|The Alcove in the Narrows, Zion National Park. NPS photo.|
The state of Utah boasts some of the best back country hiking in the world, taking the hiker through exotic and distinctive geological settings found nowhere else. Yet its only established long distance trail is not a trail at all, but a route. That is the Hayduke Trail (see link provided below). Although the Hayduke Trail and the Fifty Trail have similar intentions—they both seek to connect the best hiking experiences in southern Utah and northern Arizona via a single route—the Fifty Trail needs a bit more directional continuity in order to fit the Utah segment into the national ‘big picture’. So it was necessary to limit the Utah Segment to the southwestern part of the state. The result, as in many other states, is that some outstanding hiking venues had to be sacrificed. In Utah’s case, the omission of Arches National Park was the most painful.
After crossing into Utah from Nevada the Fifty Trail follows the South Boundary Trail through the west unit of Dixie National Forest. After a bit of road walking through the village of Veyo, the route re-enters Dixie National Forest and traverses Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness via the Summit Trail, Anderson Valley Trail, and a few shorter trails. Another short road walk brings the route to Kolob Fingers Road and the northwest entrance to Zion National Park off of Interstate 15, Exit 40.
The Fifty Trail takes full advantage of Zion National Park’s trail system, first passing the half-mile side trail to Kolob Arch. Spanning 287 feet, it is the sixth longest natural arch in the world. The trail continues to Kolob Terrace Road before proceeding via the Wildcat Canyon Trail and West Rim Trail to Zion Canyon itself. Next the route incorporates the legendary trek of The Narrows, a 20+ mile route of hiking *in* the North Fork of the Virgin River through stunning sandstone slot canyons. There is an alternative Bad Weather/High Water route via the East Rim Trail which is considered part of the Fifty Trail as well.
Beyond Zion’s narrows the trail leaves the park and follows Orderville Gulch to the headwaters bluffs of the Virgin River, climbing up to the bluffs overlooking the river and following the aptly named Virgin River Rim Trail to the west end of Navaho Lake. Rounding this natural lava-dammed lake and hiking its shore, the trail then strikes out northeast via ORV trails through another unit of Dixie National Forest past Mammoth Cave then east across the US 89 corridor just south of the town of Hatch to Chimney Rock Trail then picking up the Great Western Trail ATV route to the entrance of Bryce Canyon National Park at the seasonal road to Fairyland Point.
The Great Western Trail is one of the lesser known of at least five north-south trails that cross the western United States from Canada to Mexico. The Fifty Trial uses parts of them all.
Entering Bryce Canyon National Park at its northwest corner, the trail turns south, traversing the length of Bryce Canyon National Park via its extensive trail system. In the southern part of the park it joins the Hayduke Trail, then also merges with the Great Western Trail again coming out the south end of the Park.
All three trails follow the same route for a while across southern Utah south of Bryce Canyon but both the Fifty Trail and the Hayduke Trail then go their own ways. The Fifty Trail picks Lick Wash to depart the Great Western Trail, the Hayduke Trail picks Corral Canyon. Fifty and Hayduke Trails rejoin again in Park Wash but separate again choosing different routes to the Arizona State Line and the northern terminus of the Arizona National Scenic Trail.
The Hayduke Trail is ‘hard core’. It is designed to entirely avoid private land, but in doing so, here in Paria Canyon-Vermillion Cliffs Wilderness, it skips the world’s premier slot canyon hiking experience—the Paria Canyon-Buckskin Gulch-Wire Pass route. The Fifty Trail uses US 89 through a swath of private land to get to the White House Trailhead end of this route. (Although road walking cannot be completely avoided here, it can be minimized using a back-country route that has not yet been scouted).
In general the Fifty Trail uses road walks through private land where necessary as the ‘glue’ to connect the best hiking trails. It’s a matter of perspective—a different philosophy. And as always, the ‘Hike your own hike’ doctrine overrides everything else. Fifty Trail hikers will be accustomed to road walking from other segments across the nation that are not so well-endowed with public land. The Hayduke Trail seems to seek uninterrupted solitude. It even avoids the popular tourist day-hike areas of Zion and Bryce Canyon National Parks. The Fifty Trail plunges into the crowds because these are popular hikes for good reason—they are the best of the best.
Perhaps only in southern Utah and northern Arizona can an 800 mile wilderness route such as the Hayduke Trail exist. Designing its route and scouting it must have been a pure joy, as was the ‘work’ of designing the Fifty Trail Utah Segment.
|Delicate Arch, March 1973.|
|Landscape Arch, also from March 1973. This is the panoramic landscape that the arch frames—a view no longer readily accessible to hikers since the trail under the arch has been closed.|
So … although it would be a major side trip, the hiker is encouraged to jump onto the Hayduke Trail route and follow it eastbound from Natural Bridge campsite in Bryce Canyon down Willis Creek for ten miles to its gorgeous 2.4-mile slot canyon section—one of the most aesthetically pleasing of all slot canyons—and maybe even onward for another 441.7 more miles to see what might be the most tantalizing hiking venue in the world—Arches National Park—with its over 2000 natural sandstone arches. The Hayduke Trail guidebook is available for sale (check the web site), the route is unsurpassed in beauty, and the memories will last a lifetime.
