Canyoneering and/ or Hiking
Car camping in San Rafael Swell
<<Dates on this were changed from Sept 21>>
Open to suggestions for canyons and hikes.
We will camp at Hidden Splendor Mine/ airstrip
Especially interested in Knotted Rope Canyon (KRC)since it does not require rappels. From this video, this looks like a canyon step up from Ding and Dang canyons without having to rappel down a rope. Here are dozens of photos of KRC.
Full description from AJ Roadtrips web site. Same from Climb-Utah. And one more description from 13er Girl.
Among suggested hikes, Ramp & Cistern Canyons make an out-n-back pair similar to Little Wild Horse and Bell Canyons that many have done near Goblin Valley. These are just as spectacular yet far less visited. Here are 8 photos of these 2 canyons. AJ Roadtrips has this to say about this canyon hike. Todd's Hiking Guide is another resource. Another map, photos and GPS coordinates wes resource.
Another hike/scramble might be up this desert peak known as Tomisch Butte. Descriptions say it is mostly a hike/scramble with one 20' section where a rope is rommended for safety. AJ Roadtrips has a good write-up.
GETTING FROM I-70 to our campsite:
- Any car during good weather can access this trailhead. The San Rafael Swell is criss-crossed with roads. Stay on the road described until told to turn off of it.
- From Green River, Utah follow I-70 west for 29 miles to the underpass at mile marker #131. From the cattle guard on the south side of the underpass, follow the graded dirt road signed U24/Goblin Valley/Temple Mountain, for 10.2 miles to the signed Red Canyon/Tan Seep junction. Take the right (west) fork for 3.8 miles to the signed Red Canyon/Mckay Flat junction.
- Turn right (west) and follow the road for 0.9 miles to the signed Mckay Flat junction. Take the left (South) fork for 8.6 miles to the signed Hidden Splendor Mine junction. At the Hidden Splendor Mine junction take the left (South) fork and follow it for 10.2 miles to the Hidden Splendor Airstrip (N38° 34' 08", W110° 57' 22"). The airstrip is identified by an information kiosk.
- Near the airstrip is a great place to camp with spectacular views of the Muddy River Gorge.
Do not park or camp on the airstrip. The Hidden Splendor Airstrip is an official aircraft landing strip operated by the BLM and the Utah Backcountry Pilots association. Aircraft may be encountered at any time. Any interference with aircraft or aircraft operations is a federal crime.
Please note there are a lot of HOT LINKS embeded into this page. Scroll around, find them AND READ them. It is useful information.
** Knotted Rope Canyon Note **
Very experineced UT canyoneer Rick Thompson advised me that KRC may be 'easy' with no rappels when potholes are filled with water. However, he notes, though those holes are filled today, if that water is not there when we are, we could have 2-6 rappels of 10-20' each. Steve Morga, who did these as 'dry' holes last spring, told me there is one seriously keeper pothole so. . . if the water is low or gone we may need a skilled rock climber in the canyon crowd. So, if you want to do KRC, plan to bring your canyoneering gear:
- helmet <required on any canyon trip I organize, even if it is a bike helmet>
- rappel device
- locking carabiners at least 2-4
- nylon webbing at least 1 15' length of 1" Get webbing that has 3 thread lines woven into it as that is the strongest and preferably get it in canyon neutral colors please - canyon orange, tan, gray or other 'natural' color. I strongly suggest that if you canyoneer more than 1x this year, you also bring a 30' piece of 1" webbing as your small part of group gear.
- 5mm or 6mm nylon accessory cord 6' piece AND a 10' of <purchased from an outdoor store, NOT Home Depot or Wal Mart>. More webbing and more accessory cord is always better than less of these inexpensive and very versitile items.
- Gloves- in water, Atlas cotton back-rubber palm for ~$5 from Home Depot are great
- Day pack large enough for all this stuff, some spare clothing, lunch, 2-4 quarts of water and most likely a wet suit. DO NOT plan to carry stuff in your hands: wear it or have a way to 'pack it'. You will need your hands free whether we rappel, swim or scramble up and down things.
- Shoes or light nylon hiking boots that can get wet, sandy, muddy and will stay on your feet. NO OPEN TOES/ sandals.
It is OK to bring FIDO. Please, this area gets camped in a lot so:
- clean up after the dog
- keep him/her out of other people's camp area and especially food
- bring plenty of water and a way to provide the dog shade during daylight hours if you are not nearby
Doug Van Etten [masked]