We enjoyed another fine session of desert hiking and exploration this April. Our trip was comprised of a week in Capitol Reef, a day and night at Natural Bridges and a four day back pack followed by someday hiking in the Cedar Mesa/Grand Gulch/Bears Ears area.
The Colorado Plateau and southern Utah canyon country was dominated by unsettled and exceptionally windy weather this spring. The continued dry conditions remain entrenched with limited water to be found in the back country. We are adapting to this reality and still finding plenty of good adventures.
Capitol Reef continues to deliver! We connected some previous hikes together with new routes adding to our collection of favorite loop hikes. Of course that opened up more ideas so… there is still more we want to check out.
We ended our last day at Capitol Reef with a great adventure, getting back to the van by late afternoon. We left the park, heading east thru Hanksville, and crossed the Colorado River at Hite. We van camped an hour or so from the turn to Natural Bridges.
Driving into Natural Bridges around 8:00 AM, we were fortunate to score a camp site. There are only 13 sites in this sweet little campground and they do not allow advance reservations, which is good in our opinion. It had been a while since our last visit… we did a new hike for us in a less visited but beautiful part of the monument with impressive natural bridges, ruins, rock art and lot’s of water.
The next morning we made a quick out and back to Blanding for gas, ice and re-supply. We then stopped at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station and secured a back country overnight permit. Our route was down into the Grand Gulch, up one side canyon, across the mesa top country and then down another canyon. Three nights out, lot’s of rock art, ruins and crucial pot hole water in the upper reaches of the side canyons.
After 4 days out, we got back to the van by mid afternoon. It was early enough to move a few miles away to the head of another canyon system. We van camped on the meas top near the heads of three separate forks that join together to form one larger canyon. From here we did a fun and somewhat vigorous hike down one fork and back up another. Boulder scrambling, pour over by passing and route finding thru a beautiful sandstone canyon system with more ruins, rock art and pot hole water.
A classic April excursion in the South Eastern Utah canyon country wilderness. You can view a small collection of best of photos from the trip Here.