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permit required for 30 days in the hole
Although not often seen, this is black bear and mountain lion territory. There are also two short stretches of poison ivy along the trail.
For a high desert area, this is a wonderful, scenic hike along a babbling stream, through lush vegetation, past some rock art, and to the junction with the Green River. Bonus - opportunity to see some bighorn sheep up close.
Jones Hole was given its name by John Wesley Powell during his 1871 expedition down the Green River. He named the area in honor of the expedition's photographer, Stephen Vandiver Jones. Local lore, however, says that the full name (Jones Hole) came into being in 1883 when a Charley Jones hid in the area for a full winter after believing he had killed another man. Upon learning that the other man had lived, supposedly Charley yelled "You mean I can finally get out of this hole?!"
The hike begins at the parking lot next to the Jones Hole Fish Hatchery (which is interesting in and of itself). The trail hugs the fence on the east side of the hatchery before entering the wooded area along the stream. At this point the stream will be on your right as you follow the mostly packed dirt trail. You may encounter an occasional angler attempting to land a trout or someone cooling off in the water. Be on the lookout for bighorn sheep. The ones we encountered behaved as if we weren't even there.
About a 1 3/4 miles into the hike you'll cross the stream on a well-built bridge. Shortly after the bridge pay attention for off-shoots from the main trail. This is where you'll find the bold, red pictographs. After pondering the meaning of the rock art, rejoin the main trail and continue southward towards the Green River. The scenery along the way changes from significant shade from the canopy of trees, to small meadows, to soaring sandstone walls, to a tranquil stream dotted with areas of mini-whitewater.
After 4 miles you'll lose sight of the stream and head a little southwest to reach the Green. Follow the signs for "Day Use Area" to get to the beach. The river is green-ish (at least compared to the Colorado) and it would be fun to watch rafters float by. There's shade in spots and you can find some downed trees to serve as a chair of sorts for a snack break.
Return the way you came.
I believe there was a sign indicating that you should not drink water in the stream, but we didn't pay attention as to why. It was certainly crystal clear and I don't know why you couldn't filter/treat the water. But, to be on the safe side, take all you'll need.
There is one camping spot right off the trail where Ely Creek joins Jones Hole and there's also a camping spot along the Green River. Both require backcountry permits.
We rated the difficulty of this hike a 2.5 simply for the length. The elevation gain/loss is barely noticeable over the 4-mile length.
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