Feb 8, 2009 at 9:14 pm #1233902
I had posted this question in a different thread but didn't get any responses. I think I may have hijacked that thread a bit, so I apologize.
I am considering a kayak trip down the Green river from Mineral Bottom to Spanish Bottom. I want to combine a backpacking side trip into Canyonlands NP, preferably into the Maze.
Does anyone know of specific points on the Green River in Stillwater Canyon or the Colorado from the confluence to Spanish Bottom that would provide access to the Maze? I would prefer a trail that would take me to the top so I can get a good overview of the Maze itself, rather than just staying in the canyon bottoms.
Thanks for any info!Feb 9, 2009 at 4:22 am #1476419
@hikingharryLocale: Tyrol - Austria
I used the 'River Guide to Canyonlands National Park' written by Michael R. Kelsey (link to amazon) with great success.
There it says, that from Water Canyon you can hike via trail with cairns out of this Canyon. Finally you will get to Chimney Rock. Probably 4,5 miles away and almost 700 ft higher than the river.
HaraldFeb 9, 2009 at 6:33 am #1476431
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
Good maps from Trails Illustrated.
I've done a similar trip- started in Needles, dropped down Lower Red Lake Canyon to the East side of Spanish Bottom. Put our gear in dry bags and swam across (high water, very scary!) and hiked from Spanish Bottom up to Dollhouse camp. From there, we dropped into Ernie's Country (aka the Fins) on the southern side, climbed through, and hiked back.
On other trips I've combined the Maze and Ernie's or just did the Maze. About 4 trips in that area (It's AMAZING).
Anyway, there is a trail direct from SB to Dollhouse which is the end of a backbone that separates Ernie's Country and the Maze. Definitely the high point.
From there, you can drop into several canyons or do a high walk up to a spot called Chocolate Drops (or a couple other mesa walks). I definitely recommend dropping into the canyon, though- it's mind blowing.
I've heard of folks kayaking down there. How do you get out? Do you just kayak up river or do you pack out the kayaks?
Sounds like a great trip!
djFeb 9, 2009 at 6:35 am #1476432
@djohnsonLocale: Washington State
I believe Harald's route would be a take out prior to Spanish Bottom, but I'm not sure. I have read about this route in the same book but I've never done this one myself. Water Canyon is more technical, where Spanish Bottom is a well marked trail.Feb 9, 2009 at 10:11 am #1476461
@hikingharryLocale: Tyrol - Austria
>I believe Harald's route would be a take out prior to Spanish Bottom, but I'm not sure.
Right, the trail starts at the Green River – Mile 5 to Mile 4 .
>Water Canyon is more technical, where Spanish Bottom is a well marked trail.
Have not been at Spanish Bottom, but I think you are right.
>I've heard of folks kayaking down there. How do you get out? Do you just kayak up river or do you pack out the kayaks?
We stopped at the Confluence and waited with other paddlers for our prearranged jetboat, which brought us upstream to Moab. It was quite a challenge to arrange permits, transfers and a port-a-potty in 1997 (not 1998 like I said above) from Austria. No internet in those times, just a couple of phone calls and a credit card.
We used inflatable kayaks. The river guide was amazed, when he saw us with a big backpack and a couple of drybags, but no kayak.Feb 9, 2009 at 10:29 am #1476469
The Michael Kelsey book is invaluable for river trips in canyonlands. There are two more possibilities in the "Deadhorse Canyon to Jasper Canyon" section. I went up Jasper Ridge and down Deadhorse Canyon. The Jasper Ridge was possibly the best day I've ever had. You can get a good look of the maze up there. I'm convinced Hayduke is hiding out in Jasper Canyon. Getting around the dry fall at the bottom of it requires a class 4 climb though. I suggest taking a look at it before continuing on to Water Canyon since it's on the way.Feb 9, 2009 at 10:24 pm #1476691
Great! Thank you for the info and the leads. I am planning on doing this solo, so I doubt that I will attempt any technical trails or climbs. The consequences of a fall in country that remote could be severe, especially without a belay.
