Friday, April 29, 2011

Lost Canyon Loop Trail

The Lost Canyon Loop Trail is one of the many hiking routes in the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park in southeast Utah. The hike starts at the Squaw Flats Campground Trailhead “A.” After 1.1 miles, there is a trail junction with the Squaw Canyon Trail.

I continued past the Squaw Canyon Trail junction another 1.5 miles to the Lost Canyon Trail Junction to make the hike a clockwise loop.

The route to arrive at Lost Canyon includes some of the typical scrambling over sandstone outcrop sections that make the Needles District trails challenging. There is one short ladder to climb down. The views from the top of the sandstone segments are always spectacular.

 It took me 1:15 hours to go the 2.6 miles to arrive at the lower end of Lost Canyon. The Peekaboo Trail continues east past this point for 2.8 miles. The trail segment up Lost Canyon is 3.2 miles. From the lower end of Lost Canyon it is 6.1 miles back to the trailhead.

Lost Canyon has more flowing water and riparian habitat compared to Squaw and many of the other nearby canyons.

The trail is somewhat sandy and crosses the stream many times. There are many cottonwood trees along the stream, with Pinon Pine, Utah Juniper, and sagebrush fields along the canyon sides.

I got confused at the point where the trail exits Lost Canyon and starts to climb over the divide to Squaw Canyon. The trail has been following the stream and there are hiker tracks that continue past the turn off, making it easy to miss.

The upper part of Lost Canyon that is beyond the trail may be a good place to look for ruin sites, but I didn’t see any in the several hundred yards that I explored. I walked up to the next canyon junction before I realized I was off the trail.

The climb out of Lost Canyon follows a narrow side canyon and then climbs up a sandstone bowl with good views at the top.

 On the downward side, there is a segment along a wide but slanting ledge. On the climb up to the top of the sandstone bowl, there are one or two spots that are somewhat exposed.

The descent into Squaw Canyon is a very scenic stair step cascade down a dry waterfall. My total time in Lost Canyon was about 3:00 hours for the 3.2 miles, including about 0:40 minutes of side trip off the trail.

From the Lost Canyon Trail junction with the Squaw Canyon Trail it is 1.7 miles to the starting trail junction and 2.8 miles total back to the Squaw Flats trailhead. My total hike for about 9 miles took 5:50 hours. In late April, it was 51 F degrees at 10:15 AM and 68 F at my 4:05 PM finish. I carried and drank 3 liters of water.

532497_120 x 90 Starting Salary $42k. Group 1

No comments: