Willis Creek Hike, Oct. 15, 2016


Joel & Cat with Sonya & John Swatsley.  This slot canyon in the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument must be taken in dry weather with no rain predicted in the area.  If you survive the torrent that runs through the canyon your vehicle will be stuck on the muddy slick Skutumpah Road.  Getting there: Utah state route 12 east of Bryce Canyon to Cannonville.  Check in at the BLM visitor center; get info on safe conditions in the area.  Go south on the road leading to Kodachrome Basin about 3 miles to Forest Road 500 which is the 30+ mile long Skutumpah; go 6 miles to the Willis Creek trail head parking lot.

We set up the card table and chairs and had a first class picnic lunch with salad, pink lemonade, tuna salad in pita pockets, hummus, vegetables,  and cranberry apple pie.


The four of us then started off on the hike which began as a walk beside tiny Willis Creek which gradually descended into a deepening and narrowing slot canyon.



The water was only a few feet wide and a few inches deep but at times was wall to wall in the narrows section of the slot canyon.  You will get your feet wet.  Wear rocky stream shoes or boots that you are OK to get wet.


John had on a nice pair of new boots and decided to only go about 1/2 mile down the canyon and turned back to save his boots.  Still he and Sonya got to see some of the nice canyon.  The slots were twisty and looked like frozen vertical waves.  The rock was more of shades of earth tones – gray, brown, black instead of red rock like Red Canyon or Bryce.


Cat and I hiked about 1 mile of the canyon before returning back to the trail head.  At about 1/2 mile from the parking lot, the canyon developed a lovely waterfall of about 10-15 feet high.  The trail bypassed the fall so we did not have to repel down the fall itself.  If it was a hot day and we were dressed for getting wet (or undressed), standing under the fall would be fun.


After the hike we continued in our cars south on Skutumpah Road, crossing Bull Valley Gorge.  Boy, is it narrow and deep.  Crossing it on a dirt bridge (which seems to have no means of support) is a thrill.  Someday we will hike that trail.


Continuing south was a scenic 2 hour drive with only 2 isolated ranches along the way to the paved Johnson Canyon Road.



Stopped for designer coffee in Kanab, then home to Cedar City through Fredonia, west on state route 389 past Pipe Springs, Colorado City (Short Crick), and Hurricane, and I-15 north.  A good day.


ribbon turquoise1 pendant, $40

ribbon turquoise2 pendant, $30

ribbon turquoise2 pendant, $30

ribbon turquoise3, $40

ribbon turquoise3 pendant, $40


#bull-valley-gorge, #john-swatsley, #johnson-canyon, #ribbon-turquoise, #willis-creek