Thursday, March 20, 2008

Big Spring and Squaw Canyon Loop Trail

The Big Spring-Squaw Canyon Loop is about an 8.0 mile trip and is part of a large trail network in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park.

I started at the Trailhead "A" from the Squaw Flat Campground Trail Head and hiked counter clockwise, taking the 0.3 mile connector to Trailhead "B" in another part of the campground. It wasn't necessary to do that, there is another connection if don't want to go to the "B" trail head.

The route alternates between climbing up and over the high rocky slickrock formations and following the creek beds in the canyon floors.

In the high areas there are outstanding and sometimes dizzying views. To the west some of the Needles formations are visible as well as some of the nearby mountain peaks.

The hiking in the Big Spring Canyon bottom was easy on the smooth trails. Along the trail there are several designated back packer camp sites.

In March, after a heavy snow year there is snow melt water in the creek bottoms, something you don't see later in the year.

Climbing out of Big Spring Canyon I had a little trouble. As I faced the canyon walls I wondered where the route would go, as it looked impossible. There always seem to be shoots where water has worn a slot. There is a spot that is difficult to get up if you are by yourself.

These slots are easy to slide down, but can be slick to climb up. I almost had to turn around. Clockwise might be the better way to hike this loop.

But I made it over and down into Squaw Canyon. It took me about 4:10 to hike the 8.0 miles that I covered, but I hardly stopped, even for five minutes, except when I was nearly stuck. I used all of the two liters of water that I carried, on a very nice 60 F. degree March day.

528614_Cool Camo Russell Outdoors

No comments: