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the maze district canyonlands trip ideas
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drew doty
(drewdoty1444) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz, CA
the maze district canyonlands trip ideas on 11/25/2010 11:38:24 MST Print View

i was trying to plan a trip into the maze and was curious if there is enough water and hiking trails for 5-6 days.(doing 12-13miles a day) i was going to go in early may and would be getting a shuttle down to one of the trail heads...not sure which TH yet. it seems like a pretty remote place and was also wondering if trails are well marked? any advice would be awesome.


Gary Dunckel
(Zia-Grill-Guy) - MLife

Locale: Boulder
Maze district info on 11/25/2010 12:27:17 MST Print View

Your best bet would be to contact the ranger at Hans Flat. He/she would be able to help you figure out the water situation (pretty grim when I descended the Maze Overlook 15 years ago). But you certainly can make a 5-6 day trip out of the area. I wouldn't attempt to do it solo again, though--too many things can go wrong down there, and the stakes are high. Very remote place, very beautiful, very confusing to navigate.

Thomas Oresic
(Arcocean) - F

Locale: Arizona
"the maze district canyonlands trip ideas" on 12/03/2010 20:55:24 MST Print View

You might also want to consider Salt Creek Canyon in the SE section of the park. I did a solo trip last year in October and had the canyon to myself. It was a 30 mile hike including a side trip to see Angel arch. There are many ruins and pictographs as well as some nice arches. Most of the Southern canyon has water and I found the whole trek an interesting and diverse eco-system. You could wind up doing a few of the loop trails in the Needles section if you wanted to extend your trip.

Aaron Armstrong
(traderaaron) - F

Locale: Colorado
Ernie's Country on 12/03/2010 21:20:48 MST Print View

Ernie's Country and the "under the ledge" region offers some possible trips and water is usually available although earlier in the spring would probably be better for the springs.

I do know of one major loop that sort of encircled the Maze, there is also good backpacking in the canyons on the Dirty Devil River that can make up a major trip.

P.M. me if you want any actual details.

David Loome
(DavidLoome) - F

Locale: American Southwest
Maze on 12/04/2010 12:22:30 MST Print View

I've always accessed the Maze by packrafting across the Colorado River at Spanish Bottom- You drive into the Needles, then it's only a 8 mile hike down down Red Lake Canyon, and quick paddle across the rio to The Maze. Beats the LONG abusive jeep drive in, and works in some of the Needles country, which is fantastic. I use a cheapo Sevylor Trail Boat ($100, 3lb) for the crossing and hide it by the river for the return.

There's a few good routes and trails in the Maze, but if you want to occupy a few days or do a longer hike, you'll likely end up doing a fair amount of jeep road walking and/or carrying a lot of water- A cursory look at the Trail Illustrated maps will yield many possible treks, just check with Hans Flat about water.

If you haven't been, I might check out the Needles District, which has the most trails, several of which make good loops or don't require a lot of water- Salt Creek is especially nice.

A couple seasons ago I did a 15 day circumnav on foot and packraft around the whole park including all three districts and it was great. I have some route info and link to pics here:

The Maze is amazing though- The Overlook Trail is one of the neatest trails I've ever seen, and the Harvest Scene panel is some of the finest rock art in the Southwest. PM if you want specific details.

Jack H.
(Found) - F

Locale: Sacramento, CA
Re: Maze on 12/06/2010 20:53:32 MST Print View

Dave's advice is spot on.

I don't think that you can find a 5-6 day loop entirely in the maze. But I've only been there three times. There are surely plenty of canyons to go in and out of if you wanted to extend your time. I've only found water in one place in the maze.. other than potholes.

The Cossack
(thecossack) - F

Locale: sedona
Re: Re: Maze on 12/08/2010 12:40:28 MST Print View


Edited by thecossack on 12/08/2010 12:50:53 MST.

Benjamin Mayberry
(benmayberry) - F

Locale: Wetside Cascades
Water, "trails", route suggestion on 12/10/2010 04:43:07 MST Print View

I did a 4-day, ~65 mile trip in the Maze early last year. I was there in mid-March and water was relatively easy to find, May would be a bit more difficult. I checked in at the Hans Flat Ranger Station before my trip and they gave me up-to-date water info. I ended up feeling like I wasn't there long enough and definitely could have explored more areas/added some mileage if I had had time. So finding 60-78 miles (5-6 days * 12-13 miles/day) of "trails" shouldn't be a problem.

When I was there the "trails" (other than jeep roads, there isn't much in the way of trails) were marked by cairns when they drop from a mesa down to a canyon bottom, or visa versa. I'd say that on my route I was either on jeep roads, following a specific canyon, or following a cairned route into/out of a canyon. Between using maps & compass and occasionally following cairns, I didn't have too hard a time navigating.

You can check out my route at

drew doty
(drewdoty1444) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz, CA
soooo helpful on 12/10/2010 18:26:12 MST Print View

thanks all who have contributed! these are great keepin comin! i am scanning maps and trying to figure out a great route.


drew doty
(drewdoty1444) - MLife

Locale: Santa Cruz, CA
Trail scrambling on 01/26/2011 16:10:13 MST Print View

Hey i have a couple of questions on the trail skills needed to hike the trails in the maze. I am going with a friend that is a little less adventurous and i am worried about some of the descriptions that the trails require some scrambling. Does it? And if so class 2,3,4? Also, says to bring some rope. Have you guys needed rope and am I asking for trouble taking my friend who might not do some of the scrambles?


obx hiker
(obxcola) - MLife

Locale: Outer Banks of North Carolina
The maze on 01/26/2011 20:01:29 MST Print View

try this: Takes a FULL day in the vehicle to get in to the trail head from say Hanksville and another to get out and it'll loosen your teeth and pucker your hiney. Pack-rafting the river at Spanish Bottom is a great alternative suggestion. Take about 25 feet of 1 inch tubular webbing and assist your friend over any tight spots. The NPS wouldn't cut you loose back there if the trails required serious climbing. OTOH the occasional transition can be a bit tricky. The webbing can make things a lot easier at times.