WOW. Think of it as the Wonder of Wilderness. Because that’s your destination when Hiking from Here to WOW: Utah Canyon Country by Kathy and Craig Copeland is your guide. It describes the 90 most compelling trails within our planet’s most bizarrely beautiful region.
The authors hiked more than 2,300 miles through Zion, Bryce, Escalante-Grand Staircase, Glen Canyon, Grand Gulch, Cedar Mesa, Canyonlands, Moab, Arches, Capitol Reef, and the San Rafael Swell. Then they winnowed all that exploration down to their favorite hikes: each selected for its power to intrigue, to stir, to dazzle, to mystify, to inspire, to thrill, and to incite awe.
Their 480-page book describes precisely where to find the red rock cliffs, slick rock domes, soaring arches, and ancient ruins that make southern Utah unique in the world. It offers the boot-tested advice you need to create rewarding adventures. And it does so in refreshing style: unstintingly honest, entertainingly written, lavished with gorgeous photography, creatively designed.
WOW Utah is full-color throughout, includes an easy-to-grok trail map for each day hike and backpack trip, and liberally dispenses the Copelands’ discerning counsel on how to make the most of every precious weekend or vacation. Their approachseparately presenting Opinion and Fact for each hikeis unconventional and extremely helpful. Their thoughtful, compelling descriptions interpret Utah canyon country in ways that are clever, poetic, penetrating, spiritual, startling, and sometimes just plain funny. So Hiking from Here to WOW: Utah Canyon Country provides hours of rapt reading even when you’re not choosing a hike.
This guide is is ideal for intermediate to advanced hikers keen to be on the trail for four to six hours a day.
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About the Author
Kathy and Craig are dedicated to each other and to hiking, in that order. Their second date was a 20-mile (32-km) dayhike in Arizona. Since then they haven’t stopped for long. Hiking and writing are their professions. Together, they’ve hiked more than 40,000 miles through wildlands worldwide. Their total book sales exceed 205,000 copies. They’ve trekked through much of the world’s vertical topography, including the Nepalese Himalaya, Patagonian Andes, and New Zealand Alps. In Europe, they’ve hiked the Scottish Highlands; Spain’s Costa Blanca and Els Ports mountains; Mallorca’s Serra de Tramuntana; the Alpes Maritimes; the Austrian, French, Swiss, and Italian Alps; the French and Spanish Pyrenees; and Italy’s Monti Liguri and Dolomiti. In North America, they’ve explored the B.C. Coast, Selkirk and Purcell ranges, Montana’s Beartooth Wilderness, Wyoming’s Grand Tetons, the Colorado Rockies, the California Sierra, and Arizona’s Superstition Wilderness and Grand Canyon.
Visit Kathy and Craig’s website: hikingcamping.com. You’ll find their articles are often mini-guidebooks, and their photo gallery is constantly growing. In 1989, they moved from the U.S. to Canada, so they could live near the range that inspired the refreshingly unconventional book: Don’t Waste Your Time in the Canadian Rockies, The Opinionated Hiking Guide. Its popularity encouraged them to abandon their careersKathy as an ESL teacher, Craig as an ad agency creative directorand start their own guidebook publishing company: hikingcamping.com.
They now migrate annually to southern Utah, where they wrote Hiking From Here To Wow: Utah Canyon Country. Though the distances they hike are epic, Kathy and Craig agree that hiking, no matter how far, is the easiest of the many tasks necessary to create a guidebook. What they find most challenging is the need to spend twice as much time at their computerswriting, organizing, editing, checking factsas they do on the trail. The result is worth it. Kathy and Craig’s colorful writing, opinionated commentary, and enthusiasm for the joys of hiking make their guidebooks uniquely helpful and compelling.
Read an Excerpt
Tri p 22
FOX CANYON & TWENTYFIVE MILE WASH
Hole-in-the-Rock Road Glen Canyon National Recreation Area
round trip 15.2 mi (24.5 km)
elevation change 1030-ft (314-m) loss and gain
key elevations: trailhead 5490 ft (1673 m), confluence of Fox Canyon and Twentyfive Mile Wash 4580 ft (1396 m)
Escalante River 4460 ft (1360 m)
hiking time: 2 to 3 days
maps: Trails Illustrated Canyons of the Escalante, USGS Egypt
It’s a long trudge to the Escalante River via Twentyfive Mile Wash, and it’s a rather mundane boulevard most of the way. But you can shorten the round trip by 14 mi (22.5 km) and significantly increase the reward-to-effort ratio by dropping into Twentyfive’s impressive lower reaches via Fox Canyon.
To do so you must navigate cross-country to Fox Canyon, then enter it by way of a short but steep friction-walk. If you have any routefinding experience, the 1 mi (1.6 km) across trail-less terrain will pose no difficulty as long as you carry a compass in one hand and the 1:24 000 topo map in the other. As for dropping into Fox, the slickrock-ramp entry appears more committing than it actually is. A nervous novice might manage it on the seat of his hopefully double-bottomed shorts if not on the soles of his boots.
