Friday – Sunday, November 3-5, 2023
This weekend I headed back into the country Under the Ledge for the second time this year so I could finally stay at the Teapot Rock campsite, which is located along the road to The Doll House just before it starts to get rough. Although I have tried to book this camp during previous trips into the region, it always seemed to have been unavailable and never worked out for me, but since it’s the final campsite in the Maze District that I had not stayed at yet, I figured it was worth putting together a special trip to finally make it happen this year. A couple of months ago I booked the site for two nights so I could spend an extended weekend exploring the canyons in the area and I invited my friend Jared along to join me. So now after this weekend, besides having hiked all of the trails in Canyonlands National Park, I have finally completed my goal of staying at all of the designated campsites within the Maze District and Orange Cliffs Unit of Glen Canyon National Recreation Area!
Since I had called the Hans Flat Ranger Station a couple days in advance to acquired my permit, I left home early on Friday morning, stopped to top off my gas tank in Hanksville and then made my way into the land Under the Ledge via the road from Hite.
Following the road the long way around Rock Canyon.
After passing Cove Canyon, I took a short spur road below Red Point out towards Cataract Canyon to an overlook across from the mouth of Bowdie Canyon.
I then continued on to Waterhole Flat and went for a short hike to explore the upper reaches of Clearwater Canyon. There was a spot on the map that looked interesting and turned out to be a short but scenic little slot canyon.
The little slot canyon ended at a pour-over into an alcove, so this was my turnaround point.
After exploring the slot, I headed over to the old Chaffin Camp in Waterhole Canyon, which I haven’t been back to in many years.
I checked out a couple inscriptions in a small alcove left by Ella Butler, who is said to have been the first woman in the country Under the Ledge in the late 1800’s.
After hiking a little further downcanyon to the large pour-over in Waterhole Canyon, I returned to the camp and then followed an old cattle trail towards Easter Pasture Canyon.
There was a good view of Gunsight Butte along the way.
Easter Pasture Canyon Overlook
The cow trails ended after descending into the lower part of the canyon and then the bushwhacking through wall-to-wall Prickly Russian Thistle became pretty terrible, so I didn’t go as far as I would have liked.
When I returned to my Jeep there was still enough time for one more short hike, so I made my way back over to upper Clearwater Canyon and hiked upstream to the pour-over that had stopped me earlier.
Upper Clearwater Canyon
Looking up at the pour-over that I was standing on top of a couple hours earlier.
After my final hike I finished the drive around Teapot Rock to our campsite for the next two nights.
Once at the Teapot Rock campsite I ate dinner and then read and relaxed for the rest of the evening before going to bed early. Jared arrived sometime around 10:45pm and I briefly woke up when I heard his Jeep, but I fell right back asleep until morning.
We woke up with the sunrise on Saturday morning since our only planned hike for the day started right from camp.
Teapot Rock Morning
After catching up a bit and eating breakfast, we left camp and started searching for a route down into Teapot Canyon.
We passed by this cool little arch that is practically located right inside the boundaries of the Teapot Rock Campsite.
Once we found our way down a couple of ledges we were soon hiking down the wash of Teapot Canyon and there were no other challenges along the way.
Here’s another little arch we passed by at the junction with another side canyon.
Walking down Teapot Canyon.
Jared looks down a massive pour-over near the mouth of the canyon where it abruptly drops to the Colorado River in Cataract Canyon. Since this is Teapot Canyon, I’m going to call it ‘The Spout.’
While we were checking out the sudden drop in the canyon, we saw this nice ‘thumb rock’ nearby and decided to hike over to it for a different view of Cataract Canyon.
There was one inscription on the tower that appears to be from Jan. 18, 1901, but I couldn’t tell what the letters below say, aside from the large W.
Thumb Rock Overlook
Looking back to ‘The Spout’ of Teapot Canyon. That would make for one impressive waterfall when the canyon is flash-flooding!
There was a pretty good view up Cataract Canyon from the point near the thumb rock, too.
Looking straight down we could see Big Drop 1 Rapid, and were lucky enough to watch a group float through it while we were there.
Hiking back up Teapot Canyon in the afternoon.
I liked the mud cracks in this little corner of the canyon that we passed on our way back upstream.
We arrived back to camp with enough time to enjoy about an hour of sunlight before the sun dipped below the cliffs.
We stayed up a little bit later than I had the previous evening and watched the stars in the sky, but we still ended up going to bed pretty early.
We woke up to a lovely magenta color in the sky and on the rocks on Sunday morning.
We didn’t stick around camp very long this morning and left Teapot Rock to go on a hike into nearby Calf Canyon.
Walking down the wash in Calf Canyon.
We initially missed the cattle trail into lower Calf Canyon and ended up finding our own route down.
It was easy walking in the wash most of the way.
After a couple of miles we reached the large pour-off that stopped us.
Not far from the pour-off we found an old cowboy camp under an overhang.
Del Monte Box
Walking the ledge above the cowboy camp we found some lithic scatter and a couple of potsherds.
Before heading back up-canyon we walked around to a better overlook of lower Calf Canyon.
On our way back out of the canyon we found and followed the cattle trail we had missed on the way down.
There was an old brush fence across the trail.
When I turned around to look at the brush fence from the other side I noticed this old weathered sign nailed to a juniper tree and pretty well hidden by branches: Closed To Sheep Grazing
After our easy morning hike down Calf Canyon it was time to head back out via the Hite Road and then finish the drive home. It had been another nice weekend Under the Ledge!
Rock Art Along the Way
Although we didn’t find as much rock art as I had hoped this weekend, we did visit a couple of sites along the way. Here are some photos of what we saw…