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Under The Ledge: Waterhole Flat to Teapot Canyon

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.

Rock Canyon Wall

Following the road the long way around Rock Canyon.

Rock Canyon Road

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.

Bowdie Canyon Overlook

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.

Upper Clearwater Canyon Slot

Upper Clearwater Canyon Slot II

Upper Clearwater Canyon SlotIII

The little slot canyon ended at a pour-over into an alcove, so this was my turnaround point.

Upper Clearwater Canyon Slot Pourover

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.

Chaffin Camp Corral

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.

Ella Butler

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.

Gunsight Butte

Easter Pasture Canyon Overlook

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.

Easter Pasture Canyon

Easter Pasture Canyon View

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 Wash

Upper Clearwater Canyon

Upper Clearwater Canyon

Looking up at the pour-over that I was standing on top of a couple hours earlier.

Upper Clearwater Canyon Pourover

After my final hike I finished the drive around Teapot Rock to our campsite for the next two nights.

Teapot Rock

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.

Sunrise at Teapot Rock Camp

Teapot Rock Morning

Teapot Rock Morning

After catching up a bit and eating breakfast, we left camp and started searching for a route down into Teapot Canyon.

Teapot Rock Camp Morning

We passed by this cool little arch that is practically located right inside the boundaries of the Teapot Rock Campsite.

Teapot Camp Arch

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.

Teapot Canyon Narrows

Here’s another little arch we passed by at the junction with another side canyon.

Little Junction Arch

Walking down Teapot Canyon.

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.’

Jared at 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.

Thumb Rock View

The Thumb

The Thumb

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.

Jan 18th 1901

Thumb Rock

Thumb Rock

Thumb Rock Overlook

Thumb Rock Overlook

Looking back to ‘The Spout’ of Teapot Canyon. That would make for one impressive waterfall when the canyon is flash-flooding!

The Spout of Teapot Canyon

There was a pretty good view up Cataract Canyon from the point near the thumb rock, too.

Cataract Canyon

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.

Big Drop 1

Hiking back up Teapot Canyon in the afternoon.

Teapot Canyon Wall

Teapot Canyon View

I liked the mud cracks in this little corner of the canyon that we passed on our way back upstream.

Mud-Cracked Corner


Teapot Dome

Teapot Dome

We arrived back to camp with enough time to enjoy about an hour of sunlight before the sun dipped below the cliffs.

Evening View from Camp

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.

Teapot Rock Campsite at Sunrise

We didn’t stick around camp very long this morning and left Teapot Rock to go on a hike into nearby Calf Canyon.

Teapot Rock View

Walking down the wash in Calf Canyon.

Calf Canyon Wash Morning

We initially missed the cattle trail into lower Calf Canyon and ended up finding our own route down.

Narrow Ledge

It was easy walking in the wash most of the way.

Calf Canyon Wash

After a couple of miles we reached the large pour-off that stopped us.

Lower Calf Canyon View

Not far from the pour-off we found an old cowboy camp under an overhang.

Calf Canyon Cowboy Camp

Del Monte Box

Del Monte Box

Walking the ledge above the cowboy camp we found some lithic scatter and a couple of potsherds.

Ledge Walking

Before heading back up-canyon we walked around to a better overlook of lower Calf Canyon.

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.

Calf Canyon Trail

There was an old brush fence across the trail.

Brush Fence

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

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…

Pictograph Alcove

BCS Pictographs

BCS Pictographs

BCS Pictographs

BCS Pictographs

BCS Pictographs

>> Waterhole Flat to Teapot Canyon Photo Gallery


  1. turbodb | Dan@AdventureTaco
    turbodb | Dan@AdventureTaco November 7, 2023

    Beautiful! Super cool that you’ve accomplished all the hikes and stayed at all the campgrounds. It’s funny how those seemingly inconsequential goals are always so fun to achieve!

    After recently hiking Lamoille Canyon (NV) in the snow, and visiting Big Rocks Wilderness (now in the fall rather than spring) I’ve realized just how different many of the places are I’ve depending on the season.

    A nice reminder that the same place can be enjoyed several times!

  2. randy gerdes
    randy gerdes November 7, 2023

    Some of those last rock art photos resemble the pictographs at Buckhorn Wash in the San Rafael Swell, and the Head of Sinbad graphics. Great photos!

  3. Robert Dundas
    Robert Dundas November 7, 2023

    Very Nice! Enjoyed what looks like Barrier Canyon style pictographs!

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