Moqui Cavern, Kanab, UT: A Quick, Roadside Stop

A short stroll from the parking area across Highway 89, the manmade Moki Cavern can be seen from the road. While I’m not usually one for manmade attractions, the Moqui Cavern has a certain appeal (cool views inside and out) with great photo-ops. Definitely worth a quick stop if you’re driving by. These sandstone caves date back to the ’70’s and are the result of sand mining for glass production. If you can look beyond the eyesore of all the recent graffiti, you may find yourself fascinated by the subtle colors and patterns in the sandstone and rewarded by the cave-framed vistas. Go early or late for a chance to have the experience to yourself.

Distance: .A Half Mile RT

Difficulty: Easy, but highly advisable to wear shoes with good traction for the short slip rock traverse where there’s some exposure.

Getting there: From Kanab, the caverns are located 5.7 miles north on Highway 89.

Happy Trails!

Taylor Creek: Always a Treat. Kolob Canyon, Zion Wilderness

Difficulty: Easy, mostly flat, soft surface and obvious trail

Length: 5.8 Miles RT

Elevation gain: ~700ft

This lovely, woodsy hike in Kolob Canyon features a creek, 2 historical cabins, and a double, closed “arch” payoff at the end. (For an open arch hike head up the road to the Kolob Arch Trail.)

The first cabin you’ll encounter on this hike is the Larson Cabin, the second is the Fife Cabin—both were built by homesteaders around 1930.

Especially enchanting in the Fall, this hike is a treat any time of year.

Notes: This is mountain lion territory. You may see tracks. Hike aware and keep small children near you. Since this is an easy, beautiful hike, it’s quite popular. Go early to enjoy more solitude.

Getting there:  Exit 40 on I-15. This is the Kolob side of Zion National Park so bring your National Park Pass or pay the entrance fee. Follow the scenic drive to the Taylor Creek parking area on the left.

Happy Trails!

Kolorful Kolob Arch Trail, Zion Wilderness

Distance: 15 miles RT

Elevation gain: ~2K

Difficulty: Moderate to strenuous depending on your fitness level, definitely a little longer than your standard day hike, mostly smooth, sandy terrain, great for trail running

The trail begins at the Lee Pass Trailhead off of Kolob Canyon Road / Scenic Drive. You’ll drop quickly into the canyon (770 ft in .75 mile) and traverse through the forest on a gentle, sandy path for the first 4 miles or so.

And then it gets even better. Zion vibes without the Zion crowds. After descending another 1k ft, you find yourself surrounded by dancing aspens and majestic red cliffs. This is where you’ll get your first glimpse of lovely La Verkin Creek. Oh, my—a perfect spot to pause and take in all the beauty. I’ll be back just for it. Fall is a splendid time for this hike, but I’m sure spring and early summer are delightful as well.

Continue following the trail along the creek another mile or so until you reach the junction for Kolob Arch. This trail is less distinct and a little more rugged. The distant view of the arch (possibly the largest free-standing arch in North America) is ok, but wow factor is a bit muted without a blue sky backdrop.)

You can continue up the canyon to Beartrap Canyon and Willis Canyon or head out to Holob Canyon and Kolob Terrace Road.

There are 13 camping sights along the trail. Reservations are required and can be made online, but 2 backpackers said they got their pass the same day.

Notes: Sadly, the toxic cyanobacteria have been detected in La Verkin Creek. No dogs are allowed in Zion Wilderness. Bring plenty of water as you can not filter water with cyanobacteria. Ps. Watch where you step!

Happy Trails!

Capitol Reef Sampler: Cassidy Arch & Grand Wash

When you have limited time, it’s always difficult to decide which hike to do. This was my dilemma on a recent trip to Capitol Reef National Park. Bottom line, you can’t really go wrong—any choice is a good choice when your surrounded the striking red, white and golden sandstone landscape, canyons and rock formations of Southern Utah. My 10 mile sampler included Cassidy Arch, a taste of Frying Pan, and Grand Wash.

Cassidy Arch

Length: ~3 mi RT (out & back)

Elevation gain: 666 ft

Difficulty: Moderate depending on your level of fitness, and comfort with hiking rocky terrain

From Cassidy Arch, you can extend your hike by following the signs for Frying Pan Trail, and trek over the Fold—turning back and retracing your steps, or continuing down into Cohab Canyon.

Grand Wash

Length: ~6 mi RT

Difficulty: Easy, flat

The Grand Wash trail follows the gorge as it carves its way through the upper portion of the Waterpocket Fold and connects through to Highway 24 just east of Spring Canyon. At the narrow, the rock walls close in, a half mile of slot canyon vibes – a thrill for those who’ve never experienced a slot canyon.  

Post to come on where to feast and luxuriate after your day of hiking.

Happy Trails!

Top Picks:  Escalante Outfitters—Best Pizza Ever and More!

After a day of adventuring in the Escalante area (and there’s plenty of adventures to be had in the area – Lower Calf Creek Falls, Zebra Canyon, etc.), I always stop at Escalante Outfitters Café for a bite. And I always get the pizza. I’m not a big pizza person, but Escalante Outfitters converted me with their homemade pizza pie. I’m one of those who usually leaves my pizza crusts on the plate. Not here, their pizza is good to the very last bite.

Of course, there’s more than pizza to choose from on the menu (salads, sandwiches, and desserts). Maybe I’ll eventually try something else, but for now – I’m going steady with their pizza.

If you forgot to pack anything for your adventure, their store has hiking and camping gear, hats, sunglasses, sunscreen, etc. There’s also a nice selection of souvenirs and gift items to browse while you waiting for your meal.  

In addition to the Café and store, they have cabins to rent and offer fly fishing tours.

When in Escalante, they’re your “go-to” for all of this, plus local tips on the area.

Also, I want to give them an extra shout out for their friendly service and for mailing my forgotten credit card back to me.

Cheers to Happy Trails and Tummies!