MAPS and TRAIL GUIDES:
National Geographic Trails Illustrated maps number 702 (Cedar City), 714 (Grand Staircase), 715 (St. George), 214 (Zion), and 219 (Bryce) comprehensively cover the Fifty Trail route through Utah.
Hiking the Narrows of Zion National Park: https://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/thenarrows.htm
More on hiking the Narrows: https://www.citrusmilo.com/zionguide/zionnarrows.cfm
Hayduke Trail, pay attention to its cautionary notes regarding hiking in southern Utah’s remote and rugged country, which also apply to the more remote portions of the Fifty Trail: http://www.hayduketrail.org/TheRoute.html
HEART OF THE TRAIL:
Zion National Park, end-to-end. Eastbound: Chamberlain Ranch to Lee Pass Trailhead, including the Narrows. (55.2 miles without the many recommended side trips.) Or alternatively, westbound, including the bad weather Narrows Bypass: Orderville Gulch Road at North Fork County Road via the Stave Trailhead to Lee Pass Trailhead (50.9 miles without the many recommended side trips).
6174.8 – (add 0.0) Nevada-Utah state border. Start of Utah segment. Dixie National Forest. Continue east on Forest Road 017.
6178.5 – (add 3.7) Sharp right onto Forest Road 001/White Rocks Road.
6183.7 – (add 5.2) White Hollow trailhead on left. Leave road and follow White Hollow Trail, Trail 044.
6186.3 – (add 2.6) Junction with South Boundary Trail, Trail 001. Continue on South Boundary Trail.
6189.0 – (add 2.7) Forest Road 003 intersects from left and curves southeastward. South Boundary Trail follows it for half a mile then they separate. Continue on South Boundary Trail.
6193.6 – (add 4.6) Intersection with Forest Roads 274 and 004. Cross roads and continue on South Boundary Trail, joining Forest Road 871 after 6.1 miles.
6199.8 – (add 6.2) Turn right leaving Forest Road 871. Continue on South Boundary Trail.
6200.5 – (add 0.7) Bull Valley ATV trail comes in from left. Cove Mountain ATV North trailhead is 0.6 miles north via that trail. Continue southeast on combined Bull Valley ATV trail and South Boundary foot trail.
6200.7 – (add 0.2) Bull Valley ATV Trail exits left. Stay right and continue on South Boundary Trail, which is again non-motorized.
6206.1 – (add 5.4) South Boundary Trail and Bull Valley ATV Trails merge again, continue southeastward.
6206.7 – (add 0.6) Cedar Spring Wash. Leave Dixie national forest, enter BLM land. Continue southeast on Bull Valley Road.
6208.8 – (add 2.1) After 2.1 miles Cross Bench Road. Continue southeastward.
X – (add ) After 4.174 miles (from Cedar Spring Wash) reach a significant intersection where a significant road enters from the right at an oblique angle. Continue generally toward the south/southeast then the road bends eastward and finally northward as it approaches the Santa Clara River valley.
X – (add ) After 5.038 turn right onto Veyo-Shoal Creek Road.
X – (add ) After 5.216 and just after crossing Magotsu Creek, reach an odd intersection. This is the route of the Old Spanish National Historic Trail. Paved Bigelow Ranch Road comes in from the left and two paved roads enter from the right making a hairpin turn. They are West Gunlock Road and then West Center Street. Bear right on that second road, West Center Street. Follow West Center Street first southward and then northeastward into the town of Veyo.
X – (add ) After 7.865 miles reach Utah highway 18 at the center of Veyo, with services. Continue straight across Hwy 18 on east Center Street.
X – (add ) After 8.114 miles turn left onto North Spanish Trail Drive.
X – (add ) After 8.664 miles turn right onto East Chad Ranch Road.
X – (add ) After 9.541 miles, immediately after passing a quarry area, there are two forks that both bear northeastward. Take the right fork, which crosses the irrigation ditch and drops down to the banks of the Santa Clara River. Reach a parking area beside the river.
X – (add ) After 9.90 miles cross the Santa Clara River by fording (if there is flow) or following the ATV tracks. The road on the other side of the river crossing has limited use but it continues to be East Chad Ranch Road.
X – (add ) After 10.48 miles reach an offset intersection. First a road comes in from the left. Continue to the triangular intersection where a road comes in from the right and turn right onto that road. You have just entered BLM land. Continue south on this dirt two-track.
X – (add ) After 10.79 miles come to a ‘T’ or compact triangular intersection and turn left, traveling eastward across scrubby terrain.
X – (add ) After 11.91 miles the track turns and bears southward, coming to a T. Turn left to continue eastward on this lightly used two-track road.
X – (add ) After 12.20 miles reach a complex intersection with a yellow painted cattle guard. Turn right to cross that cattle guard and then immediately left onto the much more well-traveled road that continues east-southeastward.