I will check out the Michael Kelsey book. It sounds exactly like what I am looking for. I have read a couple of books by Ann Zwinger (highly recommended BTW), and of course the classics of John Wesley Powell and Edward Abbey. All were certainly inspirational, but none were what I would consider adequate travel guides.
I am planning to use the jet boat shuttle service from Moab. A bit spendy, but about the only way to shuttle a hard-shell boat. A packraft might allow a self-shuttle, but I don't have one!
Again, I appreciate the guidance. If I happen to run into Hayduke, I'll give him your regards!Feb 12, 2009 at 10:21 am #1477370
The NPS has closed Jasper Canyon because it is the only canyon in the area in which cattle were never allowed to graze and hence it has sensitive native grasses.
I don't have the link handy but I've read several accounts of folks doing the route from the river up Water Canyon. It is much more difficult than from Spanish Bottom. SB is a trail, this is a scramble up steep and loose boulder field. Certainly doable, but not the same at all.
If you are paddling you can arrange for a boat tow out from SB and back up the Colorado to Moab.
I'm heading to this area in April for 6 nights and plan to have a mix of day hiking and backpacking into Pictograph Fork, Shot/Water, Sweet Alice, etc. Can't wait!Apr 16, 2009 at 9:02 pm #1494780
I just got back from this area and was doing some follow-up googling to see what others thought of it.
So here is my take;
I used Tex's Riverways for logistics- an excellent no frills, no BS outfitter, I felt their prices were very reasonable.
Kelsey's guidebooks are excellent, but bear in mind, if he says 6 hours, you had better making good time to match it!
He is also rather sparse on detail- because he covers so much ground.
Jasper Canyon/Ridge was the highpoint of our trip from Mieral Bottom to Spanish Bottom- truly an epic day hike, with everything you need; a few tricky rock moves, LOTS of routefinding problems, magic scenery and varied and interesting terrain.
The entry into the Canyon from the river is about 30 ft of 5.3- a nice scramble up, but woth taking a rapel rope for coming back out- there's a good anchor rock on the ledge, with an OK sling on it.
Be aware that there are no cairns you can depend on for this route. We found many that had been kicked over all the way to Chimney Rock. I rebuilt enough to make my way back, but don't expect too much. There were none apparent on any of the routes out of the Canyon. Because of this, we hiked about two miles up canyon, and ascended the south side where it opens up along a gradual rightward(going upcanyon) bend. Lots of zigzagging, but you may see a well hidden granary for your pains.
Be very careful when if you return along the Ridge- it really is a Maze, and there are enough cairns going to Water and Shot to lead you astray. There were no indications at all for the descent into the head of Jasper, so we returned along the Ridge, and made a descent into the Canyon a little west of our ascent route. The crux is the last 30 ft, I was lucky to find a break and chimneyed down just before dark!
The systematic destruction of cairns is disturbing, I hope this is one isolated instance, maybe a misguided preservationist thinking they will 'protect' Jasper Canyon's pristine-ness. The reality is that without a marked route, hikers will spend more time, and make more disturbance as they figure out the route in this sort of country. Not to mention the safety factor.
Other hikes worth checking out;
Powell Canyon- a very pleasant route to the Confluence overlook. Well cairned, a few scrambles, and access to the trail to the Doll House and beyond.
Water and Shot- better going than Jaser Canyon, in the bottom, less deep sand, and more open. But maybe not as striking. A nice loop.
Horse Canyon- there appears to be a way up past the dry falls on the right (north). Rather sketchy use of a tree and ledges to gain the lip, I couldn't see the final 10 ft, but it was clear that someone had spent some time clearing mud and debris to make a way up.
Good luck, it's wonderful country.Apr 16, 2009 at 9:48 pm #1494791
@scmorse1Locale: Bay area
We did a canoe float trip from Mineral Bottom to Spanish Bottom last May. It was a great trip. We used Tex's Riverways as the outfitter. Highly recommended.
It was suggested to us by one of the local guides to access the Maze via Water Canyon, although we didn't do that side trip.
We hiked up from Spanish Bottom to the Dollhouse. That is also very worthwhile.
I also recommend getting a copy of Belknap's Canyonlands River Guide. It's indispensable on the water.
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