"In the first place you can't see anything from a car; you've got to get out of the
goddamned contraption and walk, better yet crawl, on hands and knees, over the
sandstone and through the thornbush and cactus. When traces of blood begin to mark
your trail you'll see something, maybe."
                                                                             -Edward Abbey
Because of the extremely challenging and dangerous nature of this route, you must be a very experienced
desert backpacker in peak physical condition before attempting any section of the Hayduke Trail!
Thru-hikers beware! The Hayduke Trail traverses intensely rugged terrain, is largely off-trail, is not signed
and ranges in elevation from 1,800 feet in the Grand Canyon to 11,419 atop Mt. Ellen's South Summit!
Following are brief descriptions of the 14 sections of the Hayduke Trail. Each section can be it's own adventure or they
can be linked together for extended forays. Please note that the information described here is insufficient to execute a
safe journey on any of these sections, but is intended to familiarize one with the course of the route.
Section 1: Arches National Park to Hurrah Pass, Utah. 39.7 miles
This section begins at the northern boundary of Arches National Park in Salt Valley and then follows Courthouse
Wash to the Colorado River near Moab. The route follows the outskirts of town before re-entering the Colorado
River Gorge through "The Portal" before following the dirt road up Kane Creek Canyon and eventually to Hurrah
Permits: Arches National Park.
Section 2: Hurrah Pass, Utah to Big Spring Trailhead, Canyonlands National Park. 47.1 miles
From Hurrah Pass the route quickly descends to the Colorado River and follows it into Lockhart Basin. From there
the trail goes down Rustler Canyon into Indian Creek and then enters the Needles District of Canyonlands National
Park by way of an overland route, ending at Big Spring Trailhead.
Permits: Canyonlands National Park.
Section 3: Big Spring Trailhead, Canyonlands National Park to Hite, Utah. 67.9 miles
Leaving Big Spring trailhead the route follows a park service trail to Elephant Canyon and then on into the Grabens.
The route leads through Cyclone Canyon, Red Lake Canyon and then up Butler Wash into Beef Basin. From there
it goes overland into Fable valley and then up onto the Dark Canyon Plateau. The route descends Young's Canyon
and Dark Canyon and then ascends the Sundance Trail after which it follows dirt roads to Hite.
Permits: Canyonlands National Park, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Section 4: Hite, Utah to Poison Springs Canyon, Utah. 35.8 miles
The route leaves Hite by way of the Flint Trail then climbs up onto the red benches through a chimney route in the
West fork of Rock Canyon. Loosely following the Chinese Trail across the Red Benches, the route then makes a
steep descent into Fiddler Cove Canyon which it follows to it's confluence with the Dirty Devil River. The trail goes
up the Dirty Devil River to the Mouth of Poison Springs Canyon and follows it up to the end of this section where it
crosses Utah Highway 95.
Permits: Glen Canyon National Recreation Area.
Section 5: Poison Springs Canyon, Utah to the Burr Trail, Capitol Reef National Park. 48.9 miles
The route continues it's ascent of the Henry Mountains following old dirt roads and eventually climbs the ridge to
Mount Ellen's South Summit. From there it descends down to Tarantula Mesa, then Swap Mesa and then bottoms
out at the base of the Burr Trail in the Waterpocket Fold of Capitol Reef National Park. The route then climbs the
switchbacks up the Burr Trail to this section's end.
Permits: Capitol Reef National Park.
Section 6: Burr Trail, Capitol Reef National Park to Hole-in-the-rock Road, Utah. 72.5 miles
From the Burr Trail the route follows Lower Muley Twist Canyon to the floor of Hall's creek and then climbs the
Red Slide to a pass in the Circle Cliffs. The route then descends into Middle Moody canyon and follows it to it's
confluence with the Escalante River. The Escalante River is followed downstream to the mouth of Coyote Gulch. The
route turns and goes up Coyote Gulch then Hurricane Wash to the section end at the Hole-in-the-rock Road.
