The Best Hikes in Southwest

937 Triplog Reviews in the Southwest
Most recent of 291 deeper Triplog Reviews
9 mi • 900 ft aeg
sue and i have done many of the more well known hikes around escalante
found this one in a couple of books and thought it looked good
had some concerns about route finding and have to give sue credit for pushing that we just try it
@azlot69's directions to one of the starting points are spot on - 2.8 miles on old spencer flat road
we found a parking spot and lots of footprints to follow
there is another drop in point at 2.0 miles
headed down the shallow canyon, soon arriving at a waterfall
we overdid the bypass by quite a bit
joe has cleaned up my track to reflect a good route on the return
a lot of hiking in sand, and we had to dump it out of our shoes several times
beautiful canyon walls even before getting into big horn proper, with shades of tan, brown, yellow, orange and red
at about two miles we reached the confluence with big horn canyon
initially had to stay high to avoid some obstacles, and took a bit to find the drop to the canyon floor
again, track reflects a straightforward path on the return, thanks joe
there were two obstacles to slide down and i had to make sure i could get back up before sue came down
deepening walls of multi-colored and striated rock arose as we made our way down canyon
we passed the west fork of big horn and eventually came to the intersection with harris wash
there is an old fence hanging above to mark that entrance
some sources recommend starting from harris wash, and in fact the ranger we spoke to suggested that we not go from above
we got a late start, but made harris wash within my turn-around time
sand is hard to walk in uphill :lol:
the two obstacles were a fun challenge, and we did much better finding the bypasses on the way back
left the slot canyon and continued back up the shallow part
topped out about 30 minutes before sunset
saw no one all day :)
this was a great choice and i highly recommend the hike
celebrated with pizza from escalante outfitters, staying in the cabins there another night
47 mi • 0 ft aeg
Cottonwood Canyon Road
fourth or fifth road trip to utah with my friend from nebraska
sue and i left phoenix early morning, but got caught in the wrong way fatal accident backlog on I-17, adding a few hours to our trip for an alternate route
cottonwood canyon road cuts off some mileage on the way to escalante and was easily done by my 2wd hc vehicle
light rain for a few miles, and i could feel my car sliding, so not something to push in bad weather
more rain was threatening, so we only had time to make a quick stop at grosvenor arch
really wanted to hike the cottonwood canyon narrows - next time
rolled into escalante outfitters at dark
7 mi • 1,080 ft aeg
After 15 years of both of us applying for a permit about 5 times a year, Judy got the Congratulations email. I should not have added up the expense but it was worth it. Elected to hirer a guide company to make it easier on me and make sure we could cover the dirt road to Wire Pass Trailhead. Several areas of the dirt road were damaged from the rain the week before, but on our day it just slowed the guides jacked up suburban down.

Guide picked us up at our motel in Kanab at 6 AM and we were off moving down the wash to Wire Pass by 7:20. The Wave portion of the hike is 2.8 miles in and I was surprised how scenic the hike in was. We were lucky to get a good few of big horn sheep not to far away. The Wave area still had some water in pockets which made for some unique photos. Lots of stops as guide talked and lots of photos….I took 222.

It was a very special day and I’m glad we were persistent with the permit process. Judy’s sister and husband joined us.
8.09 mi • 1,389 ft aeg
My 4th trip to Coyote Buttes North since 2013. Each time I remember just how amazing this place is. Curiously, I also forget this hike, although not the hardest I have ever done, is not an easy one either.

This time around my #2 son and a friend made the trip. We had done White Pocket the day before and dealt with on and off thunderstorms and heavy rains the entire day. The road to White Pocket may have benefitted from the rains as the normally loose sands were compacted. Rock House Valley Road going into Wire Pass Traihead the next day was a different story. The road was rutted and had a few puddles. Small washes showed evidence of recent flows. When we got to Buckskin Creek, the water was flowing, but worse was the deep mud. 5-6 passenger cars were parked along the road, having abandoned driving the 4 additional miles south to the Wire Pass Trailhead. We made it through ok, but there was a second or two when crossing that I thought we might get stuck. Luckily my used and abused (but beloved) Titan made it just fine.

We arrived at the TH right at sunrise. The clouds in the distance were looking really nice. The weather was cool - low 60's, maybe even high 50's, but it was really muggy.

We hiked along the semi-running, muddy wash to the trail that climbs the sandy hill without any problems. The hike from there to the beginning of CBN was as I remembered. A little sandy and easy to follow.

Once you climb up the "rock stairs", you start the last phase of the hike, the slick rock. No trail, no shade, a few signs at the beginning that kinda/sorta show you the way. This was my 4th trip, so I knew where to go. You skirt the ridges to the right until you turn a corner and see the landmark that marks the Wave - the "black crack" of Top Rock Mesa. Once you see that and the "brain rocks" below, you know you are close.

There were a couple vehicles at the TH when we started and a group of 6 hikers appeared behind us as we ascend the last sandy climb up to the Wave. The healthy monsoon storms left some nice puddles which made for good photo ops.

We hung around the Wave for a while and then started hiking up the area above the wave. My plan was to hike to the top of the mesa and visit the sights up top. We made the crisscross ascent up the rocky steps and made it up to "the Alcove" and my favorite spot - the Melody Arch and window.

After spending time exploring the area, we made our way down to the area above the wave. I wanted to explore more down in the lower area, but the clouds had vanished, and the sun was starting to really beat down on us. My friend was a little low on water and not looking like he was willing to hike down and then have to hike back up. Also, we could see the black clouds and lightning north and south of the Wave area. So, we decided to head back.

We made it back to the Wave area just in time to see a couple of very pretty Spanish models doing a photoshoot at the wave, complete with costume changes, high heels and lots of cameras. To each his own, I guess, but I hate the way these places have been reduced to photo ops for social media. More power to them, they hiked in and can do as they please.

The afternoon heat & sun and the high humidity made for crappy hiking conditions on the way back, but we made it back to the TH no problem.

We arrived back to the truck, we met a couple from Korea that both had on flip-flops and had no water. We tried to talk them out of hiking up, but they insisted their friend who had dropped them off would be back shortly and he knew the way. We gave them 8 bottles of water and some snacks. Still, I cannot see how some of these people we came across were so unprepared for this hike. It was probably low 90's high 80's, with threats of thunderstorms all around and they had no food, no water and flip flops????

As we started driving up Rock House Valley Road, the sprinkles started. We could see rain up ahead. We also came across a French couple who got lost and spent 7 hours wandering without finding the Wave, and a Japanese couple that we did see at the Wave earlier in the morning. We all piled in the truck and made our way to the creek. The conditions had deteriorated since we crossed in the morning. The water was flowing stronger and the mud looked worse. Oh well, I stopped, put it in 4 low and gunned it. I think that was the highlight for our passengers all day. We all had a good time as I gave out the obligatory, "WhoooHooo" as we bounced and plowed through.

An excellent day for sure. Spending so much time with my #2 son who lives in Washington State and I normally don't get to see much. Taking my friend along as well. He's 68, but he did great.

I might cut back on the lottery permits for now, but I am pretty sure, this will not be my last trip to this area.
7 mi • 0 ft aeg
Via French Canyon - Hmmm what does it say when I've written the last three trip logs? I love this place!!! This time we accessed the narrows from the south via Elephant Cove Road to French Canyon. Routes are linked. This was a much easier road then the one we took last year to access the Barracks from the north upstream from Rock Canyon. It was a sandy road and you want 4x4, but air down your tires and you're good plus it puts you right into the heart of the Barracks.

The route down French Canyon was pretty straight forward, a few class 3 scrambles to keep things interesting, but nothing too long as you don't fall. I dragged my 16 year old kid down there with me and he's pretty cautious so it's pretty legit.

There is poison ivy so just keep your distance once you get into the French Canyon water, but before you know it you're in the East Fork of the Virgin River and loving life...except for the cows. I really wish someone would buy out the ranchers that still have grazing rights in this area. It makes the water seem way less refreshing. We checked out poverty wash and the grotto and made it to the Powell Plaque and the park boundary, but not all the way to Labyrinth falls due to our late start.

The fall was really low and just walked down the dry side. Super easy.

Easiest way by far to see the narrows and get in a nice day hike.

This is a link to a pretty good description on rappelling in Rock Canyon and hiking out French Canyon. ... e-barracks
12 mi • 2,000 ft aeg
Neon had been on my to do list since I first heard about it 20 years ago.
I was a bit concerned following the weather forecast a few days before our planned attempt. Chance of rain came and went then the evening before a storm set in and snowed 2inches at the Egypt Trailhead. It continued to spit snow and rain the next day so we opted for some safer adventures in the area.

The next day was our last in the area so we felt some pressure to make it happen.
We had a leisurely start hoping for it to warm up as there was still snow at the trail head and the potholes descending from it had ice. We left the car a bit after 1030, and made it to the Escalante about 12:00. The approach to the drop in point was pretty straight forward and we found the short rap opposite and just upstream of the moki steps in good condition. We donned our farmer johns and rap'd in.

It was 13:00, so I ate a snack. A short walk downstream lead us to the start of the slot and our second rap: low angle for about 30ft, this anchor was also in good condition. We donned our wet suit jackets as this rap landed us in a pool (turned out to be thigh deep) We were able to keep the rope mostly dry by rapping single line with a 'biner block with the last coming down removing the 'biner, rapping double rope and carrying the rope bag.

Another short rap and pool followed a short way down the slot. Anchor was good, rap was awkward initially. Water was knee deep.

The slot became even more 3 dimensional -not quite 4th dimension but 3+ :) when little rooms inside arches appeared offering 3 ways to get to the same rap point. This was the rap into the big keeper pothole. Even with all the precip the day before it was dry and fairly full of sand making for easy escape. Of note there is a small hole on the lip which would be perfect for hooking out.

After a few minutes of easier terrain the final glory rap appears. Long webbing (doubled) stretches into the slot above the hole which drops into the Golden Cathedral. 3 old bolts remain in the wall above this without hangars, these could be utilized with sacrificial climbing nuts. The glory rap is over all too quick but it is awesome and perfect with the golden light. There was less water than I expected finding it only about calf deep. We had a nice lunch on the sand bar it was 14:30.

From there we headed back down canyon to the Escalante and then 30min further down the Escalante River to explore Ringtail Canyon. Ringtail is the next canyon on river left. It is rather short but very narrow; a head lamp is a good idea as is a farmer john wetsuit. Explore up canyon as far as you can then come back down.

Then returning the way we came (mostly as we veered off course and lost our cairn'd way heading too north) We did appreciate several arches forming a couple of rooms but it likely added a mile to our hike.

Back at the car just before sunset at 19:30.

With the conditions we experienced I would have foregone the extra 200ft rope, bolt kit and wet suit jackets. Instead I would have carried an extra 80-100ft rope. I only carried 2L of water then treated 1L clean-ish water from a pothole in Ringtail but ended up only needing 0.5L of it; so, with highs of 58F I think 2.5L would be ideal, personally.
0 mi • 0 ft aeg
FFFFIIIIINNNNAALLLLLYYYYYYY??????????? scored a permit for "The Wave" 5-6 years of trying , online and in person. I think personally I submitted 35-40 times and my hiking partner Greg probably put in close to that. we always each tried for 2 spots on each submission, and of course one of the guys we met at The Wave said he was just in the area and thought he would try the in person lottery. (it was the first time he ever tried) :pout: . Glad its done it was worth the wait. Greg and I chose to stay after dark and enjoy the solitude we left about 9:00 , got back to the Car at about midnight. it was tough going in the dark even with GPS, if you got off the trail by even a little bit you can find yourself high or low on a cliff side that calls for backtracking or guessing, it was hot and there was lots of very loose sand on steep hills that would light your calves on fire, but nothing we havent done before except that each year we keep getting older :worthy: After that day we went off into the Parashant area exploring lots of areas we had never seen, up over mount Trumbull, saw a bunch of turkeys up by the old sawmill sight, we crossed the ridge and stopped at the old school house and then headed south toward Whitmore overlook into the Grand Canyon. we passed the Bar ten dude ranch which we didnt even know was there. Whitmore overlook was a fun new view of the grand canyon, we didnt have time to walk down to the river, in the heat if would have been a long trip in full sun, I wont bore you with a million photos just a few of the good ones. Great trip well worth a several day trip and maybe combining it with a stop at Toroweap Overlook
28 mi • 2,000 ft aeg
Escalante River Gorge
Chloe and I set off on our first solo backpack in the Escalante River Gorge this weekend. We started our hike just before 7am on Saturday, with plans to trek all the way to the Skyline Arch & Escalante Natural Bridge (14 miles in). We had two camping options along the way: Death Hollow (~7 miles in) and Sand Creek (~11 miles in). My plan was to set up camp, then day hike to the bridge and back, and hike out the following day. To split up the miles in a somewhat even way, my original plan was to camp at Sand Creek. However, after chatting with an group of Escalante veterans on the way in, they advised me that the Death Hollow area had much more scenic camping spots than Sand Creek - and they were right! Not only did the confluence of Death Hollow and the Escalante River have absolutely gorgeous sites (and plenty to choose from), the hiking right after Death Hollow became significantly harder (mostly in the water for a few miles), so I was very happy to do that section with just a day pack. Chloe and I arrived at the Death Hollow confluence around 10:30am and snagged a nice camp site among the Cottonwoods. We camped in the general vicinity of a really nice group, but far enough away that we couldn't hear them. After giving Chloe a little rest, I grabbed my day pack and headed out for the natural bridge.

