Snake Gulch to Table Rock, AZ

Guide 8 Triplogs Mine 0 1 Topic
4.5 of 5 
no permit
107 8 1
HAZ reminds you to respect the ruins. Please read the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 & Ruins Etiquette
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 12 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,850 feet
Elevation Gain -670 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 15.35
Interest Ruins & Historic
Backpack Yes & Connecting
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Photos Viewed All MineFollowing
17  2016-10-08 FOTG
32  2012-05-11 squatpuke
18  2008-09-18 BelladonnaTook
17  2006-11-18 PaleoRob
10  2005-09-25 margotr
13  2003-11-07 PaleoRob
Author PaleoRob
author avatar Guides 172
Routes 229
Photos 6,096
Trips 1,128 map ( 2,523 miles )
Age 41 Male Gender
Location Pocatello, ID
Historical Weather
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Preferred Oct, May, Apr, Sep
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:31am - 7:40pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Nearby Area Water
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Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Culture Nearby
Gateway to Kanab Creek
by PaleoRob

Snake Gulch is a beautiful canyon located on the Kaibab National Forest, North Kaibab Ranger District. While providing access into the famed Kanab Creek Wilderness (indeed it lays within the wilderness) and Kanab Creek, the hike from Snake Gulch to Table Rock is worthwhile in its own right, and easy backpacking trip or a day hike.

Where the Forest Road ends is where the trail begins. There is a shade ramada with a little information about Snake Gulch, the wilderness, but not reams. There's a trail register as well as a picnic table. Park out of the cul-du-sac area, to not block any other vehicles that may be trying to turn around.

The trail takes off following the left-hand wall of the canyon. To the right is an arroyo, between 5 and 15 feet deep, and quite close to the trail at some points. Where the canyon turns to the left and begins bearing west, across the arroyo, is an old farmhouse. Not long after making the turn into Snake Gulch proper, you'll pass through a hiker's maze that marks the start of the Kanab Creek Wilderness.

Within the next mile or so, the arroyo disappears, and the canyon bottom levels out. The trail makes some branches, but is easy to follow, as the canyon has no real side canyons until reaching Table Rock. The tumbleweed can sometimes be troubling and itchy. I recommend long pants or gaiters. Keep a sharp eye out for rock art and ruins! They can be found the entire length of the canyon, from the corral down past Table Rock. The rock art is spectacular in Snake Gulch, probably one of the best collections of pictographs in the state. Most of it is very old too, Anasazi Basketmaker and Fremont from the same period. Some newer images, from Pueblo III times, and even the occasional Paiute drawing, but the bulk (and the draw) are the very large, ancient pictographs. Red was a favorite color for the ancient inhabitants of Snake Gulch, so keep your eyes peeled for splashes of red against the tan walls. These can indicate the presence of just a few little PIII humanoids, or a battery of ancient, towering figures. Keep an eye out for "The Spacemen" and "The Couple" on your way down.

Ruins are also found in Snake Gulch, and the sharp eye can usually spot the remains of some cliff dwellings as you get closer to Table Rock.

The trail stays simply in the bottom of the canyon. Table Rock marks the confluence of Snake Gulch and a medium-sized tributary coming in from the south. At their junction, a point sticks out with a flat limestone bench at the top - Table Rock. An extensive pictograph panel, The Big Panel, is sheltered under the overhang of Table Rock. There is also an ammo can with a visitor's log. Across the canyon is an alcove with a cliff dwelling (just a few walls, now). A trip up into the ruin is neat, though the main attraction is the rock art. The Big Panel alone is worth spending hours, if you have them, alone on. Journeys up the side canyon and down Snake Gulch further are rewarding. The view, especially at sunset, from the next few bends in Snake Gulch, is terrific as the canyon deepens.

If you are camping at Table Rock (and it makes a great base camp for exploring), please don't camp in front of the Big Panel or the cliff dwelling. Under the point of Table Rock has been used often, so practice low impact camping and try to concentrate there. Just up the side canyon is an old cattle tank that's usually full - its piped from a spring up the side canyon and provides an excellent water source. Or you can go directly to the spring, but most of its flow goes down to the tank. Don't forget to treat the water - errant cows occasionally cross into the wilderness through breaks in the fences.

Table Rock is an excellent destination for the day, as a basecamp, or as a stopover on a longer journey into the Kanab Creek Wilderness. It's isolated and hardly visited, so despite the good roads to the trailhead. I have never seen another party in the canyon. The rock art is world-class, and the hiking is easy. What's not to like?

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2007-08-13 PaleoRob
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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.

Permit $$

Map Drive
FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

To Snake Gulch Trailhead
From Flagstaff, head north on US89 to Bitter Springs. Make a left onto US89A. Follow US89A to Jacob Lake. Turn left onto Highway 67, and then make the first dirt right turn onto FR461. Follow 461, keep left at the Y at the top of the hill. After descending the switchbacks (icy during the winter), merge onto FR462, still heading west. When 462 ends at FR22 (the winter alternate for 461/462), make a left. The pavement ends shortly after getting onto 22. After a sharp horseshoe turn, the road straightens out. Turn right on the first dirt road after the horseshoe (by the horse corral). Follow the road, and keep to the right, until it dead-ends at the trailhead.

From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 329 mi - about 6 hours 14 mins
From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 434 mi - about 7 hours 44 mins
From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 183 mi - about 4 hours 7 mins
90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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