Canyoneering and Hiking; car camping in San Rafael Swell

  • October 5, 2012 · 5:30 PM

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>
  • harness
  • 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.

DOGS:

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

CONTACT:

Doug Van Etten  [masked]

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  • Mary hertert

    How can anyone go wrong with such a spectacular and different place. Weather was perfect, the company diverse and interesting. Loved the mix of folks from SLC and GJ as well as the diverse backgrounds and skills. Well planned and everyone got to do what they wanted to do - hike, canyoneer, sit and read.

    October 8, 2012

  • Doug Van Etten

    Hidden Splendor is a great place to camp to access so much of the San Rafael Swell. We had hikers and canyoneers and both groups recreated to their hearts content on Saturday. Sunday we had a supurb 2nd canyon. Just ran out of time to finish Music Canyon. In the future in Music, we will take even more ropes! Saturday was Knotted Rope Canyon. With a group of 8 it took us from 9:30 AM to 4:30 or 5 in the afternoon. Not a single rappel at about mid-level depth on the potholes. 7 of the 8 were in wet suits, at least shorties. Water was 'cold (?)' but the day was sunny and calm so the chill was mitigated by the sun. Awesome potluck dinner Saturday night. Thanks to all for wonderful eats, lots of firewood and a great evening had by all. Hope to see all of you outdoors again real soon. Thanks to Rick, Cri and Brucer for canyon expertise willingly shared with the rest of us and thanks to all who provided canyoneering group gear - ropes, webbing and assorted other stuff.

    October 7, 2012

  • Elizabeth Barry

    what a nice group - nice to meet folks from utah too. thanks Doug for organizing, good to see you too Mary

    October 7, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Quandary Direct & the Squeeze are great canyons down that way. Only ones I've done up there... I'm still down here in PHX, but in a couple weeks I'll be moved to GJ and it'll be sweet being much closer to Moab, the Roost, and the Swell. =)

    October 4, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    i could possibly make it sat afternoon, would it be worth it?? Also wondering about robbers roost wanderings?

    October 2, 2012

    • Doug Van Etten

      We wil have a fun potluck, intersting people on Saturday night. Sunday will have a hike to 2 folks might do and others of us will probably do Music Canyon.

      October 2, 2012

    • Doug Van Etten

      Robbers Roost this time is canyoneering. Look on the WSA calendar for Oct 8 and you will see the posting. Of you need more info on that, Call Steve Morga [masked]

      October 2, 2012

  • Elizabeth Barry

    not carpooling since I use my camry to put stuff in the backseat - is there a caravan of cars leaving Friday?

    October 1, 2012

  • Doug Van Etten

    Muddy Creek Gorge is another very scenic hike that'll be great if you bring a dog that likes water. The creek has about 5-10" of water in it now. http://climb-utah.com/SRS/mcgor...­

    October 1, 2012

  • Doug Van Etten

    Weather link to the NOAA forecast for the immediate San Rafael Swell area. http://forecast.weather.gov/Map...­

    September 28, 2012

  • Elizabeth Barry

    Pray for no rain or my car will never make out of the sandy road,

    September 28, 2012

  • Elizabeth Barry

    No pan . but tons of firewood

    September 28, 2012

  • Elizabeth Barry

    Yum yum, fresh parmagiano romano cheese, freshlys grated, warmed italian loaf of bread, wine. sound good, bringing that.

    September 28, 2012

    • Doug Van Etten

      I had better burn some calories during the day :-) And let's all bring lots of firewood. It is a great place for a fire. Do you have a firepan to put on the ground?

      September 28, 2012

  • Elizabeth Barry

    What sauce? Such as marinara? Meatballs? Or satay, veggies, garlic, olive oil? Or greek ,olive oil, feta, olives, nut? .... Just busting your chops! :-)

    September 28, 2012

    • Doug Van Etten

      Any or all of those sauces sound great. We will bring pasta and pesto. We're open for any other!!!!

      September 28, 2012

  • Elizabeth Barry

    I'm in...

    September 28, 2012

  • Doug Van Etten

    See you next weekend at the San Rafael Swell. It'll be fun. Bring lots of firewood. I think my wife and I will do a big pot of pasta for Saturday night so we may want to use that as a center dish for a shared/ pitlucky dinner (or not; your choice).

    September 28, 2012

  • Doug Van Etten

    Here is another Utah resource -- the CANYON NAME DATA BASE -- http://www.math.utah.edu/~sfoli...­

    to learn where many of not all those interesting names have come from.

    September 27, 2012

  • Elizabeth Barry

    Hi, how did it go doug? If too tough I'm still going, walk around bring a book

    September 27, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sounds like a fun. I'll be at Robber's Roost on the 8th and can't swing both trips.

    September 26, 2012

  • Elizabeth Barry

    Doug, anything here that a chunky, not sure I m fit to jump, crawl on my knees, girl can do?

    September 18, 2012

    • Doug Van Etten

      I will let you know after this weekend. I am going over there this weekend and next, this time with people who know their way around.

      September 18, 2012

  • Lyn Brown

    Expect the area around Knotted Rope/Ramp to be crowded. This year's SUWA Roundup is scheduled for September 21-23 at Hidden Splendor in the San Rafael Swell. https://secure2.convio.net/suwa/...­

    September 4, 2012

  • Elizabeth Barry

    The plus one is for dave...:-)

    September 4, 2012

  • Elizabeth Barry

    Thanks doug

    September 4, 2012

  • Doug Van Etten

    Elizabeth asked so I'll let you all know YES, FIDO is invited along on this outing. It is a dog-friendly trip.

    September 4, 2012

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