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Canyons of the Paria: Lick Wash to Park Wash

Southern Utah Wanderings | Monday & Tuesday, October 5-6, 2020

After completing our loop through the Upper Paria River and Sheep Creek in the afternoon, we picked up my Jeep from near Dunham Spring and then drove into Tropic for dinner and fuel. We planned to hike Lick Wash in the morning since we wanted to make Tuesday an easier day, so after finishing up in Tropic we headed down the Skutumpah Road to find somewhere to camp closer to the trailhead. The first part of the Skutumpah Road was pretty washboarded with some deep potholes full of ‘moon dust‘ but once we got past the trailhead for Bull Valley Gorge (which has a brand new concrete bridge over the canyon) the road conditions were greatly improved and we were able to make better time. Both of us were both surprised to see a couple of low clearance sedans on the road and wondered how they made it through some of the rougher sections?

After passing the trailhead for Lick Wash in Dry Valley we decided to drive up Deer Springs Point Road and hoped to find a campsite at an overlook near the end. Unfortunately, what we found was a road that was narrow, sandy, rutted and rougher than we anticipated, and it didn’t even go to the edge of the mesa and just kind of ended in the middle of nowhere. All that new pinstriping on our Jeeps for nothing! It is definitely not a road I would ever feel the need to drive again. We figured that as long as we had already driven all the way up there that we might as well hike to the edge for a view just before sunset, so we found a spot to park and hiked through the forest to the edge of the mesa.

A sunset view from the top of the White Cliffs overlooking Nephi Pasture.

Atop The White Cliffs

Looking straight down below the edge of the mesa to a wash that flows into Deer Spring Wash.

Deer Spring Wash

The view across Nephi Pasture to Little No Mans Mesa and Timber Mountain.

Nephi Pasture & Timber Mountain

Here is one last shot before sunset from the edge of Deer Spring Point.

Deer Spring Point Sunset

We returned to our vehicles just before sunset and had not really seen a good place to camp up on the mesa, so we decided to drive all the way back down to a spot we had seen near the beginning of the road. At least this way we wouldn’t have to drive back down this road in the morning and could get it over with this evening! When we arrived at the campsite we got set up in the dark and then went to bed after chatting for a while and watching the stars.

On Tuesday morning we woke up with the sunrise again, packed up camp and then drove back over to the Lick Wash Trailhead. When we left camp the temperature according to my Jeep was 41 degrees out, but it dropped down to 33 degrees by the time we arrived at the trailhead, so it was a bit cold when we first started hiking through the narrows of Lick Wash. If I recall correctly, this was the coldest temperature we would see all week!

Hiking through the narrows of Lick Wash.

Lick Wash

Lick Wash Narrows Morning

The Ponderosa Pines found in this canyon are definitely what make it unique!

Canyon Trees

Lick Wash Sunstar

Lick Wash Sunstar

It seems we were here at a good time to catch the fall colors, too!

Cold Morning

Into The Narrows

Tree Bridge

I liked how the narrow sandstone canyon walls framed the tree here.

Short Passage

Canyon View

Canyon Forest

Leaning Tree

After hiking through the narrows, the canyon opened up to the massive walls of the White Cliffs.

White Walls

We spotted an interesting hoodoo above the canyon and followed this side wash to see if we could get up to it.

Side Canyon Exploring

It turned out to be a very scenic side canyon.

Side Canyon Slot

Then it turned into a slot canyon…

Narrow

We stopped at this chockstone because the slot got too narrow for us beyond it.

Chockstone

We found a place to climb out of the canyon and managed to get up to the hoodoo.

Narrow Hoodoo

After continuing down Lick Wash to Park Wash we followed an old road below No Mans Mesa to the LeFevre Cabin at the foot of Calf Pasture Point. It was at this point that I realized we were following the Hayduke Trail again, which we had also done when we hiked through the Paria River and Sheep Creek the previous couple of days. It’s funny because all of the hikes we did this week all followed different parts of the Hayduke Trail. Although I have no desire to thru-hike the Hayduke Trail, I wouldn’t mind hiking the sections that I haven’t already been on that don’t follow roads.

The LeFevre Cabin

LeFevre Cabin

There was a cool old stove inside.

Old Stove

The Minnesota Stove Company

The Minnesota Stove Company

After checking out the cabin for a while we returned to Lick Wash and then hiked back out the way we had come in. By now the temperature out had warmed up quite a bit and we crossed paths with a number of other hikers who were in the narrows.

The light was much nicer in the narrows during our hike back out.

Lick Wash Narrows

Lick Light

Fall colors in Lick Wash

Lick Wash Fall Colors

Jared hikes ahead of me as we leave the last sections of narrows on our way back to the trailhead.

Hiking Out

Once we returned to our vehicles at the trailhead we drove back across the Deer Range on the Skutumpah Road to Tropic so we could grab dinner again before we headed on to our next destination.

>> Lick Wash to Park Wash Photo Gallery

2 Comments

  1. Iain D.
    Iain D. November 9, 2020

    Hi Randy.

    A great trip report, and stunning photos, as usual.

    I realize that you were maybe short of time on this hike, but if you get the chance next time, I recommend clambering up to the top of No Mans Mesa. The views from the top are quite stunning. The slope does appear quite daunting, but after an initial slippy section, there is actually a very good cairned trail, that leads you up there, without too much exertion.

    • Randy Langstraat
      Randy Langstraat November 9, 2020

      We had considered taking the Jepson Goat Trail to the top of No Mans Mesa, but this was supposed to be an easier day for us, so we skipped it.

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