X – (add ) After 13.04 miles a road exits heading south. Continue eastward, straight ahead.
X – (add ) After 13.47 miles pass under high voltage power lines running N-S, and continue straight east past an intersection of a road that follows the power lines southward. This is the boundary of another unit of Dixie National Forest, and the road here is called Forest Road. Follow this generally eastward, gradually climbing
6226.5 – (add ) After 17.73 miles reach an open flat area where ATV tracks run east and west. This is the end of FR 034. The Goat Spring South Trail (Trail 016A) begins here, leaving the open flat area bearing northeastward and quickly dropping into a narrow canyon to reach Goat Spring. The trail then curves around and follows the canyon southward.
6229.9 – (add 3.4) Goat Spring South Trailhead at a curve on FR891, which comes in from the left (east) and continues southward for 265 feet to intersect with FR 033. Turn left on FR 033 then stay right as FR 033 bears off to the southeast then after 1/3 mile makes a right angle turn to bear east northeast. After another quarter mile keep right FR 033 turns southeastward again.
6231.3 – (add 1.4) after 1.4 miles on FR 033 reach a widening in the road, which is the Blake-Gubler Trailhead. (FR 033 continues ahead and drops off the top of the escarpment within a quarter mile.) Take the Blake-Gubler Trail (Trail 026) northeastward along the rim of the canyon, entering Pine Valley Mountain Wilderness.
6234.8 – (add 3.5) Trail intersection just before the course of Forsyth Creek. Trail 012 exits north along the Creek and is also called Forsyth Creek Trail, which runs northward for 5 miles to the town of Pine Valley and Pine Valley Recreation area. Turn right onto Trail 021 and climb, initially traveling southward, then turning east
6238.3 – (add 3.5) Trail Junction. Oak Grove Trail (030) goes right (south). Turn north toward Browns Point Trail
6238.6 – (add 0.3) Trail junction with Browns Point Trail, which continues northward 4 miles to Pine Valley Recreation Area. Turn Right (east then generally northeast) on Summit Trail (number 021).
6245.4 – (add 6.8) Intersection with the Whipple Trail, which comes in on the left (west – 5.6 miles to Pine Valley Recreation Area). Stay right and continue northeastward on the Summit Trail.
6250.3 – (add 4.9) Intersections with three trails in fairly quick succession. First is the Water Canyon Trail (024), entering from left (stay right); next is the Mill Canyon Trail (013), again on the left, and stay right again, and then after another tenth of a mile comes the Anderson Valley Trail (022) exiting to the right (east) with the Summit Trail continuing Northward. Stay right and follow the Anderson Valley Trail.
6256.7 – (add 6.4) New Harmony Trailhead—end of trail—at a broad gravel staging area (for horse trailers) on the south side of gravel road 100N. Turn right onto 100N and head east toward the town of New Harmony.
6257.3 – (add 0.6) Turn right at the post office and head south for one block.
6257.4 – (add 0.1) Turn left onto Center St., Old Highway 144 and head east out of town.
6262.5 – (add 5.1) Texaco Station and underpass of Interstate 15. Continue eastward.
6262.6 – (add 0.1) Turn right onto old Highway 91 and head south parallel to I-15.
6263.9 – (add 1.3) Traffic turn-around at Taylor Creek. There is no longer a bridge here, and no vehicular crossing. Cross the stream to the turn-around on the south side of the stream and continue on Old highway 91, here
6264.6 – (add 0.7) Zion National Park’s Kolob Canyon Visitor Center. After inquiring about needed hiking/camping permits, turn left and follow Kolob Canyons Road eastward into the park.
6266.5 – (add 1.9) Taylor Creek trailhead on left. Continue on Kolob Canyons Road.
6268.3 – (add 1.8) Lee Pass Trailhead on left, with parking a short distance beyond. Turn left onto La Verkin Creek Trail.
|Kolob Arch in the remote western part of Zion National Park, National Park Service photo|
6274.7 – (add 6.4) Side Trail to Kolob Arch – 0.6 mile one way. Main route continues east on La Verkin Creek Trail.
6275.0 – (add 0.3) Trail Junction. Turn right, leaving La Verkin Creek Trail and follow Hop Valley Trail southward.
6280.0 – (add 5.0) Short side trail exits right to an access road. Continue straight on Hop Valley Trail.
|The Subway. National Park Service photo.|
6281.3 – (add 1.3) Hop Valley Trailhead at Kolob Terrace Road. Turn left onto Connector Trail. But first consider a significant side trip to visit the iconic ‘Subway’. This day hike requires a National Park Service Wilderness Permit and is wildly popular, so there is a permit lottery system in place, limiting hikers to 80 per day. To do this hike, turn left onto Kolob Terrace Road and travel south 4.7 miles to the Left Fork Trailhead, then follow Joe Braun’s directions (and map: https://www.citrusmilo.com/zionguide/lowersubway.cfm ) for the roughly 3.5 mile one way (but slow going—an all day hike) to the ‘Subway’, then return via the same route.
6281.7 – (add 0.4) Cross Kolob Terrace Road and continue on Connector Trail.
6285.1 – (add 3.4) Trail Junction. Connector Trail ends at Wildcat Canyon Trail. To left 1.2 miles is the trailhead. Turn right onto Wildcat Canyon Trail, heading northeast.
6285.3 – (add 0.2) Northgate Peaks Trail exits right (south). Continue northeast on Wildcat Canyon Trail.
6289.8 – (add 4.5) West Rim Trailhead. Turn right and head southeast on West Rim Trail.
6290.5 – (add 0.7) Side Trail to campsite 9. Stay left and continue on West Rim Trail.
6296.5 – (add 6.0) Trail Junction with Telephone Canyon Trail. Routes merge ahead, but Fifty Trail continues on the West Rim Trail (stay right) with ‘payoff’ canyon vistas.
6266.7 – (add 3.2) West Rim Spring. Merge with Telephone Canyon Trail, continue on West Rim Trail, dropping down into the canyon then climbing to the Pulpit View point and later Scout Lookout.
|Zion Canyon as seen from Angels Landing. National Park Service photo.|
6302.6 – (add 2.9) Side trail 0.4 miles to Angels Landing and panoramic view of Zion Canyon. Otherwise continue on West Rim Trail, dropping down into Refrigerator Canyon.
6304.7 – (add 2.1) Footbridge over the Virgin River. Cross River to The Grotto Picnic area and trailhead and turn left on Floor-of-the-Valley Road, heading north toward Temple of Sinawava, passing Weeping Rock Trailhead after about 1.3 miles.
6306.1 – (add 1.4) Echo Canyon/E. Mesa/Weeping Rock Trailhead. For eastbound hikers, turn right and follow East Mesa Trail to East Rim Trail. For further directions skip down to the Narrows High Water/Bad Weather Bypass route description. But before leaving Zion Canyon all Hikers are encouraged to continue up the valley and take the side trip up the Narrows—one of the world’s great hiking experiences. For more see next entry.
6307.8 – (add 1.7) Road ends at Temple of Sinawava. Technically, the Fifty Trail route is defined as continuing north into The Narrows, but this is only the westbound route and only then if weather and stream flow permits. Because of the river current, the Narrows thru-hike is only done east-to-west (downstream) from Chamberlain Ranch. It is a 16-mile, 12½ hour walk through knee-deep, rapidly flowing water with big boulder scrambling in places. It is best done in two days, and can only be done when weather/stream-flow permits. The safe hiking season is limited to June and early July or late September. There is a monsoon season that arrives by early July, which markedly increases the chances of flash floods, turning these slot canyons into death traps. For the bypass route see directions next and see provided links for maps. Whichever route westbound hikers choose, do not skip the day-hike up the Narrows from Temple of Sinawava. It is one of the best hikes in America. Start early to beat the crowds. Hike at least the 2.5 miles up to Orderville Canyon and a ways up that canyon for more amazing slot canyon scenery, perhaps also continue on up the Narrows to Big Spring, another two miles. Fifty Trail eastbound purists intending to hike the Narrows will have to hike the bypass route to Chamberlain Ranch, hike the Narrows back to Temple of Sinawava, and then hike the bypass to Orderville Gulch again to resume the eastbound route. For the non-purist, there are shuttle services that will take you to Chamberlain Ranch. Establish plans and get permits before heading up the Narrows.
Narrows High Water/Bad Weather Bypass Route (eastbound):
Starting at Weeping Rock Trailhead, along Floor-of-the-Valley Road about halfway between The Grotto and the Temple of Sinawava, take the trail on the right headed to Echo Canyon and the East Rim Trail.
– (add 0.7) Junction of trail to Hidden Canyon. Stay left, continuing toward Echo Canyon and East Rim.
– (add 1.4) Junction with East Mesa Trail. This is the western Terminus of the Hayduke Trail. Stay right to follow East Rim Trail.
– (add 2.3) Side trail to Stave Trailhead exits left. Turn left and head east toward the trailhead. Hayduke Trail eastbound continues south via the East Rim Trail, taking a huge loop through the Grand Canyon. The Fifty Trail eastbound rejoins the Hayduke Trail at Bryce Canyon National Park and actually follows its westbound course there for a while. See Mile 6447.4.
– (add 0.3) Stave Trailhead. Leave Zion National Park heading east on West Pine Street.
– (add 0.51) side road exits left. Continue straight on what is now East Pine Street.
– (add 0.26) Road makes an abrupt left bend and changes name to Buck Road. Continue north.
– (add 0.7) at “T” intersection turn right on Twin Knolls Road and head east-southeastward.
– (add 0.7) Intersection with North Fork County Road near where the pavement ends. To the right 5.2 miles is Utah Highway 9. Turn left and head north.
– (add 6.2) Orderville Gulch and the end of the Narrows bypass route. Trailhead for technical canyoneering down Orderville Gulch is on a side road to the left. Leave North Fork County Road and turn right to follow lightly used two-track generally northeastward. See third entry below to continue.
End-o-Narrows Bypass route directions
6323.8 – (add 16.0) Zion Narrows North Trailhead. Follow the road east northeast past Chamberlain Ranch.
6324.8 – (add 1.0) Intersection with North Fork County Road. Turn right, crossing Virgin River on a wooden bridge.
6330.2 – (add 5.4) Orderville Gulch Road. Narrows bypass route arrives from the south. Trailhead for technical canyoneering down Orderville Gulch is on a side road to the right. Leave North Fork County Road and turn left to follow lightly used two-track generally northeastward on winding lightly-used roads with a number of name changes and intersections. Follow the GPX track provided here: https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails/fifty-trail-utah-5-ordeville-gulch-n-fork-county-road-to-virgin-river-rim-trail-25171121 and refer to the National Geographic Trails Illustrated Map number 702 (Cedar City) at the very bottom of the South Side map, and follow the road up Orderville Gulch that is labeled ‘95’ northeastward toward the Pink Cliffs then seriously winding back and forth to Dixie National Forest road FR 060.
6346.2 – (add 16.0) While following Forest Road 239, just before the intersection with Strawberry Point Road, reach the Virgin River Rim Trail crossing the road. The eastern terminus trailhead of Virgin River Rim Trail is just over 0.1 miles west. Turn right off road and follow trail around a private inholding development within the National Park, then beside the rim above Pink Cliffs.
6351.9 – (add 5.7) Strawberry Loop Road, FR 059 comes in from the right. Continue on Virgin River Rim Trail.
6355.7 – (add 3.8) Cascade Falls Trailhead. This side trail, 0.5 miles one way with some elevation drop, is highly recommended. Cascade Falls is a waterfall coming out of a cave that is the headwaters of the Virgin River. It is fed by sink holes at the bottom of Navajo Lake, which the Fifty Trail visits and explores after leaving the Virgin River Rim Trail. After visiting the falls, continue northwest on Virgin River Rim Trail.
6358.0 – (add 2.3) Trail junction. Dike Trail, leading 1.4 miles to Navajo Lake, exits right. Continue ahead on Virgin River Rim Trail.
3659.1 – (add 1.1) Trail junction. Spruces Trail, leading ½ mile to Spurces Campground on Navajo Lake, exits right. Continue on Virgin River Rim Trail.
6360.3 – (add 1.2) Trail junction. Navajo Trail exits right, leading 1.2 miles to Navajo Lake campground. Continue on Virgin River Rim Trail.
6362.8 – (add 2.5) Side trail leading 0.9 miles to Navajo Lake Lodge exits right. Continue on Virgin River Rim Trail.
6364.3 – (add 1.5) FR 053. Emerge onto the road with Te-Ah Campground through the trees just beyond. Turn right, leaving Virgin River Rim Trail. Follow FR 053 past the entrance to Te-Ah Campground.
6364.7 – (add 0.4) Sharp right onto FR 369 leading to Navajo Lake Spring Trailhead. Bear right past an intersection and keep right.
6365.1 – (add 0.4) End of road at Navajo Lake Spring Trailhead. Follow Navajo Lake Loop Trail along the north shore of the lake. Do not cross the man-made dam, but continue east along the north side of the valley to where the trail turns southward and crosses the lava flow that naturally dammed the valley creating the lake thousands of years ago.
6369.2 – (add 4.1) Reach FR 053 and turn left to follow the road.
6369.8 – (add 0.6) Where FR 053 bears left continue straight on old two-track cutoff to FR 370 then continue straight on FR 370.
6370.9 – (add 1.1) Dry Valley. FR 054 exits right at a triangular intersection leading to Cascade Falls Trailhead. Continue on FR 370 eastward across the open flat of Dry Valley and on.
6375.2 – (add 1.6) FR 059 comes in from right. End of FR 370. Continue ahead (northeast) on FR 059.
6372.65 – (add 0.15) Just before reaching Utah 14, where FR 059 curves left and Markagunt Plateau OHV Trail exits right, split the difference and bear right on footpath that crosses Highway 14 to reach Duck Lake. Follow the shore of the lake, crossing the dam then angling north-northeast on footpath
6373.0 – (add 0.35) Merge with Markagunt Plateau OHV Trail and follow its winding course northeast then turning east after passing an intersection with a side trail west to Duck Creek Campground.
6373.8 – (add 0.8) At ‘T’ intersection with ORV trail bridge crossing Duck Creek immediately to the right, leave the ORV trails and continue straight on footpath along the north side of Duck Creek. This is the Aspen-Mirror Lake Trail. Follow the creek to the lake shore, then cross the dam impounding the lake and then the footbridge, then turn left toward Duck Creek Village.
6374.6 – (add 0.8) Turn left onto ORV Trail then right onto Movie Ranch Road. Follow the road as it comes to Utah 14 then parallels it through the business district with many services.
6375.2 – (add 0.6) End of Movie Ranch road as it intersects with Utah 14. Continue straight, parallel to Highway 14, on the Markagunt Plateau OHV Trail.
6375.72 – (add 0.52) Cross Lake Road, FR 2116, continue on OHV Trail.
6376.25 – (add 0.53) Cross paved Mammoth Road, FH 050, continue on OHV Trail.
6376.55 – (add 0.3) “Y” intersection. Bear left onto Tommy Creek Loop OHV Trail.
6377.75 – (add 1.2) “T” intersection. Turn left onto FR 1745.
6377.89 – (add 0.14) “Y” intersection. Bear right to continue on Tommy Creek Loop ORV trail.
6378.3 – (add 0.41) Trail intersection. Bear right onto Ponderosa Connector ORV Trail.
6379.2 – (add 0.9) “T” intersection. Turn left onto FR 1744, Ponderosa Loop ORV Route.
6380.1 – (add 0.9) Trail comes in from right. Continue straight on Ponderosa Loop Trail.
6380.3 – (add 0.2) Trail forks. This is the end of FR 1744. Both forks are FR 230. Take right fork and continue on Ponderosa Loop ORV route, heading northeast and then east.
6381.23 – (add 0.93) Uinta Loop ORV trail merges from right. Continue straight on FR 230.
6382.0 – (add 0.77) End of FR 230 at T intersection with well-traveled FR 064. Turn left and follow FR 064 northward.
6382.6 – (add 0.6) Intersection with FR 675, which enters from right. Turn right onto FR 675 and continue northeastward.
6383.33 – (add 0.73) Intersection. FR 1609 comes in from left then side road FR 950 to Mammoth Cave comes in from right. It is worth the side trip to this hikeable ¼-mile lava tube cavern. Otherwise continue straight on FR 675.
6383.5 – (add 0.17) Trail junction. Markagunt Plateau ORV Trail route number 4.47 exits left while FR 675 continues straight. Turn left onto the ORV Trail route.
6384.3 – (add 0.8) Sharp right turn in Markagunt Plateau ORV Trail route with minor trail on the left. Make the sharp right and continue on ORV Trail.
6385.1 – (add 0.8) T intersection with FR 067 within sight of paved FH 050 just to the left. End of ORV Trail. Turn right onto FR 067, which becomes Fish Hatchery Road.
6394.9 – (add 9.8) Intersection with US 89. Cross the highway and continue due east on Fish Hatchery Road.
6395.3 – (add 0.4) Fish Hatchery Road ends at Old US 89. Turn left.
6395.5 – (add 0.2) Sharp right onto Old Hatch Town Road crossing the Sevier River. (Settlement of Hatch, with services is 1.1 miles ahead on Old 89/US 89.) After a quarter mile there is a fork in the road. Stay to the right and follow what is now Big Hollow Road south then later southeast into Hatch Block State Trust land.
6398.2 – (add 2.7) Main road continues straight and becomes Pole Canyon Road. Bear left to stay on lesser-used Big Hollow Road at this intersection.
6399.2 – (add 1.0) Intersection. Continue straight (southeastward) on Big Hollow Road.
6400.2 – (add 1.0) Trailhead, end of Big Hollow Road at Dixie National Forest boundary. Continue straight ahead on Big Hollow Trail, Forest Trail 071.
6402.0 – (add 1.8) Trail junction in flat meadow where canyons fork north and south. Turn left, following Grand View Trail 066 north-northeastward. Refer to GPX file Track
6403.2 – (add 1.2) T-Junction with an old ORV Track. This is FR 601. Turn left and follow this track as it winds its way generally northward along the base of Sunset Cliffs.
6404.2 – (add 1.0) Intersection with FR 109. Turn right (south-southeast) and follow this road as it winds its way up to the top of the Sunset Cliffs Escarpment then begins to descend following Badger Creek.
6405.5 – (add 1.3) ORV trail comes in from the right. Continue straight on FR 109 with a pair of switchbacks just ahead.
6405.9 – (add 0.4) Side Trail 0.1 miles northward to great view. Continue southeast on FR 109 descending to Badger Creek
6409.3 – (add 3.4) FR 110 comes in from left, bear right slightly and continue on FR 109.
6410.8 – (add 1.5) Chimney Rock Trail to Keyhole Arch. Recommended side trip to see this picturesque rock formation. Climb 0.3 miles and do the 1.1 mile loop to circle the arch with great views of Tropic Reservoir to the east. Otherwise continue east on FR 109.
6411.4 – (add 0.6) FR 091 intersects from left. Turn left and follow FR 091 past Tropic Reservoir.
6412.6 – (add 1.2) Turn right off road and follow short foot trail.
6412.8 – (add 0.2) Trailhead and reservoir access parking. Return to FR 091. Stay right to cross the dam on FR572.
6413.5 – (add 0.7) ‘T’ intersection with FR 087/East Fork Road. This is the route of the Great Western Trail. Turn left and had north following the Great Western Trail route.
