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August Backpacking Trip in Utah (?!)
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Adrian Swanson
(storunner13) - M

Locale: Upper Midwest
August Backpacking Trip in Utah (?!) on 06/07/2012 15:43:30 MDT Print View

A group of friends an I are on our third annual backpacking trip. We've been to the Grand Canyon in April 2010, then Glacier National Park in July 2011, and somewhere along the line we decided to do Utah in 2012. Unfortunately, the only free dates are August 4th - 12th. Needless to say, Utah in August does not sound like fun..

So--Two options:
Hike in very specific spots in the Utah Canyons to minimize any suffering in the heat. I was thinking higher altitudes in the Escalante Drainage area, or perhaps some canyoneering in watery canyons in Zion.


Pick a different location for our trip. We're coming from Minnesota, with a 'base' in Colorado Springs. Some ideas I've considered are: Hiking some Mountains in Colorado (though 1 of the company has done that often), Grand Teton NP, Yellowstone, or even going all the way to the far Northwest (maybe Olympic)...though the drive to and from would be LONG..especially after driving to CS.

We can't decide. UT seems FANTASTIC, but perhaps the misery would make it less so. Any advice, suggestions, or persuasions would be very helpful.

Dan Ransom
(danransom) - F

Locale: Utah
Winds or Uintas? on 06/07/2012 20:28:50 MDT Print View

Yeah, August is rough outside of the mountains, and definitely the peak of monsoon season...

Consider the Winds or Uintas?

HElinTexas C
(Helintexas) - MLife
Hiking in utah in August on 06/07/2012 20:51:09 MDT Print View

Capitol reef is a backpacking park. It is actually one of the northernmost parks in Utah. The lowest elevation is slightly less than 4k. I looked at the average high in August . It is 89. I have been hiking in 95 degree weather here in Fl since early May.

This park is beautiful with lots of backcountry trails. It is one of the most overlooked parks in the nps. Most of the visitors just drive thru the scenic drive for one day and then leave.

You will need to carry a good amount of water with you. But the flip side is that your overall kit will be sooooooo minimal. The only weight will be water and food.

There are some hikes that have water sources on them. But be prepared to carry water.

I went last sept / October and loved it. Spent a week there and felt like I barely touched the surface. Thinking abou going back in sept this year.

Brendan S
(brendans) - MLife

Locale: Fruita CO
Re: August Backpacking Trip in Utah (?!) on 06/07/2012 21:02:30 MDT Print View

Escalante area is well watered and would be good. Last July we did Boulder Mail Trail from Escalante to Death Hollow and the river back to town. Great trip. Dark Canyon (lower part) is great in summer with some great swimming holes.

David Chenault
(DaveC) - BPL Staff - F

Locale: Crown of the Continent
re: Utah in August on 06/08/2012 08:39:43 MDT Print View

I've done plenty of canyoneering in high Utah summer, and while it was (for example) sweet to do full Neon without a wetsuit, we waited in the cathedral for hours before it seemed sane to hike back to the car out in the sun. In your shoes I would either:

-go hike in the Weminuche.
-go canyoneering in Zion (crowded, and as Dan mentioned the monsoon can be a headache)
-go hike in the Uintas. They're often overlooked and once away from King's Peak tend to be pretty empty. Quality alpine with a different flavor than Colorado.

David Passey
(davidpassey) - F

Locale: New York City
Re: Re: August Backpacking Trip in Utah (?!) on 06/08/2012 09:35:08 MDT Print View

Did the Death Hollow hike last August (except we started from Hells Backbone, and hiked downriver to Hwy 12.)

A very nice hike, with water all the way, so the heat isn't oppressive. Plus, some of the nicest swimming holes you'll ever find. Lots of springs pouring into the Death Hollow, some really neat. The spring at the beginning of perennial water is a huge clear pool, and from there on down water literally pours out of the rock in a number of places. A real southern Utah classic, without all the traffic you'll find in other more popular areas.

One qualification--if you start from Hells Backbone, there is a very long, hot hike till you hit perennial water. Unless you're after canyoneering, this upper section is easily avoided by hiking in at the Boulder Mail Trail.

If go in from Hells Backbone, bring a small inflatable pool float and a short section of rope or webbing (25ft?). There are some long deep sections of narrows, and having the option of floating your pack is welcome. Also, a few pour-overs require the rope.

Adrian Swanson
(storunner13) - M

Locale: Upper Midwest
Elevation on 06/08/2012 13:07:36 MDT Print View

Uintas is a good idea...but I haven't heard of The Winds. Is that in UT as well?

Capitol Reef also seems to be better than some of the more popular UT options. I'll have to do a little more research on that this weekend.

How late in July were you in Escalante? It seems like a VERY neat place to explore, with plenty of water, water holes (as you noted), and desert wilderness. Taking a closer look at the weather averages it averages around a max of 90 during that first week in August.

It looks like the key to doing Utah in August is finding some higher elevation. Escalante (at least the city) is 5-6k. Capitol Reef is about there too. Hiking the Uintas would put us above 7k...which would probably be pretty comfortable.

Thanks for the input! If you have any other suggestions to make this trip more enjoyable let me know...!

Dan Ransom
(danransom) - F

Locale: Utah
Wind Rivers on 06/08/2012 13:45:33 MDT Print View

Wind Rivers are in Wyoming, running along the continental divide southeast of the Tetons. Headwaters of the Green River. Home to Gannet Peak and countless other beautiful peaks. 6 hours or less to most trailheads from Salt Lake, probably similar from FoCo?

In short, stunningly beautiful, but in August you will have horrendous bugs (maybe not this year, if it dries out early?)

The possibilities in the Winds or in the Uintas are neverending, and both have the advantage of no permit issues, great fishing, and fantastic opportunities for cross country travel and solitude if you are willing to walk off the trail a half mile.