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Canyonlands Maze District ideas?
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Locale: Greater Gila
Canyonlands Maze District ideas? on 09/29/2011 14:31:44 MDT Print View

So I'm trying to put together about 20 or so miles of hiking in The Maze for the end of October. I'll be accessing the district from The Colorado Riv via packraft. If any of you guys have been there, can you throw out some recommendations of things that are MUST SEE? I'm pondering 2 vague routes:

1) deflate packraft at Water Canyon, and hike up the "route" with stupid heavy pack to the "trail" over to Shot Canyon and connect to the Harvest Scene area and southwest to Spanish Bottom to cross over into the Needles district.

2) float down to Spanish Bottom and make some sort of loop to the Maze overlook and back down. I'd love to get out to Ernie's country (and Lou Spring!!), but I'm not sure if I'd rather do that over The Maze Overlook/Harvest Scene/Chimney rock.

Now I really don't know this area very well at all, and am ever-so-slightly intimidated with cross country travel in these parts. I'm pretty darn good with map-and-compass, but in the desert I always worry about following easy to navigate canyon systems, only to get cliffed out (which is often hard to predict on the map).

How many miles could a fit sorta-UL hiker pull off in the area? I've been known to hike 30+ mi days, but assume it will be slower going out there. Sandy washes. Constantly checking maps to verify location and to find the route...etc etc. I've considered starting at Spanish Bottom only because it would allow me to stash the packraft gear in some brush to return to it later. If I was to begin in Water Canyon, I'd probably just traverse over to Spanish Botttom some how. So...that means if I ditched the packraft, I could in theory cover more ground, comfortably.

So...if you've got great cross-country routes, let me know. If you prefer Ernie's Country over the more eastern stuff ,let me know. If I'm missing something, let me know!

Edited by vaporjourney on 09/29/2011 14:32:35 MDT.

Aaron Armstrong
(traderaaron) - F

Locale: Colorado
Hmm... on 10/01/2011 20:24:26 MDT Print View

This has me intrigued, if I get a chance I'll go through my notes on the area and check my maps.

Definitely keep the thread posted with anything you come up with.

Aaron Armstrong
(traderaaron) - F

Locale: Colorado
packrafting forum on 10/02/2011 20:18:12 MDT Print View

You should pose your questions in the packrafting forum too at

And maybe this thread will provide some information.


Locale: Greater Gila
re: packrafting Canyonlands on 10/03/2011 16:58:30 MDT Print View

Aaron: that thread on the PR forum is where I got the rough idea for the trip from. I've put a few questions up on the forum, but no responses on that sleepy community.

The ranger at Hans Flat Station in The Maze is incredibly helpful and I feel that I can get most of the important beta (ie water) from her. Ideas on distance and destinations are up to me and others though...

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
maze route on 10/04/2011 12:55:33 MDT Print View

I don't know the maze and can't help, but would be interested in hearing what you come up with and how it goes. I'd like to do a comparable trip in the future.

Benjamin Mayberry
(benmayberry) - F

Locale: Wetside Cascades
The Maze on 10/21/2011 18:07:41 MDT Print View

I just saw this thread - if you haven't already made up your mind on the trip, here are my thoughts based on a trip I did there a few years ago (

Re: "MUST SEE" locations
-the Harvest Scene is a 'must see'. The panel is huge and just... very cool
-ditto Land of Standing Rocks and The Chimney

Re: navigation - if you know your way around with a map and compass you should be OK, the crucial routes in/out of canyons are usually cairned so there shouldn't be much chance of getting cliffed out unless you're way off the (relatively) beaten path

Re: mileage - If you can usually do 30+ miles/day, I'd estimate that 20-25 mpd would be reasonable for the Maze... as long as youre willing to earn them.