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Southwest backpacking fall trip suggestions
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Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Southwest backpacking fall trip suggestions on 08/27/2011 23:45:52 MDT Print View

Hello all -

Considering a fall trip either this year or next (likely in the second half of September) to somewhere in Utah or Arizona (although I am open to other suggestions).

The questions is, of course, where to go? Here is the plan: anywhere from a three-night to up to a five-night backpacking trip. While loop trips have the advantage of easier transport options (since you get back to your car), I would consider trips where other arrangements could be made.

Obviously water is the issue. You want to have some good sources. I've done the Paria Canyon (and really enjoyed it) about five years ago, and would consider it again. But would like to hear what other suggestions people come with. I am afraid I am somewhat unfamiliar with the pitfalls of SW hiking, other than obviously heat, flash flooding, lightning and a variety of snakes. Anyone have any suggestions for a bit of a SW neophyte?



Travis Leanna
(T.L.) - MLife

Locale: Wisconsin
Re: Southwest backpacking fall trip suggestions on 08/28/2011 00:31:24 MDT Print View

The Superstitions are awesome. Check out the Grand Enchantment Trail.

Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"Southwest backpacking fall trip suggestions" on 08/28/2011 00:52:28 MDT Print View


You should definitely consider the Gila Wilderness, it's a gem. Fall is a beautiful window of weather, temps are perfect. Loop hikes are abundant, particularly along the West/Middle Fork of the Gila River.

Dirk Rabdau
(dirk9827) - F

Locale: Pacific Northwest
Travis and Eugene, thank you! on 08/28/2011 17:12:13 MDT Print View

Those looks like great places! I will check with my brother and see what he is hoping to do! Much appreciated. Both have their distinct advantages. How's the water situation ine each?

Don Morris
(hikermor) - F
trip suggestions on 08/30/2011 08:02:04 MDT Print View

I would second the Gila. Besides the West and Middle Fork, there are nice trips available out of Whitewater Canyon at the western end of the area. Water should not be that much of an issue on most trips. Check for recently burned areas.

The Chiricahuas would be nice, as well, although that range suffered an extensive fire this spring.

A place that not many people get to really see is the backcountry of Canyon de Chelly. You will need to hire a guide, so it will be better going as a group. A good Nanajo guide will give you a really unique experience.

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: trip suggestions on 08/30/2011 10:31:15 MDT Print View

The Chiricahuas are unreal, especially if you have any interest in ecology/birds/etc. Bummer about the fire, I hadn't heard that. A couple Utah ideas:

Dark Canyon-lower section is best, although the upper canyon has more ruins. loops are possible (Youngs/Lean-To is the best, Woodenshoe/Peavine is more popular). Bowdie and/or Gypsum could be added as well for a longer trip if you're up for some routefinding.

Robbers Roost/Dirty Devil canyons-lots of really cool, different canyons. A little trickier to do loops without ropes.

Lots of options along the Escalante as well.

Fall is great in all these areas and water's pretty easy to find. I need to get down to the Gila, it sounds fantastic.

Eric Blumensaadt
(Danepacker) - MLife

Locale: Mojave Desert
Coyote Gulch, Utah's Grand Escalante area on 08/30/2011 12:04:34 MDT Print View

For an even more spectacular trip than Paria River I'd suggest Coyote Gulch. It has bigger rock formations and great side trips and two of the most spectacular camp sites in the southwest, both under amazing rock formations (and both near BLM Clivus Multrum composting toilets W/ solar powered lighting :0). There's good spring water seeping out of cliffs near both camps.

Be sure to bring shoes suitable for prolonged wadeing in Coyote Creek as the "trail" is often in the creek. And bring your camera. The side trip from the last toilet served ledge camp is over to the Virgin River and the arches there are not to be missed.

There are few trips I'd do over and over but this is definitely one of them.

A BLM permit is required.

BTW, bring a mosquito headnet & repellant for your 1st camp (before the 1st toilet served site). In fall there may well be no mosquitos there but it only takes a few to annoy.

Edited by Danepacker on 08/30/2011 15:54:11 MDT.

kevin timm
(ktimm) - MLife

Locale: Colorado (SeekOutside)
Coyote is spectacular on 08/30/2011 13:10:37 MDT Print View

I'd do it again , my son wants to as well

Here are some photo's