At W wall of Driftwood Canyon, scan for steps chiseled into smooth, almost vertical sandstone. These stairs once led down to a mining camp near the river; known as Klondike Bar, it's now 400-plus feet under water.
Location: 37.1155586242676, -111.024200439453
To climb the 300 feet of steps revealed by the drought, scramble up the sloping slickrock from your boat. Pioneered in the 1890s after James Merrick and Ernest Mitchell gave birth to the San Juan River gold rush, this mile-long trail follows the footfalls of pack animals that hauled ore and goods from the Colorado River to the canyon rim up 1,500 feet of precipitous terrain.
Location: 37.116138458252, -111.02799987793
Reach a cairn marking Carmel Bench, a bed of maroon sandstone. Here, the path left the canyon proper and snaked 20 miles around Navajo Point to Hole-in-the-Rock Road; return to your boat or scramble into Driftwood's deep recesses, where a slot full of boulder problems awaits.
TO TRAILHEAD: Driftwood is a boat-access canyon at Mile 45 on the lake. Reach the steps from the inlet immediately west of its mouth, or follow the more difficult approach through a small notch in its western wall.