Hayduke other links

Mike Coronella Co-founder of the trail and co-author of the guidebook.

Hayduke website Co-founder of the Hayduke Joe Mitchell’s website.

Hayduke Trail guidebook If you are thinking of hiking the Hayduke then the book is a must…

Across Utah! Jamal David Green’s excellent and extensive website describing his crossings of Utah with lots of Hayduke overlap. Also includes a superb Hayduke section. A treasure trove of information- nice videos too!

Grand Enchantment Trail Brett Tucker has created many other backpacking adventures in the south west including the G.E.T, the Northern New Mexico Loop and the Sky Islands Traverse. Each has a mapset and planning pack-superb!

Andrew Skurka Hayduke map bundle and resources pack.

Nicolas C Barth Sublime Hayduke photos and well described alternates with maps.

Michael Kelsey’s guidebooks These are wonderful guidebooks covering a lifetime of adventure on the Colorado plateau. ‘Canyon Hiking Guide to the Colorado Plateau’ is a must for inspiration and researching alternates but the others are great too!

Edward Abbey Writer, environmental campaigner and inspiration behind the Hayduke Trail.

Grand Canyon permits You will need a permit for your Hayduke hike through Grand Canyon National Park…..

Slot canyons of the American south west Lots of information on hiking the canyons.

Arizona Trail The Hayduke makes use of this trail for around 60 miles in Northern Arizona. The AZT continues all the way south through the state of Arizona for 800 miles.

Back to our Hayduke blog

Hayduke hiker links

These are some Hayduke trail accounts that we have come across, all of which make great reading. I have still to catch up the latest few…!

The Onion Garret Christensen Autumn 2020 Westbound Hiked in a (hopefully) unusual year with Covid-19 restrictions and at an incredibly dry time.

Endlesssummer Autumn 2019 Westbound

Bearlee Chronicles Spring 2018 Westbound

Kerrie and Ray- Thru we go Spring 2018 Westbound

Isaac Takes A Hike Autumn 2018 Westbound

Arlette Laan Spring 2017 Westbound Lovely photos and descriptions. Hiking with Prana and Haiku. Makes you want to get out there and hike!

Treehugger and Blisterfree Spring 2016  Westbound Two experienced desert hikers set out westbound March 31st from Arches NP and another excellent journal. Interesting comparison of Grand Enchantment Trail with Hayduke from the GET’s creator.

Carrot Quinn Spring 2016 Westbound From the author of ‘Thru Hiking will break your heart’ – Carrot and Dan’s 2016 hike.

Drop-n-roll Spring 2016 Westbound The two Kate’s hike in 2016 – including packrafts and a return to Moab by bike!

Katherine Cook Spring 2015 Westbound Superb account of a daring hike taking in many variations into wild terrain.

Erin Saver ‘Wired’ Spring 2015 Westbound Wired’s blog partly with Katherine and partly with Gavin. Another great trip account. Wired’s web site has lots of hiker info plus a link to a Hayduke introductory article written for Trail Magazine.

Niki and Tenny Autumn 2014 Westbound Nice blog and photos.

Lisa Curry and ‘KCop’ Autumn 2014 Westbound An enjoyable read of a recent hike on the trail in autumn 2014 with dog Shilo!

Spiderwoman and The Brawn Autumn 2014 Westbound Lots of detailed Hayduke tips in word document format.

Brian and Martina Spring 2014 Westbound This site! Our blog, photos and hiker tips including alternatives such as yellow rock and kayaking the Colorado from Moab to the Green River confluence.

Brian Tanzman ‘Buck30’ Spring 2013 Westbound Excellent account of his successful Hayduke hike with Skittles including detailed hiker advice.

Rich Larson ‘Skittles’ Spring 2013 Westbound Another excellent trail journal with Brian Tanzman.

Dirtmonger Spring 2013 Eastbound Part of a massive ‘Vagabond Trail’ hike including the Arizona, Hayduke and Grand Enchantment Trails.

Nicolas C Barth Autumn 2013 Westbound Sublime photos and alternates. Unlucky to be halted by a Grand Canyon park closure.

Pace and Whitefish Spring 2012 Westbound Nice trail journal from experienced hikers.

Cam Honan Spring 2012 Westbound Cam hiked westward on the Hayduke to the Grand Canyon south rim before continuing on the Arizona Trail and then the Grand Enchantment Trail to complete a ‘Southwestern Horseshoe’ route- sounds fun!

Ben Mayberry Spring 2011 Eastbound Part of a mega hike on the Arizona Trail, Hayduke, connection to the Continental Divide up to Canada to finish on the Great Divide Trail.

