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The Barracks, UT

no permit
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Guide 5 Triplogs  1 Topic
Rated  Favorite Wish List UT > Southwest
4.5 of 5 by 4
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance One Way 21.16 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,733 feet
Elevation Gain 916 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,000 feet
Avg Time One Way 2-3 days
Kokopelli Seeds 27.83
varies or not certain dogs are allowed
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12  2018-05-30 bezzantine
80  2017-10-21
The Baracks
72  2017-10-21 John9L
48  2017-07-02 VolcanoCLMBR
Author HAZ_Hikebot
author avatar Guides 16,882
Routes 16,052
Photos 24
Trips 1 map ( 6 miles )
Age 22 Male Gender
Location TrailDEX, HAZ
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Preferred   May, Oct, Apr, Sep
Sun  6:18am - 6:28pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
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Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby

Likely In-Season!

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This is a moderately difficult hike.

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    One-Way Notice
    This hike is listed as One-Way.

    When hiking several trails on a single "hike", log it with a generic name that describes the hike. Then link the trails traveled, check out the example.
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    The Barracks
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I never heard of Parunuweap Canyon until @volcanoCLMBR posted a triplog earlier this summer. I thought the place looked amazing and did some research. It seemed too good to be true so Chumley and I put it on the list. Then Rachel contacted me saying her and Jared will be visiting and we thought this would be a great option. Our original group was going to be seven people but things came up and we settled on a group of four of us.

    Chumley and I drove up on Friday night and car camped east of Kanab. We met Rachel and Jared on Saturday morning in Mt Carmel. We then shuttled Chumley’s truck to the trailhead at Checkerboard Mesa in Zion National Park. We left a note in the car for Zion NPS and then headed back east to our starting point near Mt Carmel. We geared up and started our three day trip into paradise!

    Day 1 – Saturday, October 21
    After setting up the shuttle the four of us started the hike in following an active forest road. The going was somewhat monotonous but we made good time as we were passed by Quads, ATVs & trucks. Hunting season started this day so there were a lot of people out. We had at least a dozen wet crossings over the East Fork of the Virgin River over the first five miles. The water was chilly but the sun was out so we were comfortable. We left the road after five miles and the canyon starts to tighten up. Our pace slowed down as we waded through the Virgin. There would be a mix of wading and hiking along the banks. Fall colors were nice but we were at least a week or two late for prime.

    We kept at it and eventually reached Mineral Gulch where we set up camp. The Virgin was a bit muddy so we were glad to see cold and clear water flowing out of Mineral Gulch. We never had to filter water from the muddy Virgin River. After camp was set up the four of us started a day hike up Mineral. We knew right away we were in for a treat! The canyon has water flowing for the first quarter mile as you meander through narrows and several slots. Our expectations were blown away as we progressed! This side canyon is spectacular! After a mile the canyon opens up and we continued heading north. We wanted to make it all the way to 7 Arch Alcove but it was farther than expected so we turned around. We wanted to get back to camp and settle into a campfire before darkness set in. The return flew by and we enjoyed a wonderful campfire. All of us were sleeping by 10pm. Overnight lows got very chilly but could have been worse.

    Day 2 – Sunday, October 22
    Our day two started very slowly. It was very cold overnight so we waited for the sun to rise. Once up we started the campfire again and had a slow and relaxing morning. I had coffee & oatmeal and enjoyed the morning. We eventually packed up and started hiking around 11:30am which is very late for us. Our plan was to hike 5-6 mile to our next campsite situated by Poverty Wash.

    The hiking went well on day two. We found ourselves in the creek more so our pace was slow. The water was cold but several of us were wearing Neoprene Socks and this helped a lot. Most of the water was ankle to knee deep today. The biggest issue was mud and watching out for deep spots. We didn’t have any issues. We continued on as the canyon tightened up which made for dramatic views. After a couple of miles we detoured over to a petroglyph panel that was very impressive. It was early afternoon and the sun made picture taking difficult. From there we continued the final few miles and set up camp at the mouth of Poverty Wash. This wash had clear water flowing which made for easy filtering.

    After camp was set up, Chumley and I set out for a day hike up Poverty Wash. This turned out to be another spectacular canyon! The water was flowing the whole way and more narrows greeted up. This canyon was very lush and scenic too! As we neared the end the canyon tightens and it appears to end. We were delighted to see a cave like slot canyon that led further. There was a simple scramble and we arrived at the end of the road in the Poverty Grotto. We absolutely loved this area! From there we made our return and took a variety of pics. This side trip took about an hour. Afterward, I filtered watered and settled in at camp while Chumley hiked back up canyon to check out another side canyon. All of us settled in for the evening around the campfire. It was a bit warmer tonight but temps got chilly again overnight.

    Day 3 – Monday, October 23
    We woke on day three around sunrise at 7:30am. It was really cold again so we built a fire and tore down camp. Our plan was to hike the rest of the way down canyon with stops at the Boulder Jam & Misery Canyon. After that we’ll exit the canyon and return to the truck parked at Checkerboard Mesa inside Zion National Park. We expected today to be easy but it turned out to a lot of work!

    We hit the trail around 8:30am and were back in the water. The going was mostly easy as we snaked our way down canyon. This stretch of The Barracks is fantastic! The walls were high and there were fewer benches to avoid water. A couple spots were thigh deep but nothing too bad. You had to be careful to avoid mud and deep spots. The hiking pole helped a lot.

    We continued on and hit the Boulder Jam within an hour of starting. I knew what to expect and climbed up to scope out the bypass while the others took pics. We then regrouped and made the climb up. We hit the rabbit hole and Rachel went first followed by myself, Chumley and Jared. The rabbit hole has a series of ledges to climb down and a fixed rope that helped but was not critical. We lowered the packs in stages and took our time scrambling and crawling through. I would guess the rabbit hole has a 25 ft drop. It was damn fun!

    Once at the bottom we continued another half mile to Misery Canyon. We planned on exploring this canyon but you had a swimmer to get it. None of us were motivated to fully submerge so we kept going and found ourselves at the exit route ten minutes later. Once there we found the Powell Plaque (It’s hard to see behind some scrub) and washed the sand out of our shoes. From there we made the aggressive scramble up the exit route. It took some work but wasn’t too bad. Once above the canyon we started the long and slow trek into Zion. There is a good use trail to follow but you’re walking in sand for long stretches. It was sunny and warm and this section took more effort than expected. We took several breaks and enjoyed the amazing views! The final push along Checkerboard Mesa was exhausting but we got it done and were back to the truck by early afternoon. Once there we headed back to the starting point to grab the other car and then on to Kanab for lunch. Chumley and I said goodbye to Rachel and Jared and then headed back to Phoenix. Another trip in the books!

    Final Thoughts
    This is a spectacular canyon similar to the Zion Narrows but without the crowds. We only saw six people after leaving the forest road in the beginning.

    Neoprene Socks and hiking poles helped a lot! The water was cold and muddy and slippery. The poles also helped measure depth so we could avoid deep spots.

    I don't recommend hiking here during the winter unless you're seasoned for those conditions. The overnight temps got into the upper 30's for us. Borderline uncomfortable. My thought for best time is April/May or Sept/early Oct. Summer is okay but hike out early. With that...

    Don't underestimate the hike out. It's roughly 4.5 miles and 1,600 ft of gain. It's slow and hard going. It's a mix of rugged scrambling, long stretches through sand, more climbing and generally slow going all the way to the road. It has little shade and never lets up. Go prepared with lots of water & snacks.

    Give yourself at least 3-5 hours for Mineral Gulch. There are several arms that look interesting. We had about two hours. An hour+ is good for Poverty Wash. We didn't go into Misery. The entrance is tricky. Pretty much a swimmer.

    You don’t need a permit for this and fires are permitted. Keep in mind you’ll need to leave a vehicle in Zion so you have to pay the entrance fee. Leave a note in your vehicle with your plan and exit date and name of the vehicle owner.

    This canyon has lots of entry and exit points. You may be able to piece together a loop using forest roads. Check conditions before doing this. Some of the roads may be in bad shape.

    This canyon is spectacular and highly recommended! I’m already thinking about a return trip in 2018!
    The Barracks
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    The Baracks
    *Yes. I posted an obnoxious number of photos for a single trip. Sorry. It really was that amazing.

    Background: In the waning days of President Obama's second term in office, he sought to cement his legacy with a series of environmental proclamations. Long accused of narcissism by his opponents, Michelle managed to convince her husband to forego his previous plan to have his face added to Mount Rushmore and instead choose something under the radar to put his name on.

