Glen Canyon National Recreation Area: Cha Canyon

This narrow sandstone wonderland is a gateway to unlimited off-the-grid backpacking near Navajo Mountain.
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This narrow sandstone wonderland is a gateway to unlimited off-the-grid backpacking near Navajo Mountain.

Trail Facts

  • Distance: 8.9

Waypoints

CHA001

Location: 37.1594467163086, -110.81298828125

Turn S into Cha Canyon mouth, located in Lake Powell's San Juan Arm. Although campsites are limited, several beach sites are available in the upper bay of Cha Canyon.

CHA002

Location: 37.1545333862305, -110.812522888184

Pull boat ashore; tie up and begin hiking S

CHA003

Location: 37.143310546875, -110.814567565918

Veer R @ fork; pass Navajo petroglyphs, painted on Wingate Sandstone boulders that have tumbled from surrounding cliffs. Semi-wild horses of Navajo herdsmen occassionally pass through the canyon.

CHA004

Location: 37.1345062255859, -110.821159362793

Continue past Cha Canyon waterfall, an enticing stream arcing over a limestone ledge into a calm pool. Trail soon enters narrows, where the canyon becomes even more spectacular, with overhanging waterfalls and pools reflecting the rock's almost artificial colors.

CHA005

Location: 37.1295280456543, -110.825576782227

While navigating the narrows, boulders make for slow travel. Look for signs of "Cha," the Navajo word for beaver, while managing small waterfalls and sloshing upstream.

CHA006

Location: 37.0938415527344, -110.823997497559

North Rainbow Bridge Trail, the beginning of an optional 3- to 4-day circumnavigation of sacred Navajo Mountain. The trail leads hikers across slickrock at roughly 5,000 feet, passing great fins of sandstone before joining Rainbow Bridge.

Fallen rock art

Location: 37.1413536071777, -110.813484191895

©Elias Butler

Petroglyphs

Location: 37.1413536071777, -110.813484191895

©Elias Butler