Sandra and Larry Taylor Spring 2011 Eastbound Great blog of a Arizona and Hayduke Trail journey plus more!

Pony Express Autumn 2009 Eastbound Enjoyable trail journal of Pony Express, Lindy and Sharon’s charity eastbound hike.

Andrew Skurka Spring 2009 Westbound Early February start. Andrew created a Hayduke map bundle and resource as a result.

Whiptail and Caron Spring 2009 Westbound Nice blog and paddled the Colorado for a few days from Moab.

Dave and Michelle Spring 2009 Westbound Their first long backpack and another great journal.

Ryan Choi Spring 2008 Westbound A classic! Ryan’s descriptive account with Ben Deumling and heap’s of detours.

Justin Lichter Spring 2008 Westbound ‘Trauma’ completed the first ever Pacific Crest Trail hike in winter 2014-15 with ‘Pepper’.

Shawn ‘Pepper’ Forry Spring 2008 Westbound With ‘Trauma’.

Mike Coronella Spring 2005 Westbound Co-originator of the trail and co-author of the guidebook with fantastic exploration. Lots of trail updates on the website.

Brian Frankle Autumn 2005 Eastbound
The first continuous Hayduke hike- and a great account too!

Back to our Hayduke blog

Hayduke notes-South Rim to Zion

We started by crossing of the Grand Canyon from the South Rim to the North Rim via the Bright Angel and North Kaibab trails. Then we succumbed to the heat of the canyon bottom at the end of May and missed out the western part of the Hayduke’s Grand Canyon traverse and instead skipped forward to finish with a sweltering hot hike through Zion National Park.

Section 12|Bright Angel Trail We enjoyed the mix of hiking up to South Rim on the South Kaibab Trail and then descending back to the Colorado River via the Bright Angel Trail. We dropped from the rim at about 4.45am to get some early hiking in before the heat of the day hit us and that worked out well. I think we made it to Phantom Ranch in the canyon bottom by 8am or so. It was already blisteringly hot in the sun by then though (26th May).

Section 12|28.1 Ribbon Falls are an oasis in the heat of the North Kaibab Trail. Our afternoon was spent in the shade and dipping in the falls before we felt it was safe to head on to Cottonwood Campground.

Zion

Below the East Fork drop off (chimney on the right of the picture)

Section 14|54.2 East Fork Virgin River. There is a drop off here and we followed the climb up a gulley on the left bank about 50 feet before the drop off. Then turn right (downstream) before dropping down a chimney between huge boulders back down to river level. We had to hand packs down this stretch to get through but it was ok (see pic on right). More details from’Across Utah’ website

Section 14|54.9 Once you negotiate the drop off, you have about 0.7 miles to go before the exit out of the East Fork. There is a canyon coming in from the right as a marker at this point and the exit route is straight ahead- a vegetated steep corner. It is a bit of a scrabble up the corner with the easier line heading out right away from the corner- but if you have got this far it will be fine! There are some rock slabs at the top of the vegetation and then the odd cairn and trail heading north. ‘Across Utah’ website describes a better sounding alternate

Section 14|57.4 There was a good trail heading up the draw to the narrow saddle. This has now more use than described in the Hayduke guidebook from hikers returning back north to the road from canyon trips.

Section 14|58.7 Confirming Li’s map statement that there are many deep stagnant pools in the slickrock as you approach the road.

Section 14|65.6 Stave Spring. This was as good as dry when we passed by (2nd June) and it looked like it dries up in the heat of summer – but you only have another 4 miles to Weeping Wall and Zion Canyon!

Back to our Hayduke blog

Hayduke notes-Arizona to South Rim

Arizona State Line to South Rim Grand Canyon
A hike through the high level forested Kaibab plateau then a drop down into the Grand Canyon and a superb journey along the Colorado River to our resupply by climbing to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park.

Kaibab Plateau- This is quite forested with limited views but does allow quick miles. We enjoyed Jacob’s Lake with its bakery though and met some other hikers on the Arizona Trail heading northward which was nice as you are out on your own for much of the Hayduke!

Section 10|57.7 You can reach the North Rim lookout tower that Edward Abbey worked at for four seasons by following the AZT south from here just before the park boundary at mile 57.9. Its probably about half an hour hike one way to the tower. You can climb up but we couldn’t see a way into the lookout hut at the top.

Section 11|1.0 We camped here on the small plateau between the two Nankoweap Trailheads. It is dry but with great views and makes for a quick start down to the Colorado River in the morning.

Section 11|2.0 The Nankoweap Trail was easier than we had read about (at least when descending early in the morning as we did). I wonder whether the trail has been improved recently as it was pretty straightforward rough narrow trail all the way down- and of course very spectacular! The increase in temperature for us on the last of the descent to Nankoweap Canyon was formidable! We arrived at the canyon and its stream around mid-day on 20th May and measured a temperature in the high 30’s Celcius.

Section 11|7.8 Nankoweap Canyon had good flowing water and shady cottonwoods- lovely!

Section 11|10.6 Nankoweap Graneries are wonderful- it takes about half an hour to hike from the river. There are probably a few more use trails around here now than mapped as the rafting companies seem to stop here and climb up.

Section 11|19.2 Colorado River crossing. We waited a couple of hours before spotting a rafting company and they kindly gave us a lift across. There is a perfect little shady cave under the tapeats rock layers here to wait out for rafts just back from the beach and you can dip in the river here too. To be honest we could happily have sat in the shade all afternoon chilling out!

Section 11|21.0 As reported by Dave and Michelle in 2009 , there is a camp spot by the river about a mile on from the Little Colorado crossing. It is just at the ‘Y’ of Grand Canyon on the Skurka and Li maps and there is a small use trail down from the Beamer Trail to the river.
We too found the going tough in the Grand Canyon compared with the mapped mileages!

Section 11|37.5 The Escalante Trail is one wild trip and a highlight of the Grand Canyon for us! There is a good campsite at the mouth of Escalante Canyon with easy access to the Colorado and water.

The water sources are rather critical between Section 11|39.7, Red Canyon, and climbing up to the South Rim (or crossing the Colorado at Ghost Ranch). The trail heads up away from the river onto the Tonto benches which are arid, dry and super exposed to the sun.

Section 11|45.4 Hance Creek was flowing well (23rd May).

Section 12|1.0 Cottonwood Creek south was flowing – at least with a trickle. But enough for us to stop, camp nearby and fill up on water. Cottonwoods around here for shade too (as per the name!). We didn’t check the northern source as we passed by in the dark.

Section 12|6.6 Grapevine Creek. There was no water at the trail crossing but we split and searched for a while. Martina found a spring upstream and I found some dirty water in potholes in slickrock downstream.

Section 12|12.0 Boulder Creek. Dry, but we didn’t search upstream from the trail.

Section 12|14.9 Lonetree Creek. Yes- water in a ‘strong trickle’ and small pools. This was an important one for us (24th May)!

Section 12|17.7 Cremation Creek. No water here, not even close, it looked bone dry.

Back to our Hayduke blog

Next Hayduke notes – South Rim to Zion

Hayduke notes- Bryce to Arizona

A short section but including two great highlights; Bryce Canyon National Park itself and ‘The Wave’, both via Hayduke alternates.

Bryce Canyon- In 2014 the park authority required a bear cannister to be taken for overnights in the park. If you are following the guidebook Hayduke then this might not pose a problem as you could probably just camp outside the park. But for us, hiking the extension via Cannonville, Tropic and the Bryce Canyon amphitheatre, this seemed a bit awkward, as not only would we have to carry the cannister but we would have to return it back to wherever we got it from.

We decided to hike the Bryce Canyon ‘Under the rim trail’ by dayhikes and used a connecting trail (Whiteman) to hike onto the park road and hitched back to Bryce campsite. It worked for us but might not suit everyone. 

The ‘Under the rim trail’ provided some great hiking, like the Chinese Wall on the Continental Divide but much more scenic! The amphitheatre area of Bryce Canyon is drop dead beautiful, but is pretty crowded whereas no-one seems to go on the ‘Under the rim trail’.

Section 9|21.6 Riggs Spring had water (12th May).

Section 9|31.2 Adams Spring had good water 20m right/west of the trail piped into an old bathtub (see pic).

We hiked from Adams Spring to Highway 89 and then hitched into Kanab so didn’t check any of the other water sources.

Section 9|50.9-58.5 Upper Buckskin Gulch There was no water in the bed of Buckskin Gulch, just some quicksand.

It is dry until Larkum Tank at Section 10|3.0 and even further if you visit ‘The Wave’. Although someone kindly stopped their jeep to offer us water near the Arizona stateline campsite but we didn’t need it!

Section 9|63.2 At the junction with Coyote Wash to Wire Pass (nice petroglyphs at ground level) we left our packs and sidetracked down Buckskin Gulch for an hour or so and it was well worth it to see a little of this acclaimed slot canyon. Maybe we will return…..

Nicolas Barth did a great looking complete alternate down Buckskin and the Paria and back to the Hayduke on the Kaibab plateau in a loop and has guidance on his site.

The Wave – Coyote Buttes alternate
Why Do it?

The Hayduke passes so close to this iconic landmark set in an amazing landscape it would be a shame to miss it. Defended by a rather impenetrable BLM permit system though!

How?
Section 9|63.7 We visited ‘The Wave’ in Coyote Buttes from just before Wire Pass. It was pretty easy to find although I think the BLM staff remove any cairns.

After ‘The Wave’, we then hiked out south, cross countrying up Sand Cove over ‘The Notch’ and then onto the jeep road in Arizona which can be easily followed north to the stateline campsite. The campsite has no water but I guess there would be scope for ‘yogi-ing’ some if desperate. The route over ‘The Notch’ required some scrambling and on the descent westwards we picked up trail after a while. A point to note is that the descent trail crosses a wash and climbs its bank on the south side before heading back down westward. The wash itself terminates in a steep drop off so is best avoided.

Kelsey’s excellent ‘Hiking and Exploring the Paria river’ guidebook notes excellent petroglyphs at ‘The Notch’ but unfortunately we couldn’t locate them quickly and were pretty keen to push on for a long day.

Back to our Hayduke blog

Next Hayduke notes – Arizona to Grand Canyon

Hiking along the Grand Canyon

22nd May Little Colorado to Escalante Creek 18.5 miles 
We woke at 4.45 to get some distance in before the sizzling sun hit us again. The scenery and hiking was magnificent down here but the heat- was brutal! The trail now though was excellent, contouring up above the river on sandstone terraces (the tapeats rock layer).

The sun hit us alarmingly early, so we pushed on quickly before the heat built up too much. A stop at Lava Creek, where the trail drops about 1,000 feet to the main Colorado river, was pleasant as we arrived back into the shade.

Morning light on the Beamer Trail, Grand Canyon NP, at 7 am

From there we hiked closer to the river and saw our rafts from yesterday float by. The rafting looks fun but despite the heat, this hiking adventure is the way to go for us! We passed the Tanner Trail campsite and another three miles on to Cardenas Creek. Here the trail climbs up away from the river for a few miles but the heat was too much for us to consider doing that in the afternoon, so we stopped under some mesquite bushes next to the river for some meager shade.

A few hours were spent dipping in the river and lazing in the semi-shade. Haze came in – possibly from a nearby fire- although it didn’t cool the air much!

Riverside stop at the dry Cardenas Creek junction with the Colorado

We had dinner at 5pm and decided to hike on another 7 miles in the evening to the junction of Escalante Creek at the Colorado, which would give us a good camp with the Colorado river as a certain water source.

We set off at 6pm in deep haze with an orange globe of sun just penetrating through, but it remained sweaty and muggy. The terrain had a Mars like feel to it – exaggerated by the red haze. The character of the hiking here is unique as we climbed up the jaggy Escalante ridge with hazy views back down to the river. We walked at a flat out fast pace to make it back down to the river to camp before dark. Descending from the ridge on red soil we reached the black depths of Escalante creek which provided an enjoyable and surprisingly easy route down to the river. That was a great evening hike- we would love to do it again in clearer weather!

Hazy views from the Escalante ridge down to the Colorado

 

Hazy hiking!

 

Made it to a descent campsite just as it got dark!
23rd May Escalante Creek to Cottonwood Creek 13 miles 
Awake early again at 4.45 am feeling fatigued after some hard, hot days! It was a rough little trail bordering the rim of 75 mile canyon, which we had to deviate round then drop back down into to reach the Colorado again. The walls of this narrow canyon were a lovely smooth quartzite and there were fantastic large white datura flowers growing here (great looking flowers that give out a scent at night to attract moths).

Wow- we then came across a fresh dead bobcat lying in the base of the canyon. It looked like it might have fallen from the rim down the cliff, poor thing.

75 mile canyon

 

Bobcat

 

Datura
[We reported the Bobcat to the National Park when we reached south rim].
75 mile canyon opened out to the Colorado river again and we scrabbled along a great route following the river downstream including a steep climb at Papago canyon before a loose steep gully descent back to the river. A short trail along the river then led to Red Canyon, a lovely spot used as a campsite by rafters, where we took a rest and collected water from the Colorado.
Relaxing at the beach at Red Canyon for ‘mid morning snacks’ at 8am !

We now said farewell to the Colorado river for a while as we followed a good climbing trail (the Tonto trail) as it steadily ascended upwards on baked terraces with boulders, cactus, agave and big views. We made it to Hance creek around lunchtime with it’s small water flow amid cottonwood trees. There were campers here, our first other hikers seen in the Grand Canyon!

