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Grotto Canyon and Horse Heaven Arch

10 Mar

On Sunday, Dad and I hiked Steve Allen’s Grotto Canyon loop trail in the Northern San Rafael Reef. The Tidwell Draw road out to the trailhead was in rough shape. It was the worst I have seen it in. I had to use four wheel drive a couple times to get through washouts. But we finally got to the trailhead at 11:30. The trail starts out kind of unremarkable.

After a short distance it gets better and the canyon deepens.

Once it narrows up there was a pothole we couldn’t make it past so we had to backtrack and climb out of the canyon.

After climbing back in it narrows up again nicely. We stemmed over two pools but was stopped by a third but the end was within sight.

The narrows end at a large dryfall so we backtracked and climbed out. We then hiked past the dryfall and climbed back in the canyon.

Just after dropping in there was a leaning rock barely balancing on a small rock.

We headed up canyon for a short way, then climbed out and hiked North over to an old cowboy cabin.

After the cabin, we continued North into another canyon to see Horse Heaven Arch.

After seeing the arch we backtracked and headed down canyon. This canyon had a lot of potholes full of water.

There is one big dryfall but it is easily bypassed.

This canyon took us back to the trailhead and finished our loop. It took us 5 hours and was a bit over 5 miles long. The weather was perfect plus we had the area all to ourselves. Good day.

Photo Gallery: Grotto Canyon

GPS Tracklog: Google Earth KMZ

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