Hole in the Rock Road runs from Escalante, Utah to the actual Hole-in-the-Rock on the Western shore of Lake Powell. It's a 62 mile dirt road that follows the general route of the original Hole in the Rock Expedition, when the Mormon trailblazers crossed the Colorado River and ended their journey in Bluff, Utah. The Hole in the Rock expedition established the trail in 1879, and has since become part of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area, and within BLM Land.
Today's Guest Post is brought to you by Mitch Stevens, the founder and lead guide of Southwest Discoveries.
These trips of a lifetime will challenge you physically and engross you spiritually, leaving an unforgettable and enduring impression of the richest wild places on the planet. The southwest contains literally thousands of amazing hikes. Therefore, we decided to separate the wheat from the chaff and give you the absolute cream of the crop. We rounded up 7 of the grandest adventures in the southwest, treks we have experienced firsthand.
Backpacking the Cirque of the Towers in the Wind River Range of Wyoming should be on every backpackers "to do" list. The rugged terrain offers massive mountains with spire towers, clear glacial lakes, high alpine grassland & wildflowers, and world class hiking, backpacking, and climbing. The Cirque of the Towers is truly a pristine and special place.
Rock Creek Basin is located in the High Uinta Wilderness, in between Rocky Sea Pass and Dead Horse Pass. Getting into the basin requires a minimum 9 mile hike; I highly recommend that you spend at least two nights in Rock Creek Basin to fully explore the area. Some people can backpack it in one night, but doing so won't allow enough time to see everything. There are three ways you can reach Rock Creek Basin: 1) via the Highline Trail from Hayden Pass 2) From West Black's Fork or 3) Rock Creek TH from the Stillwater Reservoir.
Backpacking to White Pine Lake in Logan Canyon can be described in one word - gorgeous! Or beautiful, or awesome, well...you get the idea. This was my first time to White Pine Lake, and I figured I would make the most of my time here and do a quick overnighter at the lake. White Pine Lake is surrounded by a large cliff wall to the West, Mt. Magog to the south, and Mt. Gog to the North.
Coyote Gulch in Southern Utah is one of many quintessential red rock canyons of the Escalante River drainage. Containing several natural arches, natural bridges, petroglyphs, cascades, waterfalls, and pure beauty, Coyote Gulch is one of the most scenic canyons in Utah. Coyote Gulch could be hiked in one day, but why rush? With all that the canyon has to offer, plan on spending at least one night minimum backpacking. Two nights will really allow you to take in the massive canyon walls, sparkling stream, and breathtaking scenery.
On Day Two of backpacking The Bright Angel Trail in the Grand Canyon, we woke up at 5am to do a day hike to Ribbon Falls, a 6 mile hike from the Bright Angel Campground. It was pouring down rain that whole day, which made Ribbon Falls look even more glorious. Ribbon Falls is about 140 ft high, and the flow of water has created a giant travertine spire below the falls, which collects at two small pools, one at the base and one at about 50 ft above the travertine. You are allowed to swim in the falls, but when we hiked here, the temperature was about 45F with rain. Too cold for a swim! You can hike up and beneath the falls. Though Ribbon Falls takes a lot of planning combined with backpacking permit in the Grand Canyon, the 2.5 hour hike from the Bright Angel Campground is well worth the effort!
Backpacking the Bright Angel Trail in Grand Canyon National Park has been one of my long-time backpacking goals. I had been to GCNP about 6 years about, but wasn't able to hike below the rim since I had a dog with me (dogs aren't allowed below the rim). Yes, I could visit the overlooks, but I couldn't get a feel for how deep, wide, gorgeous, and massive the Grand Canyon really was. I knew I had to get back.