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Cedar Mesa
  Grand Gulch
     Kane Gulch
         Junction Ruin
         Turkey Pen Ruin
     Toadie Canyon
     Sheiks Canyon
   Mule Canyon
     Cave Canyon Towers
     Mule Canyon Ruin
     N.Fork Mule
     S.Fork Mule
   Lime Canyon
   Road Canyon
     7 Kiva Ruin
     N. Fork Road
   Slickhorn Canyon
   John's Canyon
   Arch Canyon
   Walnut Knob

Comb Ridge
  Procession Panel
  Wolfman Panel
  Upper Butler Wash
    Butler Wash Ruin
    Ballroom Cave
    Target Ruin

Canyon of the Ancients
  Lowry Pueblo
  Ruin Canyon
  Montezuma Creek

San Juan River
  16 Room House
  Sand Island Panel

Canyonlands N.P.
  Island In The Sky District
     Aztec Butte

Hovenweep N.M.

Other Cool Places
  Little Westwater Ruin
  Moki Dugway
  Milk Ranch Point
  Whiskers Draw
  Moki Dugway

Camping Index
Camping in Anasazi Country
Anasazi Country Campgrounds
Selecting a Campsite
Selecting a Tent Site
Selecting a Tent
Sleeping Bags & Pads
The Camp Kitchen
Water Supplies

Kane Gulch Trail - Cedar Mesa, SE Utah

      Kane Gulch is the most popular entrance into Grand Gulch, the large canyon system that bisects Cedar Mesa. Cedar Mesa is the best place to find undeveloped Anasazi Indian sites in wild settings and Grand Gulch offers amazing canyon-hiking and Anasazi explorations. Kane Gulch is the most up-canyon entry point for exploring Grand Gulch and the majority of  backpack trips into Grand Gulch use the Kane Gulch trail.

     The Kane Gulch trail is a great hike that I highly recommend. The trail is mostly easy to follow and not too steep or rugged. Kane Gulch is an interesting and scenic canyon and there are Anasazi sites in the canyon. It's an easy access to Grand Gulch and provides access to fantastic areas. If you
Ruin in Kane Gulch   This small structure is unseen by many Kane Gulch  hikers. be sure to carefully study the cliff walls and alcoves for signs of  the Anasazi.
want to try this hike here is what you need to know.

     Hiking in Kane Gulch begins at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station which is located on UT 261, 4 miles south of the intersection with UT 95. The site is well signed and there is a good sized paved parking area. There are pit toilets but water is not available so be sure to bring all you might need. The Kane Gulch Ranger Station operates seasonally so don't be surprised if they are not open when you are there. If the station is manned you can get the latest information about trails, roads and water availability in the canyons.    

   All of Cedar Mesa is BLM land and you will need to purchase a permit to hike in Kane Gulch. Depending on the season, you can purchase your permit at the Ranger Station but you may need to self register and pay at the kiosk in the parking lot. Day Use Permits are $2.00 per person per day and a 7 consecutive day pass is $5.00. Overnight Permits are $8.00 per person per trip. If you want to backpack into most Cedar Mesa canyons you will need to get a backcountry permit during peak season. Contact the BLM for more information about Cedar Mesa Backcountry Regulations and Fees

Anasazi rock art in Kane GulchClick to enlarge
     This large "snake" can be seen from quite a distance. Look high on the north wall of the canyon not too far up Kane Gulch from the junction..
     From the parking area head west and cross UT 261. Watch carefully for traffic as it can approach faster than you think. On the other side of the road the trail is obvious as you start off across the broad sagebrush flat. The trail is well maintained and easy to follow. In fact, at one time the trail was improved to provide horseback entrance to Grand Gulch. Kane Gulch quickly becomes a more defined canyon and is a very scenic hike. Be sure to watch for the Aspen trees that you can find along one stretch of the trail, As you continue, Kane Gulch rapidly cuts through layers of Cedar Mesa sandstone and becomes a deeply incised canyon.

     Most of the trail is in the canyon bottom and easy hiking. However, there is a section of canyon about two miles or so from the trailhead that is narrow, rough and boulder strewn. Hiking through this section is tough and not recommended. Fortunately, it is easy to avoid this stretch by following a well developed detour. Watch for the trail that climbs above the canyon bottom on the north side of the canyon (right side looking down canyon). This trail is well marked so keep your eyes peeled and you should be fine. If you miss the detour you can make it through the boulder garden and you will encounter the trail again after you slowly make your way through. the tough stretch.

      You will reach the intersection with Grand Gulch after hiking about 3.8 miles. There is a delightful grove of cottonwoods covering the bottom of Grand Gulch where the canyons intersect and Junction Ruin is easily spotted just upstream and opposite of Kane Gulch. This is a really neat area and many people spend time here before turning around to retrace the path. However, Turkey Pen Ruin is about a half mile further and just past Turkey Pen you will get views of Stimpler Arch. If you hike from the Kane Gulch Ranger Station to the point where you can view the arch and return it's just about a 10 mile trip with an elevation change of about
Kane Gulch at Grand GulchClick to enlarge
     This distinctive rock formation marks the junction of Kane Gulch with Grand Gulch. If you are hiking down and see this you are close. This same formation is obvious from within Grand Gulch and can serve as a landmark for knowing where you are.
600 ft - a perfect day hike for many.

     Although most hikers travel through Kane Gulch on the way to the ruins in Grand Gulch, there are some interesting Anasazi sites in Kane Gulch. Watch the south facing walls for alcoves and structures and rock art is scattered throughout the canyon. There are many hidden sites in all the area canyons so be observant and see what you can find.

     Kane Gulch is the most popular access into Grand Gulch for a reason. It is an easy trail that runs into Grand Gulch at a great place. The trail can be a day hike or turned into a multi-day backpack trip. There are some very interesting Anasazi sites and the scenery is fantastic. Kane Gulch is a trip that is highly recommended for everyone.



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