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November/December 2005

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.

We spend the day lazing about in this new Eden, watching the parade of life. Hummingbirds dive-bomb around our ears; a fat beaver slips into the stream; a bobcat bolts across a sandy terrace. We make toys out of willow twigs and lie flat on our backs watching the reflected light of “water music” shimmer on the overhang above us. In search of the perfect shady lunch spot, we step through a curtain of cattails and discover algae-slick sandstone chutes that tumble into green pools where dragonflies dance.

Eventually, our downstream ramble collides with the lake. But the stench of stagnant water, polluted sediment, and rotting fish stops us in our tracks. We turn around and follow Austin back to the land of the living.

Getting There From UT 95, drive south on UT 276 toward Bullfrog Marina. Turn left (east) at Milepost 32 onto an unsigned dirt road. In 1 mile, go left at a fork, cross a dry wash, and continue east on a 4WD road for 1.9 miles to a T west of Danish Knoll. Turn right and go 1.3 miles, staying right at the fork, to a great car-camping spot atop the ridge (UTM 12S 0529762E 4162744N). From there, take the right fork just down the road and continue southeast another 1.5 miles to the bottom of a small valley. Park where the road crosses the valley’s low point (UTM 12S 0531022E 4161227N).

The Route From the car, hike east along a blackbrush-covered flat, staying on the south side of a small dry wash for about .4 mile until you arrive on the south rim of a slickrock canyon. Continue hiking east to rim’s end, about .1 mile. Descend off the north side of this point down a 20-foot slope with stairstep ledges and good holds (UTM 12S 0531819E 4161338N). Novice climbers may want a rope for this Class 4 scramble. Zigzag down the smooth slickrock, heading southeast for another .3 mile to the creek. USGS quad: Bullfrog

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