Next up we climbed for about 1.5 miles past Page/ Miners spring. Copper and silver were mined in the canyon in the 1890’s and there are some interesting relics around.

Climbing up to the flat area of Horseshoe Mesa was fun and we then dropped steeply back down again into Cottonwood Canyon. On discovering a tiny trickle of water under cottonwood and junipers, we declared an early camp here to rest in the shade and take on more water. It stayed cloudy in the afternoon even threatening thunder which was great for us and we could relax at camp out of the fiercest heat!

Near Page Spring

 

Typical Tonto trail scenery 1500 feet above the Colorado river but 4000 feet below the rim of the canyon

24th May Cottonwood Creek to Cremation Creek (dry) 18 miles 
A great evening in camp with some distant thunder and rain to cool things down. Both of us were tired- we went to sleep at 7! With an alarm at 4.30 am we were off hiking into the dark at 5.30 am with head torches. It was light enough at 6 am though as we left Cottonwood Creek and headed westwards in a huge arc on a plateau (the Tonto) way above the Colorado river itself.

There was a good trail on flat terrain which made for easy hiking and the most interesting sections were when we could look down from the cliff edges into the black depths of the Colorado.
Six miles in and we reached Grapevine Canyon – a potential water source. We split to look for water; Brian went down canyon on slick rock and Martina up canyon to successfully find some pools of water. Another 4 miles in and we found shade to rest in Boulder Canyon. The weather built up a bit and it didn’t heat up too much – which was a relief as this is frying territory!

From Boulder to Lonetree Canyon (our intended camp) was easy flat hiking with some bighorn sheep along the way. Arriving at  Lonetree we were delighted to find some small pools of water as this was a critical water source which we had heard dries up in early summer each year. We happily lazed around here in late afternoon watching frogs, lizards and chickadee birds at this little oasis.

We decided to walk on around 5 pm stocking up with enough water to do us overnight and tomorrow before reaching the south rim of Grand Canyon along with its shops and plentiful water!

Our trail continued on quite a burnt out, dry, desert landscape along the flattish Tonto plateau still. On reaching the dry Cremation Creek we found a pleasant camp spot and, since we aimed to reach civilization tomorrow, we splashed out by scoffing our spare energy bars with tea after our pasta dinner- luxury! Both of us are looking forward to showers and fresh food!

25th May Cremation Creek to Grand Canyon South Rim 8 miles 
Another early start to beat the heat, hiking out with head torches and adrenaline pre-dawn. This has been a tough, too hot, but fantastic hike and we push on fast along the flat to meet up with the very popular South Kaibab trail. This is the normal way for people to hike down from the Grand Canyon rim to the depths of the Colorado river some 6000 feet below.

There are other people around now as we turn south to ascend up the well worn trail for 4000 feet of climbing to the south rim, roads and town. We have light rucksacks with little food left, are now lean and fit and we charge up the trail at a fast pace, meeting trail runners, mule trains and lines of hikers of all shapes and sizes coming down in the opposite direction.
We reach the summit rim at 8.30 am to relax after a wonderful, but draining hike!

 

Being watched by ravens….

Descent down to the Grand Canyon

17th 18th 19th May Kanab -Jacob Lake to the top of Nankoweap Trail, Grand Canyon National Park
We had a rest in Kanab to let Brian’s insect bites recover aided by cortisone cream, food, coffee and beer! We liked Kanab. Firstly there is the great little outdoor shop ‘Willow Canyon Outdoor’ where you can sit in with a nice coffee and relax. Also we headed out to a pub called ‘The Dog House’ which is a vegan eatery as well. We had vegan cheeseburger pizza and listen to a live bluegrass band playing outside. Sign says ‘WAG MORE, BARK LESS’.

We had two hitches and a bit of waiting to make it out to Jacob Lake where we met another Arizona Trail hiker, Treker4(?)  Being a bit behind our permit dates for the Grand Canyon, we decided to hitch forward about thirty miles to Grand Canyon north rim vehicle entrance and hike for a two to three miles back onto the trail from there. This also gave us the chance to see a fire lookout tower that the writer and inspiration behind the Hayduke Trail,  Edward Abbey, worked at. A wonderful couple from Wisconsin gave us a lift as soon as we wandered out onto the gas station forecourt to stick out our thumbs.

The lookout tower was cool and we were able to scramble up the tower but unfortunately the cabin at the top was locked.

 

We then hiked along the Arizona Trail at around 9000 feet elevation before rejoining the jeep road of the Hayduke towards Nankoweap Trailhead. Carrying heavy loads with 7 days food and water to do us until the next afternoon made for sore feet. The hiking was easy though through ponderosa and aspen forest and we even glimpsed a couple of squirrels but were unsure if they were the famous Kiabab species.

