2 Free Issues and 3 Free Gifts!
Full Name:
Address 1:
Address 2:
Zip Code:
Email: (required)
If I like it and decide to continue, I'll pay just $12.00, and receive a full one-year subscription (9 issues in all), a 73% savings off the newsstand price! If for any reason I decide not to continue, I'll write "cancel" on the invoice and owe nothing.
Your subscription includes 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Or click here to pay now and get 2 extra issues
Offer valid in US only.

Backpacker Magazine – June 2008

Big Trips Made Easy: Hayduke Trail, UT

Finding total Southwest solitude

by: Michael Lanza

Hayduke Trail, UT - Photo by James Kay
Hayduke Trail, UT - Photo by James Kay

High Sierra | Allagash | Glacier Peak | Hayduke Trail

The trip The otherworldly terrain in southern Utah's labyrinthine canyon country–slots, hoodoos, mesas, bizarre sandstone formations–is as confusing as it is captivating. Get off-track or miss one of the infrequent water sources, and you have real problems. This 55-mile, roughly eight-day stretch of the Hayduke Trail serves up both extremes. You'll travel mostly off-trail, with steep, loose scrambles, deep sand slogs, and a paucity of distinctive terrain features. Long stretches are waterless–including the first 25 miles. In return, you get bragging rights for a spectacularly remote and rarely traveled journey.

Tech assist Use ExpertGPS ( to plot routes using topo and aerial photographs, then send data to your GPS. Plan best-case routes and alternates, since the complex terrain may present obstacles you can't identify on screen. Example: See for our custom file with multiple off-trail routes.

The route Start in Canyonlands's Needles District, where multicolored sandstone towers stand like 200-foot candles above the desert. You'll pass under Seldom Seen Bridge and trek by the cliff dwellings and rock art of Fable Valley. Mark water caches (drop one pretrip to avoid carrying three days' supply at the start) and critical water sources (at miles 24.7, 34.1, and 42). Tip: Waypoint your vehicle at trip's end as well.

The Way Start at Big Spring trailhead in the Needles District, reached via UT 211, off US 191 between Moab and Monticello. Shuttle drop: From US 191, take UT 95 west; 1.4 miles south of the bridge over the Colorado River, turn east onto Road 632. Go 8.6 miles and turn left onto Squaw Rock Road. Continue 2.4 miles to Sundance trailhead.

Guidebook The Hayduke Trail, by Joe Mitchell and Mike Coronella ($20, University of Utah Press)

Map USGS quads: The Loop, Spanish Bottom, Druid Arch, Cross Canyon, House Park Butte, Fable Valley, Bowdie Canyon East, Black Steer Canyon, and Indian Head Pass

Season Spring and fall; summer is extremely hot; winter is cold and icy.

Permit Required for backcountry camping in Canyonlands and Glen Canyon.

Contact Canyonlands National Park: (435) 719-2313,; Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: (928) 608-6200,

Subscribe to Backpacker magazine
Sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter
Address 1:
Address 2:
Email (req):

Reader Rating: -


Your rating:
Your Name:


My Profile Join Now

Most recent threads

The Political Arena
How ISIS got rich
Posted On: Aug 21, 2014
Submitted By: Drift Woody
Trailhead Register
Stick is fine
Posted On: Aug 21, 2014
Submitted By: leafwalker
View all Gear
Find a retailer

Special sections - Expert handbooks for key trails, techniques and gear

Check out Montana in Warren Miller's Ticket to Ride
Warren Miller athletes charge hard and reflect on Big Sky country, their love for this space and the immense energy allotted to the people who reside in Montana.

Boost Your Apps
Add powerful tools and exclusive maps to your BACKPACKER apps through our partnership with Trimble Outdoors.

Carry the Best Maps
With BACKPACKER PRO Maps, get life-list destinations and local trips on adventure-ready waterproof myTopo paper.

FREE Rocky Mountain Trip Planner
Sign up for a free Rocky Mountain National Park trip planning kit from our sister site

Follow BackpackerMag on Twitter Follow Backpacker on Facebook
Get 2 FREE Trial Issues and 3 FREE GIFTS
Survival Skills 101 • Eat Better
The Best Trails in America
YES! Please send me my FREE trial issues of Backpacker
and my 3 FREE downloadable booklets.
Full Name:
Address 1:
Zip Code:
Address 2:
Email (required):
Free trial offer valid for US subscribers only. Canadian subscriptions | International subscriptions