Hayduke notes-Escalante to Bryce

The notes here are a bit sparse but include random info I wrote down on the way…

Section 8|2.9 Round Valley Draw narrows were great but had no water (5th May).

Section 8|11.2 Hackberry Canyon’s first water was here with small pools. Good flow down to Cottonwood Creek at Section 8|20.8.

Yellow Rock alternate
Why Do it?

This is a great little hike up above the canyons which we loved. It breaks up a long Hayduke hike following the bottom of Hackberry and Paria Canyons by climbing up onto the slickrock plateau above for extensive views and the best colourful rock this side of ‘The Wave’. About the same length as the Hayduke but maybe an hour or so longer. We got the idea from this Falcon guidebook.

Section 8|21.1 Starts 0.3 miles south of Cottonwood Trailhead.
Section 8|24.8 Ends about 1 mile south of the Paria townsite.

(Westbound) Exit Hackberry Canyon to Cottonwood Creek where there is trailhead. Follow the creek down for about 0.3 miles to a box canyon on the right with a trail and cairns.

Follow the trail into the box and up the right (north) slope to the bottom of the very obvious yellow dome.

You can cross westward, south of the dome on slickrock but climbing to the top is a must (nice colours and views back up Hackberry).

Descend down south from the dome on swirly yellow slickrock to the large natural cairn.

From the cairn drop west then up slickrock to a north-south ridge. Follow a faint trail northward for 0.3 miles then it heads west, skirting round a small dome.

Keep on the trail westwards although it gets very faint for a while until it improves again to a junction with a north-south trail.

Turn left (south) and follow the good trail down through pinyon juniper. It eventually opens out to great views above the Paria. From there the trail drops down to the river level itself.

Back on the Hayduke….
Paria River
Section 8|30.1 Kitchen Canyon The water quality in the main river is pretty grim- silty and cow trashed. We took water from small fresh spring seeps about 1/3 mile up Kitchen Canyon which were ok but I am sure some of the other springs would be better.

Bull Valley Gorge – Willis Creek alternate
Why Do it?

The approach to Bull Valley Gorge has a big mountain, wild, feel to it and then the slot itself is grand, long and with some good scrambling. 

In short, an excellent little diversion. There is even a car jammed in the slot at the far west end.

Willis Creek is much more gentle and relaxed although again within some fine canyon scenery. The two are connected by a dirt road- ‘Skutumpah Road’. It’s a bit longer than the main Hayduke alternate following Sheep Creek towards Tropic though. You could also use Bull Valley Gorge as a way to connect with the standard Hayduke route into Bryce Canyon – lots of choices!

Section 8|42.9 Split from Sheep Creek and take the left fork of Bull Valley Gorge heading west.

After about 1.5 miles, just before the gorge trends north, on your left/south there is a deep pothole in the slickrock full of water (see pic).

At the west end of the gorge, climb out on the north side, then follow a trail back right -east to the dirt road. Follow this ‘Skutumpah Road’ generally north eastwards to the Willis Creek trailhead. Nice spacious views to Bryce and Powell Point to the north.

If heading back to the common (and recommended) alternate of Bryce Canyon amphitheatre via Tropic, then turn right and head down Willis Creek back to Sheep Creek.

Back to our Hayduke blog

Next Hayduke notes – Bryce to Arizona

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