    So buried somewhere deep in the Bears Ears monument declaration was a short paragraph that renamed this otherwise unknown canyon in southern Utah after the man who said it reminded him of a canyon near his childhood home in rural Kenya. He had hoped to share some of his contempt for Utah with similarly "red" Wyoming, but there aren't any cool canyons there, so he had to just double up on Utah. Plus what president wouldn't want to put his name on a virgin? :o

    A lot of the documentation is lost in some emails that James Comey talked about once, but they haven't been made public. What seems clear is that while DOI was willing to go along with a single under-the-table named designation, the president wanted more than one. A compromise was reached however, allowing for a single designation to be made, but in plural! That's how this canyon got it's name. It's not just the Barack. It's the Baracks. Plural. Because people who take selfies never take just one. (#truefact)

    The current administration however, in its obvious desire to undo every single thing that President Obama did, directed the US Board of Geographic Names to change the name. Despite a revolt from @altUSBGN, the official agency relented and added an 'r' to the name, changing the meaning and denying the former president of his proclamation. There's no word yet if the monuments at the entrance to the canyon will be removed and repurposed along 'the wall'.

    Despite not making the real news, I read all about this on Alex Jones' website and started my research from there. As it turns out, the president chose an area that's actually pretty cool!

    Once the location was on our radar, 9L took the reins in planning and we set forth for an October trip. A couple of people who were planning to join us made up a variety of different mind-numbing excuses until we ended up with a perfect group of four.

    Day 1: After setting up the easy shuttle, we got started Saturday morning with the easy road hike leading downstream. It was the first day of the deer/rifle season so we encountered a bit more traffic than is normal here. Lots of folks that don't look anything like deer were wearing bright orange. Apparently the hunters here are as blind as the voters! (HAZ :stp: smiley never coming back!)

    We saw a few bighorn sheep along the river as well as some deer that had four legs and weren't wearing bright orange. Our first day was about 8 miles. The first 5 were along a 4x4 road that was open to OHVs of which we saw a handful. The last three miles was pristine river hiking.

    After setting up camp we set off for an afternoon dayhike up Mineral Gulch. The first mile and a half is really cool and features a few typical Utah slot sections along with some more open areas. Farther up the landscape really opens up. We were hoping to get up to a canyon with some petroglyphs past Meadow Creek, but we were running out of daylight so we headed back to camp.

    The first night I was in charge of the fictional campfire tale, which you can read as told in the first five paragraphs above.

    Day 2: It was a chilly night and ice caked my shoes in the morning. We took our time waiting for the sun to warm things up a little before heading out on a short day two downstream. The river water was reported to be 43 degrees. :o The canyon narrowed and presented us with numerous amazing slots, bright red rock cliffs, and autumn-fired golden cottonwood leaves. We set up camp in under 6 miles and set out to explore more side canyons.

    Poverty Wash was an absolute gem! Super narrow but still full of colorful flora, flowing water, dramatic geology, and an amazing little grotto at the end. This is an absolute must for anybody hiking past here!

    I went back up the east fork a bit to French Canyon and headed up that one. It was super narrow and absolutely loaded with maple trees that were just past prime and littering the canyon in color. I reached the top in under half a mile, reaching a dead-end amphitheater of bright red sandstone cliffs.

    Day 3: Monday we started early after a warmer night with the goal of getting home at a reasonable hour. The last three miles of the East Fork were even more stunning than the day before! More narrows, better color, higher cliffs. I had hopes of exploring Misery Canyon, but upon arrival we realized that this one would require swimming. It was early in the day and the water was colder than any of us wanted to go full monty on.

    There were two guys camping there who had canyoneered down the day before. I had read that we could get upstream about a mile before reaching technical sections. This canyon looked amazing both from the mouth and from above on our climb out. I'd love to come back and explore this more.

    Speaking of the climb out, we reached the Powell memorial plaque and the Parunuweap exit route after about two hours and began our ascent. We misjudged the difficulty of the next few miles back to the car. After a few days of cool autumn weather in a deep canyon, the sun and heat on the exposed rock and sand of the higher terrain was a big change of pace. It was still quite pleasant, maybe 75 degrees, but this is not something I would want to do during summer weather! While the views along the way are incredible, it's nearly 5 miles from the river back to the car and half of it is in nature's stairmaster ... sand! : rambo :

    We shuttled back to the start and destroyed some mexican food in Kanab before making the long trip home. This one is on the list to do again! Thanks @volcanoCLMBR for the intro and @john9L for planning this one. It was good to hike with @zukerrach and Jared again. Honorable mention to @squatpuke for lunch and a side yard to pee in! :)

    Past prime to completely bare at the east end, prime to just past prime at the west end.

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