in upper Fish Creek."

More Fish Creek and Owl Creek Loop Professional Guides

Detailed Trail Descriptions from Our Guidebooks

Hiking Grand Staircase-Escalante & the Glen Canyon Region (Falcon Guides)
Ron Adkison
View more trails from this guide book
"Fish Creek Canyon, the principal drainage on the eastern flanks of Cedar Mesa, winds southeast from its headwaters draw below South Long Point, on Elk Ridge, for nearly 20 miles to where the drainage empties into broad Comb Wash, a major southeast Utah tributary to the San Juan River. This memorable circuit follows rugged Owl Creek Canyon, a Fish Creek tributary, down to its confluence with Fish Creek, then loops back to the trailhead via the latter canyon and the mesa top. Both canyons are among the most spectacular drainages in the Cedar Mesa region, and this rewarding trip is an excellent alternative to the more popular Grand Gulch. Although this trip is gaining in popularity, only experienced canyon country hikers should attempt it."
100 Classic Hikes Utah (The Mountaineers Books)
Julie K. Trevelyan
View more trails from this guide book
"On the east side of the road that bisects the area, Owl Creek Canyon and Fish Creek Canyon differ from Grand Gulch in that they are deeper, steeper, and more slickrocky, and they have perennial streams flowing through their bottoms."

Fish Creek and Owl Creek Loop Trip Reports

4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
icon2 Total
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
Hiked the trail owl to fish creek with two dogs. The trail was fairly easy to follow with plenty of water sources. There were some spots where the dogs struggle, especially getting out of the canyon on the fish creek side. Overall enjoyable experience.
4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars4 out of 5 stars
You must obtain a permit from the Kane Gulch ranger station 5 miles prior to the trail head to camp overnight in these canyons.

This is a moderate hike with the drop into and the climb out of these canyons being strenuous. I would recommend walking the 1.7 miles to the drop in point at the top of Fish Creek canyon and using a rope to lower your pack 10 feet down then carefully follow the cairns to make your way down to the canyon floor. There are many places to camp in both canyons but most of the water seems to be towards the top of both canyons in October. Bring binoculars if you want to see the bulk of the cliff dwelling ruins or wall art.

Although the trip can be done with only 2 nights in the canyon I would recommend 3 nights if you really want to explore the canyon. Map skills are also important for this trip as the trail can be a bit questionable at times.

Fish Creek and Owl Creek Loop Photos

Show off your photography skills ... post your pics of this trail!

Trail Information

Nearby City
Trail Type
Moderate to Difficult
Skill Level
Spring and fall
6,150 feet
Trailhead Elevation
Top Elevation
Additional Use
Monticello Field Office, BLM
Local Contacts
USGS Snowflat Spring Cave, USGS South Long Point, USGS Bluff NW, National Geographic Trails Illustrated Grand Gulch Plateau Map, Southeastern Utah Multipurpose Map
Local Maps

Trail Log