The next few miles were mostly hiking in the river, which was a little slow going but very refreshing (though the temps probably didn't get over 75 the whole weekend). I had come to terms with the thought that we might not make it all the way to the bridge (another 7-7.5 miles from camp), so set a turn-around time. However, we were cruising and made it to the Skyline Arch much faster than I anticipated. The Escalante Natural Bridge is only another .5 miles past the arch, so I knew we'd make it with plenty of time to spare. The bridge is very impressive, but we unfortunately had to share the spot with a group of two families with ~10 loud, obnoxious kids that were screaming the entire time we were there. *HUGE eye roll* Don't judge, but I yelled at them a few times... It was kind of a let down to have the entire canyon basically to ourselves all day (we maybe ran into 6 other hikers over 14 miles) and then reach our final destination and not even be able to enjoy it. I would have hung out under the bridge for much longer had I not been so annoyed with the screaming kids, but we turned around after a brief 15 minute break.

On our way out, I was extremely excited to find the ruins and petroglyph panel that I had missed on our way to the bridge. The ruins (I read somewhere that they're granaries) are pretty hidden up in the canyon wall. It seems the only way to actually get up to them is with a ladder, so hopefully they'll continue to be protected from human degradation for a long time. The last 2-3 miles back to camp were kind of a slog for little Chloe, who was exhausted by this point. I felt pretty bad for pushing her so much on Day 1, so I spoiled her the rest of the trip (and she fully recovered and was chasing jackrabbits a day later). We enjoyed a relaxing night at camp, and took off fairly early the next morning. The hike out was much slower than the way in, since Chlobug was still pretty pooped, but we made it out before noon and were onto our next destination.

Final Thoughts: This canyon is truly something special, and photos cannot do it justice. The river snakes through towering canyons walls, providing epic views around every turn, and multiple petroglyph panels along the way if you keep your eyes peeled. Next time, I'll definitely add a night onto the trip to explore more of the side canyons. Can't wait to go back!
8.17 mi • 364 ft aeg
The trailhead for the Zebra and Tunnel slots is just off the Hole in the Rock road, roughly 8 miles from UT 12, making it closer and easier to drive to than Peekaboo and Spooky. If you're driving a low clearance passenger car and have doubts about being able to make it to Peekaboo and Spooky, then these are the slots for you.

The trail out to the slots isn't especially scenic in the first quarter mile, but quickly improves as you go. The trail is easy to follow and crosses a wash multiple times. On the way out, I switched off between following the trail and walking in the wash. As I got further out, I found myself preferring the wash to the the trail. My wife and daughter stuck to the trail and I eventually became separated from them. Even so, we both hit Harris Wash at about the same time. I found them by walking west in Harris Wash.

Harris Wash seemed to have some firm sections, but once we entered the drainage that led to Zebra, we found it to be very sandy. My wife found the sand to be most enervating.

Zebra is cool, though after her experience with Spooky on the day before, my wife decided not to go very far into the slot. This time, I left my pack near the entrance and, for some sections of the slot, I used my teeth to hold onto my camera strap.

My daughter got ahead of me and did the climb leading to the keeper pothole. She looked at the pothole, but did not go into it. She climbed back down and spotted me as I did the climb to look at the pothole. It appeared to me that two people might be able to escape it together (especially if they also have a length of webbing or rope available), but we didn't put my theory to the test.

After Zebra, my wife headed back to the truck, but my daughter and I went on to take a look at Tunnel. I found that the GPS track that I had loaded led us on trails through the sand. We found it easier to stay on some relatively firm terrain in the wash. We followed some of these trails on the way to Tunnel, but stayed in the wash on the way back. Staying in the wash - which winds a bit - adds some distance, but the hiking was easier due to the firmer terrain.

Anyway... Tunnel was wet right from the start. I didn't wear my water shoes that day, but my daughter had, so she went in. It was a warm day, but the water was cold. She practiced her stemming technique to avoid being in the water for very long.

We stayed in the wash, first Harris Wash, and then whatever drainage it is that feeds into Harris Wash which led back to the trailhead. Eventually it made more sense to hike the trail, so we did that.

I found this to be a very pleasant hike. I enjoyed the hike to/from the slots as much as the slots themselves. The striations in Zebra are impressive and is well worth the trip.

8.12 mi • 1,549 ft aeg
On May 23, we stopped by Bryce Canyon on our way to Escalante. I wanted to do a hike that I had not yet done and which might also be somewhat less crowded, so I picked the Fairyland Loop Trail. My family wasn't really up for doing the loop though, so we did it as an out and back. I hiked with my wife and daughter for about 1.5 miles and then told my daughter that I was going to see what was "up around the next corner".

Well, it was awesome, so I continued up to the next corner, and the next, and the next, and so on until I had gone about 3.75 miles. I turned back and (eventually) rejoined them.

When I got back to the trailhead, I hiked a bit of the rim trail in the other direction to see what it was like. It's not nearly so awesome, though there were occasional views of the colorful canyon through the trees. I only did a little bit of it in the CCW direction, so cannot say what it's like further on.

I'd like to do the complete loop sometime since the section I did was really quite stunning.

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