Permits: Capitol Reef National Park, Glen Canyon NRA, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Section 7: Hole-in-the-rock Road, Utah to Round Valley Draw, Utah. 80.8 miles
The route follows the Middle Pack Trail to the top of the Kaiparowits Plateau then follows trails across the plateau to
it's gradual descent of Monday, Rogers and Croton Canyons to the mouth of Navajo Canyon. It then goes up Navajo
Canyon then Surprise Valley to a divide. From this divide the route descends into Reese Canyon and follows it to it's
confluence with Last Chance Creek. Now the route goes up Last Chance Creek and Paradise Canyon and then
follows dirt roads past Tommy Water, Dog Flat, Long Flat, Wahweap Creek and then through "The Gut" in the
Cockscomb to Grosvenor Double Arch. From here the route follows the Cottonwood Canyon Road up Butler Valley
to Round Valley draw.
Permits: Grand Staircase National Monument.
Joe Mitchell Photo
Section 8: Round Valley Draw, Utah to Willis Creek, Utah. 49.0 miles
Here the route descends the narrows of Round Valley Draw and continues down Hackberry Canyon to it's confluence
with the Paria River. The route goes up the Paria River, then Sheep Creek and then up and out of the narrows of
Willis Creek to the section end.
Permits: Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Section 9: Willis Creek, Utah to the Arizona Trail Stateline Trailhead. 66.3 miles
The route continues climbing toward Bryce by following a dirt road along Willis Creek until it's junction with Agua
Canyon which is followed to the Under the Rim Trail in Bryce Canyon National Park. This trail is followed,
parallelling the Pink Cliffs, to Riggs Spring. The trail leads back out of the park by following Lower Podunk Creek,
then Bullrush Gorge, Park Wash and Kitchen Corral Wash to Utah Highway 89. After crossing the highway, the
route goes down Buckskin Gulch, exits by way of Wire Pass and then follows the Coyote valley road the rest of the
way to the Stateline Trailhead.
Permits: Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument.
Section 10: Arizona Trail Stateline Trailhead to Nankoweap Trailhead, Grand Canyon NP. 60.9 miles
This section of the route follows the Arizona trail across the Kaibab Plateau from the Utah-Arizona border to the
North Rim of the Grand Canyon at the Saddle Mountain-Nankoweap Trailhead.
Permits: Grand Canyon National Park.
Section 11: Nankoweap Trailhead to Horseshoe Mesa, Grand Canyon National Park. 47.1 miles
The route descends the Nankoweap Trail to the floor of the Grand Canyon then follows the Colorado River
downstream to where a boat ferry is utilized to cross to the south side of the river near the Little Colorado River.
From here the Beamer, Escalante and Tonto Trails are followed to the section end on Horseshoe Mesa.
Permits: Grand Canyon National Park.
Section 12: Horseshoe Mesa to North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park. 34.9 miles
From Horseshoe Mesa the route follows the Grand View Trail down to the Tonto Trail which is followed to the South
Kaibab Trail. The route then descends the South Kaibab Trail to a foot bridge across the Colorado River and Bright
Angel Campground. Now the North Kaibab Trail is followed all the way up to the North Rim and the section end.
Permits: Grand Canyon National Park.
Section 13: North Rim, Grand Canyon National Park to Hack Canyon, Arizona. 87.2 miles
From the North Rim the trail follows dirt roads across the Kaibab Plateau to Swamp Point where a trail is followed
down to the Muav Saddle. The route goes down Saddle Canyon then Tapeats Creek to the Thunder River. Now the
route climbs up the Thunder River Trail into Surprise Valley and then down Deer Creek to the Colorado River. The
river is followed downstream to the Mouth of Kanab Creek. From here the route goes up Kanab Creek then up
Hack Canyon to the section end.
Permits: Grand Canyon National Park.
Section 14: Hack Canyon, Arizona to the Weeping Wall, Zion National Park. 69.9 miles
Leaving Hack Canyon, the route follows dirt roads across the Arizona Strip and into the Vermilion Cliffs. The route
then descends into the East Fork of the Virgin River, following it down to the Fat Man's Misery route then through
the cleft in Checkerboard Mesa. From there the route goes up Jolley gulch and over Cable Mountain before
descending the Echo Canyon Trail and then the East Rim Trail to the bottom of Zion Canyon and the Weeping Wall.
Permits: Zion National Park.
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