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Backpacker Magazine – January 2011

Our Backyard: Glen National Recreation Area

Explore slots and marvel at arches in Glen Canyon.

by: Andrew J. Matranga

5. Best Arch

Dayhikers would flock to 30-foot-high Woolsey Arch if it were easy to get to—but a six-mile, one-way scramble gaining 500 feet keeps the crowds away. From Rock Creek Bay, head north into the narrows. At the big fork at mile 4.4, take the left canyon. When you reach the abandoned oil well site, hang a right and the arch appears from the exposed bluffs.

6. Most Remote Arch
Scythe-shaped, 25-foot Diagentic Arch is hidden along the west walls of Face Canyon. It’s best accessed across from Gooseneck Point, at mile 24 on the lake. From the water line, scramble 3.5 miles cross-country over slickrock littered with evening primrose and fuchsia hedgehog cacti.

7. Top Photo Op
Yes, the Corkscrew in Antelope Canyon is popular. And you should see why. Hike just under a mile on a jeep track to reach the mesmerizing slot on Navajo land. Just after high noon, sunlight beams from above, causing the sandstone to glow. Photo tip: Toss a handful of powder-fine sand in the air to accentuate the cone of light filtering in through the slot.

8. Deepest Solituday
Paddle/scramble to Clear Creek Canyon’s once-submerged Cathedral in the Desert, a series of falls ending at a 400-foot-high grotto. Paddle north up the Escalante River to the second canyon on the left. Ascend 2.5 miles. Pack a 100-foot rope for rappelling ledges on the return.

9. Houseboat Dayhike
Dock in the small bay at the foot of Hole-in-the-Rock, then scramble .75 mile up the sandstone ravine to the canyon’s lip, where the walls close to an arm’s reach and form the famous crack. Look for blast holes and anchors from the 1880 Mormon expedition that lowered wagons down the slot.

10. Coolest Ruins
Perched 200 feet above the floor of Moqui Canyon are Ancestral Pueblo ruins so undisturbed you’d think the residents “just left to get more water for dinner,” says Chris Griffin (below). From the rim, hike 8.2 miles round-trip, or make it 6.7 miles by paddling from Mile 100.

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