6415.3 – (add 1.8) Turn right onto FR 088 and continue southeastward.
6416.9 – (add 1.6) FR 185 comes in from right, bear left and continue on FR 088/Great Western Trail.
6417.6 – (add 0.7) Bear right as ranch road to private holding comes in from the left.
6418.4 – (add 0.8) Turn left to stay on FR 088 as road to Bryce maintenance complex goes straight ahead.
6419.6 – (add 1.2) Turn right onto FR 090 to remain on Great Western Trail.
6420.4 – (add 0.8) Follow right curve to stay on FR 090, now heading SE.
6420.8 – (add 0.4) Reach Utah 63, cross highway at parking lot and follow dirt road east.
6420.9 – (add 0.1) Turn right onto paved bike trail. Head south. ¾ mile north via bike path is the Village of Bryce with services.
6421.5 – (add 0.6) Just before paved bike path crosses Utah make a 180 degree turn onto Fairland Point Road and follow the road east into Bryce Canyon National Park.
6422.5 – (add 1.0) Fairyland Trailhead. Bear left to follow the Fairyland Loop Trail down into the canyon.
6428.0 – (add 5.5) Rim Trail. Turn left (south). (To visit the North Campground General Store, less than 0.2 miles, turn right on rim trail and then take the first trail to the left.
6428.2 – (add 0.2) Sunrise Point. Turn right to drop down into the canyon again via the Queens Garden Trail.
6429.5 – (add 1.3) Jct. with Navajo Loop. Turn left to follow the Navajo Loop clockwise.
6430.1 – (add 0.6) Sunset Point. Turn left and follow Rim Trail southward along the rim above the iconic Silent City.
|Winter panorama from the Rim Trail at Inspiration Point looking north at the Silent City. National Park Service photo.|
6430.8 – (add 0.7) Inspiration Point. Continue on Rim Trail.
6432.3 – (add 1.5) Bryce Point. Continue south on Under-the-Rim Trail.
6434.3 – (add 2.0) The Hat Shop rock formation of pillars with caps. Continue on Under the Rim Trail.
6441.7 – (add 7.4) Junction with Sheep Creek Trail to left and Swamp Canyon Loop to right, continue straight on Under-the-Rim Trail.
6442.8 – (add 1.1) Junction with Swamp Canyon Connector Trail. Stay left and continue on Under-the-Rim Trail.
6444.4 – (add 1.6) Junction with Whiteman Bench Connecting Trail (0.9 miles to the trailhead). Stay left to continue on Under-the-Rim Trail
6447.4 – (add 3.0) Junction with old Willis Creek Road in a wash just before the Natural Bridge campsite and Agua Canyon Wash. Cross the wash and continue south on the Under-the-Rim Trail. This is where the Hayduke Trail coming westbound up Willis Creek Road joins the Fifty Trail. The hiker is encouraged to follow the Hayduke Trail route eastbound for ten miles down Willis Creek Road to the Willis Creek Trailhead and on through Willis Creek’s gorgeous 2.4-mile slot canyon section (to the junction with Sheep Creek Gulch) then turn around and return. This is an easy slot canyon to walk, and it is one of the most aesthetically pleasing slot canyons anywhere. For the hiker with unlimited time and a love of southern Utah’s wild public lands, it would not be a bad choice to continue on eastward on the Hayduke Trail 441.7 more miles, all the way to its eastern Terminus in order to explore Arches National Park before returning to the Fifty Trail.
6446.8 – (add 1.4) Junction with Agua Canyon Connecting Trail. Stay left to continue on Under-the-Rim Trail.
6455.3 – (add 6.5) Rainbow Point—end of the Park Road. Continue south past Yovimpa Point and continue on Riggs Spring Loop Trail counter-clockwise
6456.7 – (add 1.4) Yovimpa Pass. Trail intersection. Stay left, dropping back down into the canyon, continuing to follow Riggs Spring Loop Trail.
6458.4 – (add 1.7) Trail Junction. Riggs Spring Loop Trail bears left. Turn right onto trail toward group campsite and Corral Hollow.
6459.2 – (add 0.8) Lower Podunk Trailhead (kiosk and parking area). Exit Bryce Canyon National Park. Join FR 242 and the Great Western Trail, which becomes BLM 541 in ½ mile when the route exits Dixie National Forest. Continue Southeast following the course of Podunk Creek downstream.
6460.7 – (add 1.5) “Y” intersection. Stay left to continue on BLM 541, now also called Bull Rush Hollow Road, and continuing to be the route of the Great Western Trail.
6463.2 – (add 2.5) Junction with BLM 500/Skutumpah Road. Turn right, heading south, continuing on Great Western Trail.
6464.05 – (add 0.85) “Y” intersection. Keep right on BLM 500.
6464.7 – (add 0.65) Triangular intersection. BLM 550 exits left toward private holdings. Continue straight on BLM 500/Skutumpah Road/Great Western Trail.
6467.1 – (add 2.4) Lick Wash crosses the road. Immediately after is a side road exiting left to Lick Wash Trailhead parking area. Turn left, leaving BLM 550/Skutumpah Road/Great Western Trail and follow the foot trail into Lick Wash. Most of the way the trail is the bed of the wash itself. Simply follow the wash downstream through a surprisingly pretty canyon. Be sure to check out several of the side slot canyons in the first mile.
6471.5 – (add 4.4) Lick Wash merges into the Park Wash Valley, which comes in from the north (left). Follow Park Wash southward. The two stream beds run side-by-side and don’t actually merge for another 0.6 miles.
6476.2 – (add 4.7) Informal parking area at Park Wash Road. Road leaves the wash on the right. Turn left onto the road which then essentially continues straight ahead, i.e. southward following the course of Park Wash. Possible water source at windmill/tank 0.1 mile ahead.
6477.8 – (add 1.6) Road junction. Turn right to stay on Park Wash Road, continuing to follow Park Wash valley southward.
6484.6 – (add 6.8) Road intersection. Park Wash Road bears right. This is the route of the Hayduke Trail. Straight ahead is a much more lightly used Paria Breaks Road. Continue straight, picking up Paria Breaks Road heading ESE. However, if for bad weather or lack of the permit to hike the world-class slot canyons of the Paria-Buckskin Gulch-Wire Pass route, then the Hayduke Trail route to Wire Pass Trailhead is a good alternate route. It continues down Park Wash Road to US 89, crosses the highway and shifts into the bed of the wash itself and continues down upper Buckskin Gulch where it is an open canyon except for the last half mile, then turns right up Wire Pass Trail for another short taste of slot canyon to the Wire Pass Trailhead.
6487.0 – (add 2.4) complex intersection of several roads near a big water tank. Turn right, heading SE.
6487.8 – (add 0.8) ‘T’ Intersection, turn left, heading NE
6488.2 – (add 0.4) ‘Y’ Intersection. One road continues straight, one bears right. Take the right fork, heading East then ENE.
6489.7 – (add 1.5) Reach US 89. Turn left and follow the highway generally eastward.
6495.8 – (add 6.1) House Rock Valley Road exits right. This is another bad weather/High Water Bypass route for anyone who has not acquired a permit to hike Paria Canyon and Buckskin Gulch (see next entry for full detail). Bear left to continue on US 89. Bypass route turns right and heads south on House Rock Valley Road 8.4 miles to the Wire Pass Trailhead where you rejoin the route of the Fifty Trail and Hayduke Trail and continue south on House Rock Valley Road.
6500.7 – (add 4.9) Just after crossing the Paria River, turn left on White House Trailhead Road. Stop in at the Paria Contact Station to pick up the Wilderness Permit (and human waste bags) necessary to hike and camp in Paria and Buckskin Canyons. Permits can be applied for online with credit card. There is a limit of 20 persons per day in this canyon system, so a two-stage lottery is involved. Ten of the permits are drawn up to four months in advance via on-line application. Ten more are issued on the day of the intended hike via on-line application or by phone. Check the web site. Go to this link: https://www.blm.gov/node/7623 This trail is more than 20 miles in length, passing through the longest, possibly the best overall slot canyon in the world. Many people who have hiked this consider it to be the best hike they’ve ever done. But be prepared, as always. Be aware of the weather forecast in particular, as this canyon route has no safe escape from flash floods.
6502.8 – (add 2.1) White House Canyon Campground and Trailhead. End of the road. Head south to the Paria River and down Paria Canyon, mostly walking in the river bed.
|Buckskin Gulch – fourteen miles long, a hundred feet deep, and three feet wide|
|Wire Pass Gulch. A mile and a half from the trailhead - Day hike accessible without a quota. Permit/fee still required. Not as deep as the heart of Buckskin Gulch, but still a memorable hike.|
6509.8 – (add 7.0) Buckskin Gulch. Turn right and follow Buckskin Gulch upstream.
6513.9 – (add 4.1) Middle Route exit point to the right. Getting out here may require technical climbing skills, and it’s the only way to escape if thunderstorms are threatening. Otherwise continue up Buckskin Gulch.
6524.3 – (add 10.4) Coyote Gulch enters from left. Turn left, leaving Buckskin Gulch and head west toward the Wire Pass Trailhead.
|Two views of the Wave – Aeolian (wind-produced) cross-bedded Navajo Sandstone transformed into a work of art by the action of water and time.|
6526.0 – (add 1.7) Wire Pass Trailhead. Turn left onto House Rock Valley Road. But first, while here, it is highly recommended to acquire a permit for hiking in the nearby Coyote Buttes area in order to see some of the world-famous rock formations in this area, including ‘The Wave’, which is about a three mile one-way walk from Wire Pass Trailhead.
6527.5 – (add 1.5) Arizona State Line. Turn right onto Stateline Campground and Trailhead access road toward the parking lot at the northern Terminus of the Arizona Trail.
6527.7 – (add 0.2) Arizona Trail, northern Terminus. End of the Utah Segment. Head south on the Arizona Trail.
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