Near my parents’ home in Sanpete County, there is a canyon famous for excellent rock climbing sites. The canyon walls are made of a conglomerate rock that I have never seen anywhere else. Cobble rocks approximately the size of my fist are stuck together with mud to make hoodoos and even an arch. The last time we visited this area was in the ice and snow. Mom has been inviting us to hike the loop trail that exits the campground for years, but finally on the fourth of July we were forced by fires in the other areas we wanted to hike to visit this trail. It was a great little trail. (There has since been a fire in this canyon — I don’t know exactly what the damage has been.)
Starting from the campground, we took the middle fork and circled back on the right fork trail. The trail climbs about a half mile, then branches off to visit an arch made from the conglomerate rock.
We continued up the trail about another mile, to where the arrow pointed to the right with a very steep climb to a “viewpoint” and then following the right fork down to the campground again. The views were fabulous from the top. We could see the whole valley spread out below us, and the buzzards were circling below us around the cliff tops. We spent time looking for buzzard (the local name for turkey vultures) nests. The research I had done said that they nest in caves, and we spotted several likely spots, and even heard the calls of baby birds, but nothing we could identify certainly as a nest.
The area below the viewpoint, as the trail dropped sharply down to the canyon bottom was the best for the kids. The Forest Service has actually built stairs and installed a ladder to come down this steep incline. It was beautiful and fun.
Round trip, mileage was about 4 miles for the loop with the arch detour. At the bottom of the canyon, we were able to stop and watch some of the many climbers that were there taking advantage of their holiday to try out their ropes in the canyon. Now we have a new goal — let the kids try rappelling. We’ll have to find some good instructors!
How do you spend the extra holiday time during the summer? Do you take time to visit trails that are close to home? Please leave a comment below.