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Backpacker Magazine – May 2010

Canyon: Davis Gulch, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, UT

This picturesque Utah hike features natural arches and ancient petroglyphs.

by: Kris Wagner, Maps by Andrew Matranga


If you measure hikes by jaw-dropping moments, not distance, you’ll lose count by the second bend on this 14.5-mile classic. (Like what you see? Try this .) You’ll traverse Navajo sandstone domes and open slickrock before descending into a wash filled with sagebrush, yucca, and snakeweed.

Fill a memory card with shots of natural arches and ancient petroglyphs, and camp below stunning alcoves. This area has also been the setting for a few mysterious disappearances: A pre-Columbian civilization abandoned the place 700 years ago; and Everett Ruess, an enigmatic artist and wanderer, vanished here in 1934.

INFO Get free walk-in permits at the Escalante visitor center: (928) 608-6200; nps.gov/glca. Trip data: backpacker.com/hikes/12099

1. Hole-in-the-Rock Trailhead
0501221E 4123445N; mile 0
Head north on approach trail that parallels Davis Gulch. Behind you, the 50 Mile Bench borders a vast scrubland.

2. Enter Davis Gulch
0504114E 4128343N; mile 4.0
Turn right onto abandoned stock trail (look for cairns) and descend steep slickrock to a well-worn path.

3. Finding Nemo
0504390E 4128219N; mile 4.3
The remains of a corral mark the final known campsite of Everett Ruess, who scraped “Nemo” (Latin for “no one”) into surrounding canyon walls 76 years ago—and then disappeared.

4. LaGorce Arch
0505494E 4129283N; mile 5.5
Scramble around tiny waterfalls that nourish the lush riparian environment, and stand in the shadow of LaGorce Arch.

5. Bement Arch
0503120E 4126356N; mile 8.5
Pass by 400-foot-high alcoves to reach this locomotive-size arch, the end of navigable terrain. Backtrack six miles to trailhead.
Canyon Bound
See more canyon hikes.



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READERS COMMENTS

Chadwick
Apr 06, 2012

You're way off about Ruess, Wanderer. If anyone had how-to skills, it's the man who wandered the desert for months and months at a time in the much wilder 1930s.

Also, your last paragraph lacks...focus.

Wanderer
Nov 01, 2011

Not hard to understand about the missing man. Utah's canyons are deserts are dangerous for those who lack understanding of navigation skills and 'how to' skills.

The man was caught in a flash flood or succumbed to snake bite or fell into a ravine or got lost and died of dehydration. His bones are out there buried in the sand. Not hard to understand.

I know a woman hiker who can out hike most people. But she can't even read a topo map. I know another guy who carries a compass but does not know how to use it ! And I knew another person who carried a pack but it lacked even a warm layer as it turned out during a cold evening wind.

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