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Canyonlands Conundrum

Trailhead conditions, directions, roads, parking, camping, etc. Trailhead Info/Status
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Re: Canyonlands Conundrum

Postby Scott P » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:43 am

From my research, however, it sound slike back country cmaping in Island in the Sky is very limited, as in just one site that doesn't require a 1000ft+ descent towards the rivers.


That's not true at all. What is true is that there are few choices without either the 1000'+ descent towards the river or a 4wd. If you have a 4wd, there are dozens of possibilities. If not, and if you stick to paved road access, you are limited to either hiking from the top of Island in the Sky down to the White Rim Road and beyond, or limited to the Alcove Canyon, Taylor Canyon and Upheaval Dome areas (which are all accessible via good roads). Alcove Spring to Upheaval Dome makes a nice three day loop, but you have to descend more than 1000 feet. As mentioned, with a 4wd or with the big descents, there are dozens of other possibilities.
Last edited by Scott P on Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Canyonlands Conundrum

Postby peter303 » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:44 am

You can drive into the canyon in at least two spots. That would save your friend some walking. The first is after the entrance of the main park. The second is in a southern section of the park called "Needles". Some of the roads require a high clearance vehicle and some are OK for for sedans.
Both areas are sort of like going into the Grand Canyon, which is further south on the same river.

There are both formal and informal campgrounds outside the north entrance of the park and along the way to Moab. Some of the most scenic are along the Green River. The formal campgrounds fill up completely on weekends and especially Memorial Day. The informal places kind of change around at the whim of the BLM. Other posters can probably give you current details.

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Re: Canyonlands Conundrum

Postby Scott P » Fri Feb 08, 2013 8:53 am

Some of the most scenic are along the Green River.


:?:

I assume you mean the Colorado River? To camp along the Green near Canyonlands National Park, you either have to have a permit to camp in the park (such as at Upheaval Bottom, Potato Bottom, etc.), or a 4wd (i.e. Spring Canyon), or walk/boat in (many possibilities). I can't think of any places to get to the Green River near Canyonlands that are accessible to a sedan other than at Mineral Bottom. You could go up and camp near Crystal Geyser on the Green River, but that's a long way from Canyonlands.
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Re: Canyonlands Conundrum

Postby mountaingoat-G » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:03 am

I did a backpack trip from Island in the Sky down a trial near Upheaval Dome to near the Green River. The bummer part of this is we hiked several miles along a trail to the zone we were allowed to camp, and we see an old Cadalac drive by. It turns out we were close to the northern part of the White Rim road and the spot was not so great. Also, quite windy in May... YMMV

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Re: Canyonlands Conundrum

Postby Scott P » Fri Feb 08, 2013 9:16 am

I did a backpack trip from Island in the Sky down a trial near Upheaval Dome to near the Green River. The bummer part of this is we hiked several miles along a trail to the zone we were allowed to camp, and we see an old Cadalac drive by. It turns out we were close to the northern part of the White Rim road and the spot was not so great.


Camping is also allowed near the junction of Upheaval Canyon/Syncline Valley, which is a long way from the road (and which almost always has good water). Other than there (designated campsites) and the White Rim Road (where you camped), camping isn't allowed on that hike. Almost all of the rest of the Island in the Sky area below the rim is open to free-range backcountry camping, without designated sites.

==================================================================================================================================================

My favorite backpack in Island in the Sky is along the White Crack Trail (which isn't marked on the park maps, but is begins at the White Crack Campsite and is easy to follow until you are near the river), to the Colorado River via Stove Canyon and to the Confluence Overlook (each of the three regions in Canyonlands has their own confluence overlook).

The rock formations are spectacular as are the views. View near the top of Stove Canyon:

Image

Without a 4wd though, it's a long hike in. With a 4wd, it's a good 2 day hike, but you can easily spend 3 days exploring around and there is much to see. With a 4wd and with the trip both to the river and out to the overlook, it's 17 miles round trip, but there are lots of side trips you can take (such as to various overlooks, rock formations, etc.)

Online description of the trail:

http://www.utahtrails.com/whitecrack.html

(PS, although not mentioned in the route description, there actually is a hidden spring in Stove Canyon, but you have to know where to look for it; otherwise you have to rely on river water or pack it in).

There are many other good backpacking trips in Island in the Sky as well, but the above is a good one to start with.
Last edited by Scott P on Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Canyonlands Conundrum

Postby Scott P » Fri Feb 08, 2013 12:03 pm

So it sound slike dispersed camping is allowed all over Island in the Sky?


No, it is only allowed under the rim more than 0.5 miles away from the road (with a few exceptions such as in Lathrop Canyon where you can camp close to the road if walking all the way in), and no camping outside designated sites in the Upheaval drainage. There are plenty of places for dispersed camping in Island in the Sky, but they must meet those criteria.

If you don't want to rent a 4wd or hike below the rim (which would open up dozens of possibilities), then go to the Needles rather than Island in the Sky. Also, if you are looking for an absence of "steep and rough terrain" then your choices are fairly limited anywhere in Canyonlands. Maybe something like Lower Salt Creek (Needles) might fit that criteria (and has water), but your choices will be limited if you want fairly flat ground.

Edit:

PS, is this your "friend"?

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=38900&p=471365#p471365

If so, to be blunt, stay completely away from backcountry of Canyonlands, especially in the potentially hot season (though I suspect that you may just be trolling again).
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