Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hunter Canyon Rim Trail

The Hunter Canyon Rim Trail begins at the east end of the Spring Campground, 6.9 miles west from Highway 191 along Kane Creek Road near Moab in southeast Utah. This is about 0.5 miles before the better known Hunter Canyon Trail.

The trailhead isn’t marked and the first segment is confusing, even the first steps are confusing. I started by walking up some steps and then through a campsite on the right side of the creek. The trail crosses the creek and heads up along the left side of a narrow canyon with a pour off point about 300 yards ahead. There is some rock scrambling up to the left to get above the pour off. The route is marked with rock cairns, but I had to look carefully to follow them.

I got confused at the pour off. The main trail circles the pour off and makes a 180 degree turn, then climbing with a view above the campground area. There are also side trails and rock cairns that continue up the canyon. I spent an hour looking for the trail up the canyon before deciding that I was off the track.
Once past the pour off, the trail is easy to follow. There are views of the trailhead area for Hunter Canyon as the trail climbs.

 From above, the meanders of Hunter Canyon are visible as is the large Hunter Arch. The views of Hunter Arch continue for most of this segment. The closest views of Hunter Arch are an end on angle, without much of the opening visible. After about 1.5 miles, the single track trail becomes a 4WD trail.

 A short distance along the 4WD segment, there is a junction with a side road leading up a side canyon toward an alcove. At the junction, there might also be a view of the top of the Halls Bridge Arch.

In the alcove, there is a small ruins site. The main structure still intact looks like a granary storage site. There is other rubble and a circular depression in the alcove, but not much else is intact. In the Arches and Canyonlands area, there is a lot of rock art, but not many ruins structures. It took about 0:15 minutes to walk the side trail to the ruins site and my total time on this segment was 0:40 minutes.
From the ruins trail junction, my return hike took 1:25 hours. Hiking the final descent was as confusing as the start. My total hike took 4:40 hours counting 1:00 hour off the track for about 4 miles. On a sunny mid April day it was 48 F degrees at 9:45 AM and 66 F degrees 2:25 PM. I carried 3 liters of water and drank most of it.