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Under-the-Rim Loop, UT
mini location map2021-06-05
23 by photographer avatarjacobemerick
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Under-the-Rim Loop, UT 
Under-the-Rim Loop, UT
Hiking avatar Jun 05 2021
Hiking35.68 Miles 6,689 AEG
Hiking35.68 Miles   14 Hrs   51 Mns   3.03 mph
6,689 ft AEG   3 Hrs   4 Mns Break
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Wanted to stretch the legs and see some new terrain. Friend suggested Bryce Canyon, so drove up on Friday afternoon and set up a hammock just outside the park entrance for a few hours of sleep.

Road Walk
Parked at Farview Point (~10.5 mile) at 3 and headed south. Didn't see a single car on the road and spent much of the walk with no light, enjoying the epic starry skies above. Reached Rainbow Point in 2 hours and treated myself to a quick breakfast as the eastern horizon reddened up.

After a bit of confusion between Bristlecone and connectors in the mostly-dark forest I found the trail and began the steady drop through a burn area. Trail started in great shape, only a few deadfall, and the northern views of the 'rim' were fantastic in the early light. Some cool construction looping around the sandy slopes. At the bottom the forest came back, giant pines and all, and I was further wowed by the area.

The rest of the trail is a roller coaster, about 13 sandy ridges between 100' and 500'. They were pretty crushing - enough of a climb to get the heart pumping, not enough to gain momentum. The campsites were neat, well-signed areas for food storage & prep far from the tent areas, and less than 5 miles between each one. Between the sandy slogs, numerous campsites, and great forest & views, I soon got the hint that a better way to explore this trail would be a leisurely multi-day outing. Yet I was here with no reservation and a daypack, so I pushed on.

Trail maintenance varied a bit. There was deadfall and some overgrowth, and most of the creeks had significant washout sections. The tread was also solid, well-trod reroutes to avoid deadfall, and cairns were built up near the creeks to aid navigation. Either this is still 'early in the season' or the park might be letting this one go a little for a 'rustic' experience.

Views up at the rim were always great. There were few hoodoos that define the northern end of the park, it was mostly pretty colors and sharp cliffs. One area that particularly stood up was after a long, hot climb near Whiteman connector, through an exposed burn area, where I hit a saddle and got an epic view down into Mud Canyon. Amazing. Took a few long breaks to gaze around, watered up at Yellow Canyon, chatted with a few backpackers. Some sprinkles and thunder. Eventually reached the climb out, chugged some water, and powered up to Bryce Point. That final stretch through Hat Shop is fantastical.

Peekaboo / Navajo
Wanted to hike through some of the more 'traditional' terrain, plus get some easy water at Sunset Point, so I headed down Peekaboo. Trail is wide and wasn't that crowded, and the creativity the designers used to wind around the ridges was super cool. Wall of Windows & Cathedral were particularly jaw-dropping. Paused at the bottom to polish off my water before connecting with Navajo, which was more narrow and crowded, so I pushed quick up the switchbacks to finish it off. Wall Street area was interesting but better to look at (from Peekaboo) than to hike through IMO. Reached Sunset Point around 5pm and decided to skip Fairyland Loop.

Road Walk pt 2
Took Rim Trail to Inspiration, bike path to road, then started south on the road. This wasn't a good idea. There was a lot more traffic during the daytime, no shoulder to speak of, and no nearby path. If I could make it the few miles to Swamp Canyon then I planned on dropping back down to Under-the-Rim and scooping back up Whiteman. However, after a mile one of the park rangers drove up to me and offered a ride (likely to avoid a pedestrian - vehicle collision) and I happily jumped in. Along the way she pointed out the Mammoth Fire to the west, whose smoke had been drifting over the park most of the afternoon. Got back to the Jeep with a few hours of daylight left and, while it felt sacrilegious to leave so soon, started on the long drive back to PHX.

This park is spectacular. It really beat me up, though, and I'm not sure if the elevation or the sand was the bigger factor. A North-to-South backpack over a few days, complete with a shuttle plan, is preferable, and I can't wait to take my kids up here.
Named place
Named place
Hat Shop Iron Spring

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Iron Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
Steady flow, lots of sludgy mud below.

dry Peekaboo Canyon Dry Dry

water 1 out of 5water less than maxwater less than maxwater less than max Swamp Canyon Pools to trickle Pools to trickle
(didn't actually check, two different backpacking groups verified that the water was there)

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Yellow Spring Gallon per minute Gallon per minute
Steady flow out and down the creek, good taste.
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