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Fall Torrey Serious Hikes


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I seem to be off riding a bit. Thinking I might bring the truck down for Torrey and do some hikes.


Wanted to gauge interest in some serious hikes, see if anyone else plans to have a truck or suv there that is interested (so maybe I don't need mine after all, :) ).


Here are a couple of suggestions that I know well enough to lead:


Possibly do Little Wild Horse and Bell on Friday.


Map to Trail Head


Access is by dirt road. Sometimes you might get an RT in there, but I have seen it with deep blow sand and loose gravel. It was looking improved this spring, but had loose gravel and soft sections. A truck is the surest option.


The hike is 8 miles and relatively flat, but with some mild technical sections (Steve Allen rates these as "Class 3 scrambling" by the Yosemite decimal system). The elevation gain is given as 500'. There are two or three places where you have to climb on the rock and a fall is possible. There are also a number of potential shallow pools. They are easily waded, but getting boots on and off, and cleaning your feet of mud can be an issue. Of the 5-10 times I have hiked this route the pools were only an issue once. So there are some climbs and pools, however, for the most part this is easy walking along canyon floor. The hike is one of the premier canyon country hikes, and features a slot canyon. The route goes through the San Rafeal Reef, and into the San Rafeal Swell, and then cuts back down through the reef, for a loop hike. Flash flood danger is quite real, and we will only enter the canyons if the weather report is good and the skies are clear. The hike can be done in 4 hours, however, I tend to take 8. With a two hour drive each way, it will be a long day. If you like to hike fast, I can direct you to another nearby hike, Wildhorse Canyon, that features a great pictograph panel and a scramble climb to The Eyes of the San Rafeal, where there is an historic inscription from the Harvard Peabody Museum Expedition, and an ancient charcoal drawing that is one of the oldest known human artifacts in N. America. The trail heads are within 10 miles of each other, so the fast group can take the vehicle and then return to pick us slow things up. You will need: Real hiking boots, a day pack, sun screen, a gallon of water (depends on temperature, better safe than sorry), food, and a jacket. I really can't imagine going without a camera, but to each their own. For the Eyes of the San Rafeal you will want a flashlight.


Here a few descriptions of the hikes


Tom's Ut Canyoneering


American Southwest


This hike was also the subject of a very long, very picture intensive thread I made here on BMWST... It's really a bit much and takes a while to load... click it if you must... you were warned.


I couldn't find a good description of the other hike. It is short and fairly easy. The best pictograph panel is up on a ledge in a cleft, and once I had someone with me get a fear of heights reaction up there. But it's actually pretty easy. The panel is from the Barrier Cliff culture. The Eyes of the San Rafeal are a scramble up a block of checkerboard mesa. It's steep enough that you might use your hands, but there is little danger. Once up top you just meander up a sandy wash to the caves. The ancient shaman figure is little known, but I have been told the charcoal dates over ten thousand years. It is at the back of the left cave, and you will need a good flashlight to see it. The Peabody inscription is in the right cave, along with a bunch of rock graffiti.


On Saturday I might be ambitious enough to make the drive to the Horseshoe Canyon (Barrier Canyon) unit of Canyonlands National Park. This is also about a two hour drive in the same direction.


Map to Horseshoe Canyon


Access is by dirt road. I have had the Maxima in there, but I wouldn't do it again. Mainly just the little N.P. access road was rough. If it is like much of the rest of the area, it has been improved since I was last there. I also chanced to get a jeep mired in the mud after a flash flood onetime I was there. That is another story. Again, to be sure, I recommend a truck or suv.


This is the National Park Page for the hike. This is, as the website says, a 6.5 mile hike with 750' elevation gain. You start on the canyon rim and descend an old washed out dirt road to the canyon floor, then hike 3 miles up canyon to the grand gallery. Several other galleries along the way. This would be an easy hike, but often times the canyon floor is deep loose sand. Also, you may have to hike in shallow water (most I've seen is about 2"). The climb back out at the end can be a slog, with the afternoon sun on the cliff face. The canyon is fairly open, and gets lots of sun.


This hike is more about the pictograph panels than the hiking. This canyon was the center of the Barrier Cliff culture, their home canyon. These panels are some of the most impressive in the world.


I'm open to other possibilities, but not am not going to lead a route I don't know.... but if anyone else has a great idea and wants to lead, I'm happy to follow.


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What about the Wave? Maybe it's too far from Torrey. I understand it's an 8 mile dirt road off of 89, and then a four mile hike to it. Cameras are strongly encouraged.


On second thought, getting reservations takes some hoop jumping.

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What about the Wave? Maybe it's too far from Torrey. I understand it's an 8 mile dirt road off of 89, and then a four mile hike to it. Cameras are strongly encouraged.


On second thought, getting reservations takes some hoop jumping.


Thanks! Hadn't ever heard of that. Sounds good. But at 5 hours form Torrey, it is a bit far. On my list now though.

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I take it the man's leg has fully healed and he's ready for some action... :grin:


You all have a good hike...and PLEASE don't make it eventful..




:grin: Yes sir!

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