The entire trip is scenic. From the trailhead, you’ll hike on rolling sandstone across the outer edge of Early Weed Bench, with sweeping views of canyon country. Fox Canyon is short but intriguingly narrow. And while “wash” aptly describes most of Twentyfive Mile, the stretch you’ll be hiking is a full-blown canyon. The bulbous sandstone walls tower above and occasionally overhang the meandering trickle you’ll follow to the Mother Escalante.
Beyond the confluence of Fox Canyon and Twentyfive Mile Wash, navigation is simple: just head downstream, without being diverted up the four primary tributary drainages. The hiking, however, might not be a total cakewalk. In the past, the riparian vegetation has been thick and ornery á la Southeast Asia.
Before Your Trip
Stop at the Escalante Interagency Visitor Center before driving the Hole-inthe-Rock Road. Get a current weather report, ask about the condition of the road, and find out how deep the Escalante River is likely to be.
The stream in lower Twentyfive Mile is often a trickle: shallow enough to walk in without soaking your footwear, narrow enough to easily hop across. But in case it’s not, amphibious footwear is preferable. Wear technical sandals designed for hiking, or fabric hiking boots you don’t mind dunking. If you intend to continue in the Escalante River, dunkable boots are essential.
From Boulder, at the junction of Hwy 12 and Burr Trail Road, drive Hwy 12 west, then generally south. At 12.7 mi (20.4 km), just past Calf Creek Rec Area, reset your trip odometer to 0 on the Escalante River bridge. Proceed south. At 4.5 mi (7.2 km) stop at the scenic overlook, then proceed west. At 9.5 mi (15.3 km) turn left (south) onto the signed, unpaved Hole-in-the-Rock Road.
From the southeast edge of Escalante, near the high school, drive Hwy 12 generally southeast. At 4.5 mi (7.3 km) turn right (south) onto the signed, unpaved Hole-in-the-Rock Road.
From either approach, depart Hwy 12, reset your trip odometer to 0, and follow the Hole-in-the-Rock Road southeast. At 23.5 mi (37.8 km) turn left onto Early Weed Bench Road, reset your trip odometer to 0, and follow it northeast. At 4.7 mi (7.6 km), bear right (east) ignoring the 4WD road forking left. Reach the trailhead at 5.2 mi (8.4 km), 5490 ft (1673 m). Park here. A sandstone knoll is visible on the rim directly east. The road continues east-southeast to the Early Weed Bench trailhead at 5.6 mi (9 km).
Study the 1:24 000 topo map before departing. Your immediate goal, Fox Canyon, is easy to identify though it’s unlabeled. It’s about 1 mi (1.6 km) north-northeast of the trailhead. It runs generally north / south, along the left (west)
boundary of Glen Canyon National Rec Area.
Begin hiking north, over the rim. Follow the path of least resistance across undulating sandstone, gradually bearing right (north-northeast). The steep canyon walls near the confluence of Fox Canyon and Twentyfive Mile Wash are visible north.
Aim for the prominent, brown-topped butte. At 1 mi (1.6 km), 4880 ft (1488 m), proceed generally north, above the left (west) rim of Fox Canyon. Cross the shallow tail of a minor tributary.
Shortly beyond, curve right (northeast) and begin a steep friction-walk on a slick rock ramp dropping to a sandy bench. Follow a path right (south) down to the floor of Fox Canyon. Then turn left (north) and hike down-canyon. At 1.8 mi (2.9 km), 4580 ft (1396 m), intersect Twentyfive Mile Wash. Follow it downstream (right / east), soon curving left (north). It meanders constantly, but your general direction of travel will remain northeast all the way to the Escalante River.
Water within Twentyfive Mile Wash should be less turbid and contaminated than the Escalante, so refill water bottles en route.
At 3.6 mi (5.8 km) continue east, ignoring a tributary drainage (left / north). At 4.1 mi (6.6 km), continue northeast, ignoring a sheer-walled tributary drainage (right / south). Ignore two more tributary drainages (left / north, and right /south) within the ensuing 2 mi (3.2 km).
Reach the Escalante River at 7.6 mi (12.2 km), 4460 ft (1360 m). Look for possible campsites above the river’s far (east) bank, or 0.4 mi (0.6 km) downstream above the right (west) bank.
After exploring the Escalante either upstream or down as far as time, energy and curiosity permit, retrace your steps to the trailhead through Twentyfive Mile Wash and Fox Canyon.
Table of Contents
Trip Locator Map 2
Introduction: From Here to Wow 5
Trips at a Glance 6
The Ancestral Puebloans 11
The Colorado Plateau 15
Wilderness Ethics 22
Canyon-Country Climate 27
The Hikes 33
Zion National Park 39
Paria Canyon – Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness 76
Bryce Canyon National Park 117
Hole-in-the-Rock Road /Grand Staircase – Escalante NM 140
Capitol Reef National Park 207
San Rafael Swell 234
Arches National Park 260
Canyonlands National Park 314
Glen Canyon National Recreation Area 360
Cedar Mesa 368
Comb Ridge Canyons 425
Information Sources 436
The Authors 442