Our first views of the Grand Canyon itself came when we reached the Nankoweap jeep track trailhead around 5 pm. It was hazy but even so it was impressive as our first ever glimpse into the Grand canyon itself! We hiked onto a ridge protruding into the canyon over a hilltop then down onto a small plateau where we set up camp under some ponderosa at a lovely spot. An evening stroll along the rim of the canyon to catch some late sun catching the cliffs of the canyon walls was a pleasure.

 

20th May Nankoweap Trail down to the Colorado River Grand Canyon 15.5 miles
This was an exciting day that we had been looking forward to- our descent of 6000 feet + down into the Grand Canyon on ‘the most difficult of the named trails in the Grand Canyon’.

It was very windy overnight with some strong gusts banging against the tent only giving us an intermittent sleep. Despite that we were up at 6 and away hiking by 7 starting with descending a tree covered ridge before we dropped off down into the canyon itself. There wass a clear trail to follow and for a while it traversed and undulated between cliff bands with tremendous views down into the canyon. Both of us were going well this morning with the shaded, rugged trail hiking and the exciting views.

Nankoweap descent

After rounding Marion Point we continued traversing before the trail descended south east more deliberately into Nankoweap Creek valley. The sun was on us now and the heat notched up into the high 20s C. The terrain wass much more arid as well with thorny shrubs and giant agave peppering the dusty ground.

Descending through some lovely colored rock layers of yellow, limestone white, green and black lava rock, the temperatures reached furnace like levels and we were super glad to reach cool shady cottonwood trees and trickling water at Nankoweap Creek for an early lunch break at 11:15.

We had heard that the Nankoweap trail would be difficult but we found it a lovely easy hike, it is the heat that could make it hard (especially if hiking in the other direction, uphill)- it looked like there has also been recent trail maintenance carried out here to ease the way- THANKS!).

We reluctantly left the shade to descend down the rocky wash towards the Colorado river. The temperature reached body melting levels and it started to fry our brains a little as we both got grumpy but stumbled on. Eventually we reached the huge Colorado river in the Grand Canyon and found a lovely beach to pitch the tent in the most amazing of settings. What a fantastic place!

First camp by the Colorado at Nankoweap
Camp cooking!

After dinner and the sun thankfully sinking below the cliffs, we had enough energy again for an evening hike 300 feet up to the wonderful Nankoweap granaries. These are believed to be food storage caves built into the cliff around 1100 AD. The situation is also a candidate for the best viewpoint along the Grand Canyon (IMHO)- tremendous! We descended back to the tent and rested with a late tea and bats swooping overhead.

The Nankoweap granaries built into the cliffs above the Colorado river

21st May Nankoweap granaries to Little Colorado river 12 miles

We were up early for a potentially interesting day on three counts:
-it would likely be in the 30’s Celsius again today,
-there was a reportedly rough section ahead following the west bank of the Colorado river downstream without trail over boulders and scrub,
-and lastly we would then have to try and get a hitch across the Colorado river from a raft or other boat going downstream (the Colorado is way to big, deep,cold and fast flowing for us to cross without a raft or boat).

Since we hadn’t seen any boat traffic on the river yesterday, the hitch might take a while!

We started at 6.15 am in the delicious morning shade with sandy animal trails winding round the deep thorny vegetation. For some of the way we managed to follow the shore, wading in the shallows of the river, but mostly we boulder hopped and bushwhacked for 9 miles through every type of spiky bush and cactus imaginable!

Torn, sweaty and disheveled we made it to a beautiful little sandy beach suitable for hitching a lift from a boat at 12:15. Wonderfully, the beach also came with an overhanging shady rock ledge to sit out from the blazing heat while we waited. We even snuck out from our protective shade for a refreshing swim in the river.

IMG_1819
Our lovely Colorado river hitching location

To be honest, it was so relaxing in our shade next to the beach in this amazing place, we were both quite happy sitting around chilling, but we have next to no spare food so we really needed a lift today at least. And lo! – a couple of hours later river rafts appeared round the corner and we leapt out and waved.

Phew! – the rafts from ‘Outdoors Unlimited’  outfitters happily agreed to take us a across!- and better, a mile or two down river to the junction of the Little Colorado and the Colorado rivers.

The rafts

 

The river raft guides were interested in our journey, and we in theirs, and we had a nice short chat before we landed at the other side of the river. We were now in a busy little spot after lot’s of time hiking alone. The rafts stopped here to let people out to hike up the Little Colorado river for a while. There were also researchers studying the ‘humpback chub’ – a fish that seems to like the mineral rich, limestone waters.

The Little Colorado is a big river in its own right, draining a large part of Northern Arizona, and it was a deep wade to get across.  A friendly researcher took us up river though to show us the best crossing point of this beautifully turquoise blue river. It was thigh deep but the water is warm, fed from hot springs upstream, making for a relatively easy crossing in the end.

We then picked up a trail again (the Beamer Trail) for some easier hiking we hoped. First though we sat out the oppressively hot sun in a shady spot and decided to camp nearby to hike on in the early morning tomorrow…

Martina crossing the Little Colorado
The confluence of the Little Colorado and Colorado rivers

We cross over to Arizona

12th May Out of Bryce south to Park Wash 20 miles

The next day we woke up to sunny snow cover and frosty conditions. Fortifying ourselves with breakfast at Best Westerns (hash browns, eggs, toast and pancakes) we were ready to take on our hike again!
We negotiated a lift back to our trail and were soon hiking on trails in the crisp post storm air at 9000 feet. Dropping down from Rainbow Point to ‘Riggs Spring’ brought us below the snow line to warmer air and lush green scenery of Ponderosa, White Fir, Douglas Fir, Manzaneta, Juniper and Pinyon.
Heading on south out of the national park we hiked on jeep tracks through more open but still pleasant country. We headed away from the jeep tracks into Bullrush Gorge which started as a dirt banked dry river but turned nicely into a steep sided gorge but this time with broken sides and trees growing from the walls. Deciduous trees here included oak and mahogany. It’s amazing how every canyon has it’s own character.
It’s always cheering to find water and Adam’s Spring didn’t disappoint- water flowed clear and healthily into an old bathtub just off the trail.
Our campsite was a mile or so south from here amidst some great sandstone tepees and we scrambled up the rock to have a splendid dinner amidst rock and ponderosa. Excellent day!
Heading south from Rainbow Point

 

Park Wash camp
13th May Park Wash to Highway 89 and hitch to Kanab 19 miles
Another cold clear frosty morning and we headed off at 7.40 with the aim of reaching the highway early enough to hitch a ride into the town of Kanab.
Hiking here was down a sandy bottomed wash to No Man’s Mesa. The wash had maybe 10 feet high dirt banks topped with sagebrush and there were lots of cows around. The views to the surrounding white vertical cliffs were great though. After a couple of hours we hit a windmill (not working) and better jeep tracks following a terrace above a wash. The valley was filled with a carpet of green grass and sage. BLM have signs marking restoration work done here which looked like it is having a positive effect.
Making good time on the jeep tracks, we meet two guys looking at artifacts from Indian settlements for BLM. They agreed to give us a lift into Kanab which we welcomed as we thought it might be a difficult and lonely hitch out here!
Kanab is a cool town but with a slightly pre-season feel to it. We checked in at the small Travelers Motel on the east side of town and it was a great place for us -sitting outside the motel munching bagels happily into the evening!
Brian striding towards town…
14th May Buckskin Gulch 16 miles
We get a ride back out along Highway 89 in the morning and are soon hiking down Buckskin Gulch in much warmer temperatures now.  The upper gulch is all beige limestone with marine fossils a-plenty.
We popped out to the dirt road of Buckskin Gulch trailhead. It was broad to start from there but with lovely red walls and swirly layers of sedimentary rock. We were back in the familiar (and favorite) red gold and orange sandstone layers of Navajo, Kayenta and Wingate. The heat was intense now in the afternoon and we lunch in the shade under a juniper. Soon we are hiking down the narrow canyon of Buckskin itself  and reach a junction where the Hayduke heads off to ‘Wire Pass’.
There are interesting sheep petroglyphs here. We drop our backpacks and head further down Buckskin Gulch ( a canyon famous for its continuous 12 mile slot and it’s beauty) for an explore. Returning back after a couple of hours of amazing canyon shifting light and reflected light on steep red walls, we vowed to return someday to do the full Buckskin and lower Paria Canyon traverse down to the Colorado river or as a long alternate loop of the Hayduke.
We set up a camp nearby after carrying water from town for today and most of tomorrow.

 

Sheep petroglyphs
Buckskin Gulch
15th May Buckskin Gulch to Arizona Trail meadow 21 miles
An alarm at 5.30 am went off this morning ready for a visit to a beautiful sandstone area called ‘The Wave’ in the early morning. We walked amongst glorious sculpted sandstone slabs and spend a relaxing hour or so wandering around the scenery. Fantastic and it was nice to enjoy it with no-one else around!
Coyote Buttes near the Arizona / Utah border

 

Coyote Buttes

 

Near The Wave
IMG_1678
From ‘The Wave’ we continued up valley on sand, slabs and rocks to reach a notch on a rocky ridge. The descent westwards down from there was a bit difficult and we had to retrace our steps on one occasion to get round a dry water pour off cliff. Lower down we find a trail and relaxed as we dropped down to a dirt road.
Descending back down from  ‘The Wave’ -Coyote Buttes
A guy in a pickup stopped to ask us if we needed water, which was very kind of him, but as it happened, we were carrying about the right amount now to get us to our next mapped water source 2-3 miles away on good trail. We didn’t want to carry any extra weight so reluctantly said no to the water.
One mile of the dirt road in hot, dusty conditions and we reached the Arizona/Utah border at the end point of another more famous trail- the Arizona Trail. There is a campsite here with shade, tables, benches and a privy(!) but no water and we had a late morning rest here in the shade.
Around 11.30 we set off south on the Arizona Trail and marvelled at the well constructed easy path we were now hiking on as a contrast to the rougher normal way on the Hayduke. An actual trail to hike on with sign posts and no bushwhacking! -walking was easy now for a while! The trail climbed and the heat picked up even more though with little shelter from the low lying desert scrub.
It was a relief to locate our next water source – a big open tank in the pic below- the black dots are mosquito larvae – mostly – which Martina deftly filtered out through her neckerchief.
Taking water to do us the rest of today and tomorrow morning to get us to the small resort of Jacob’s Lake, we gradually climbed into high desert forest of the Kaibab plateau on this good trail but with limited views. We were both going well and are hiking fast into the evening although it hurt a bit in the hot conditions on hard packed trail. Interesting to see two raven nests with chicks fairly low down near to the ground in juniper trees and to meet two new types of lizard we hadn’t seen before.
16th May Arizona Trail meadow to Jacob Lake 14 miles
Brian’s legs were covered in big welts from insect bites in the morning which were super itchy- he must have got them from being bitten in the evening at Coyote Buttes. We were up early again though and hiking by 7.15 am to catch some cool morning air.
A rare thing happened- we met another hiker at 7.30 am- he was doing the Arizona Trail but unfortunately wasn’t chatty so we pass on. Given that we have hardly met any other hikers on this trip it would have been great to exchange hiking experiences with someone else, but – oh well!
We soon enter into tall ponderosa pine forest at about 7,000 feet which provided some shade and morning air is cooler then yesterday’s hot miles so we made good time. Brian’s itching bites got worse and it seemed a bit of an allergic reaction so we resolved to put our head’s down to make it quickly to Jacob Lake.  We can then tried and hitch back into Kanab to get to a pharmacy – we also hopefully have new shoes arriving at the post office there.
We hit Highway 89A at about 11.15 and hiked the road up to Jacob Lake. Picked up a lift from a Texan couple heading to a Mormon wedding in St George, Utah who drop us off in the small town of Fredonia where we got another lift the final 7 miles to Kanab by a Mormon WiFi engineer. Thanks everyone for the lifts and we enjoyed chatting and finding out about Arizona/Utah!

Hayduke Trail 2014

The Hayduke Trail is a 800 mile hike and scramble through the canyons of the Colorado Plateau in southern Utah and northern Arizona USA. The route links six stunning National Parks…. Arches, Canyonlands, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Grand Canyon and Zion.

The route connecting the parks stays pretty much in public lands including the wonderful Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and numerous National Forests, BLM Districts, Primitive Areas, Wilderness Areas and Wilderness Study Areas.

Pre hike

  1. Off to the US to hike the Hayduke
  2. Hayduke Planning
  3. Hayduke training
  4. Move
  5. Getting sorted to get going
  6. First Impressions

The Walk

  1. First 3 days in Arches National Park
  2. Paddling down the Colorado River
  3. The Colorado River to Hanksville
  4. The Henry mountains and Tarantula mesa
  5. Capitol Reef National Park
  6. Into the Escalante canyons
  7. Escalante!
  8. Round Valley Draw to Hackberry Canyon
  9. Paria River
  10. Into Bryce Canyon National Park
  11. We cross over to Arizona
  12. Descent down to the Grand Canyon
  13. Hiking along the Grand Canyon
  14. Exit from the Grand Canyon
  15. Final hike to Zion National Park

Post hike

  1. Normal tourists!
  2. Colorado Rockies
  3. Sangre de Cristo mountains backpack
  4. Pecos Wilderness New Mexico
  5. Our 5 minute youtube video

HIKER INFORMATION

Our notes