Category: Canyoneering

Saturday, January 30, 2016

A scenic location inside Little Wild Horse Canyon within the San Rafael Reef.

Years ago I tried hiking into Little Wild Horse Canyon and Bell Canyon, which are slot canyons that cut through the San Rafael Reef near Goblin Valley State Park, but I was chased away by thunderstorms that day and have never returned to try again. Since that time the popularity of these slot canyons have exploded, which is part of the reason I had never bothered to return. I finally decided that it was time to head back this weekend to hike these San Rafael Swell classics. I was hoping that we wouldn’t run into the large crowds that these canyons attract since it’s the middle of winter, and we didn’t. We would only pass one single hiker during our entire hike and that happened on the old road used to connect the two canyons together to form a loop.

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Saturday, November 7, 2015

Tafoni lines the canyon walls and a sunburst peeks out between two rocks in Crack Canyon.

On Saturday morning Diane and I left home early and drove west into Utah to go hiking in the desert. Our destination was Crack Canyon in the San Rafael Reef which is not too far away from the much more popular Little Wild Horse Canyon and Goblin Valley State Park. After getting off the highway and following Temple Mountain Road through the reef, we took the Behind the Reef Road to Crack Canyon and drove down the wash to the Wilderness Study Area boundary. We parked here and started hiking down the canyon. It was a beautiful canyon with interesting tafoni everywhere and a few short sections of narrows. There was nice reflected light bouncing off the canyon walls so I took my time taking plenty of photos along the way. We hiked through the reef until we reached the intersection with the Chute Canyon Trail where we turned around and returned the way we had come. We didn’t see anyone else all afternoon until we were on our way back to the trailhead, and even then we only ran into a family of four and another solo hiker. The high temperature was probably in the low 50’s and it turned out to be a great day for hiking in the canyon!

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

Today I headed back into Utah so I could visit Moonshine Wash in the San Rafael Desert which has been on my list of places to visit for way too long, especially since it’s not too far away from home! Moonshine Wash received it’s name from the moonshiners who were active here during prohibition. While I didn’t have a chance to visit the cement tanks near Moonshine Spring that were used to make the moonshine, I was finally able to visit and photograph the narrow slot that makes up part of this canyon.

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Sunday, December 28, 2014

On Sunday morning we drove over to the Wire Pass trailhead from our hotel in Page and arrived shortly after the sunrise. Our plan for today was to hike through Wire Pass and then down Buckskin Gulch for a few miles. Unfortunately, we would not be unable to go down Buckskin Gulch from the confluence with Wire Pass because of some large pools of water blocking our way, and we weren’t prepared to get wet on this cold December day. I had hoped that any water in the canyon might be frozen so we could walk right over it, but that was not the case. Instead, we turned around and hiked up Buckskin Gulch until we exited the narrows. When the canyon opened up I noticed a playground of sandstone above the wash and below the West Clark Bench, so we climbed up into that area and explored the colors and shapes of the sandstone for a while. We made a big loop and ended up back down in Buckskin Gulch again. As we hiked back down towards Wire Pass, the light in the canyon was much nicer than on our way up, and I stopped to take many photos along the way.

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Fall Colors 2014
Monday, November 10, 2014

On Monday morning we woke up before sunrise again so we could get an early start on our hike into The Narrows. I wanted to get an early start in hopes that we might have the canyon to ourselves for at least a little while even if it was pretty cold out. The previous evening we had rented dry pants from Zion Adventure Company and wore neoprene socks to keep our feet and legs warm since we would be hiking through the Virgin River most of the day.

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