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From the Field: BACKPACKER Trail Scouts’ Top Western Local Hikes

From a panoramic hike above Sin City and Lake Mead to a slot canyon adventure in Utah, our scouts provide trail beta.

Sulphur Creek Route, Capitol Reef NP, UT
Lori Rome, Torrey, UT

Snake through a slot canyon on this splashy 8.4-mile loop. From the Chimney Rock trailhead, follow a dry wash 1.5 miles toward Sulphur Creek. Hike southeast in the creek (it varies from ankle- to waist-deep and narrows to 6 feet wide at parts). Zigzag through the crooked Goosenecks section, where the rock walls soar 800 feet overhead, and scramble down three small waterfalls before popping out of the canyon near the visitor center. Hike or hitch 3 miles northwest on the park road back to your car. Trip ID 34933

"Go in May or June before the monsoon season.”

Embudo-Whitewash Loop, Sandia Mountain Wilderness, NM
Bill Velasquez, Albuquerque, NM

Traverse the rocky ridges and seasonal streams of this 9.5-mile loop in May, after the snow has melted but before summer temps skyrocket. Ascend along an arroyo to 180-degree mountain and canyon views near mile 4. Continue to Oso Pass at mile 6. (Option: A 3-mile out-and-back spur climbs 1,200 feet to 9,782-foot South Sandia Peak.) Return to the trailhead on the ridgeline Whitewash Trail, with alternating views of 10,447-foot North Sandia Peak and panoramic city vistas to the south. Trip ID 16919

“At mile 4.4, look east into the canyon to spot resident raptors, like red-tailed and sharp-shinned hawks.”

 

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