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Utah Hikes: The Case For Glen Canyon

Drought is giving Glen Canyon--and those who love it--a second chance. Here are four spectacular reasons why we should protect this Southwest wilderness by making it America's next national park.

Beyond the known section, we pioneer our own loop, connecting drainages by hiking across once-submerged benches that, like Lower Llewellyn, are virtually unknown. We scout several miles downcanyon and find a ramp near the reservoir where we can scramble up onto sandstone ledges and traverse newly exposed benches about 30 feet above the lake. Tomorrow, we will complete the loop by climbing a staircase of steep slickrock, maneuvering around knife-slit gullies and ridges of rotten rock, and eventually following an old cattle trail that luckily–if anticlimactically–delivers us back to the car.

Getting There Same trailhead as Twilight

The Route To hike this 3-day, 18-mile, cross-country loop, walk south along the base of Fifty Mile Point about 2 miles, then scramble down the narrows of the south fork of Llewellyn Gulch. After 2 miles, you’ll reach the first spring (where the creek starts). There’s good camping in the next 3 miles. Just before the lake, scout the south wall of the canyon for a place to climb out (UTM 12S 0507778E 4120050N). Hike the benches above Llewellyn, then continue along the main Colorado River canyon for about 2 miles beneath high cliffs, until they end and you can climb up onto an expansive dome to camp. Complete the loop by hiking northwest up the large slickrock ramp behind camp (right under the word “Glen” on your USGS quad) to reach the top of the ridge between Cottonwood and Llewellyn Gulches (bottom of ramp: UTM 12S 0508872E 4116935N; top of ramp: UTM 12S 0508807E 4117330N). Continue northwest for about 7.5 miles to your car. USGS quads: Davis Gulch, Nasja Mesa

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