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

This picturesque Utah hike features natural arches and ancient petroglyphs.
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This picturesque Utah hike features natural arches and ancient petroglyphs.
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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.

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