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Backpacking route through the maze
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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Feb 28, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

I've got the maps and will pick out a route on there. Doing a backpacking trip for a week in May with a couple buddies I've known forever. Wondering about the easiest access as we'll be driving a AWD volvo, hiking a few miles of road isn't a big deal but if you really need a 4x4 we could go somewhere else. Any outstanding sections that come to mind? Also hikes would have to exit at the same entry point, we're not driving two cars down from washington.

using google I haven't been able to find much for beta, figured I'd try asking the locals.

Thanks guys in advance.


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By Brian in SLC
Feb 29, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

Hmmm.

www.nps.gov/cany/planyourvisit/mazehiking.htm

I've driven in to both the Dollhouse, and, the Overlook. I wouldn't consider it in a car. Tough roads.

The best option sans decent 4wd may be a boat.


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Feb 29, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

keep in mind we have a whole week or more. 10 miles of road, while inconvenient, isn't a total shut down. most hikes start from the overlook?


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Feb 29, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

I'm also a pro at driving rough roads in my parents 2wd volvo. gotten that thing stuck (and unstuck) many times. amazing what you can do with a carjack and some flat rocks.

we'll have my buddies parents AWD volvo.


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By Dirty Gri Gri, or is it GiGi?
From Vegas
Feb 29, 2012
Growing a winter coat in Red Rock Canyon- December 2013.

AWD, not 4WD, and low clearance in the Maze District? YIKES!! That being said, if you do make it without ripping out your oil pan, and busting an axle, or spending all your time road reconstructing, then try to include the hike to the ancient, and amazing "Harvest Scene" pictographs.

Edit: I just read you'll be taking your buddie's parent's Volvo. They must be really nice, and understanding folks, or you guys are very brave. ; )

Whatever your adventure will be, have fun! It's a beautiful area! : )


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By Brian in SLC
Feb 29, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

Keenan Waeschle wrote:
we'll have my buddies parents AWD volvo.


Not adequate. You'll need a high clearance 4wd.

Hike in from North Point might be your best option.

You'll need a permit (and for any camping) to park your vehicle anyway, and, your own toilet too.

From the park:

Four-wheel-drive roads in the Maze are extremely difficult, present considerable risk of vehicle damage, and should not be attempted by inexperienced drivers. A high-clearance, four-wheel-drive vehicle is required for all Maze backcountry roads. ATVs are not permitted.
The most commonly used road in the Maze is the Flint Trail, which traverses slopes of clay that are extremely slippery when wet. The Flint Trail is often closed during winter. The road between Teapot camp and the Land of Standing Rocks is considered very difficult under any conditions and involves considerable risk of vehicle damage.

Four-wheel drivers should be prepared to make basic road or vehicle repairs and should carry the following items:

• At least one full-size spare tire
• Extra gas
• Extra water
• Shovel
• High-lift jack
• Chains for all four tires (especially October through April)

Drive Carefully!
Towing charges are very expensive. Visitors caught in the backcountry with disabled vehicles can expect towing fees in excess of $1,000.


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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Feb 29, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!

It's been years since I've been in the Maze, but yeah, I'd just like to reiterate that your car is NOT appropriate for going in there. If you get stuck or break down, remember that you are 40+ miles from the nearest pavement. Even if you hike in from the Flint Trail, or Millard Canyon overlook, or something like that, you're a long way off from the Maze. If you are psyched on that general area, you're probably way better off doing something in the Robbers Roost/Dirty Devil/Poison Springs area.


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By Alan Ream
From Lafayette CO
Feb 29, 2012
Breakfast of Champion slacker climbers.

I think you can get a little ways into the maze district by hiking through the Needles District (Chessler park and the Joint trail). That might work for ya and it's really cool too. Alan-


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By NickinCO
From colorado
Feb 29, 2012
after the hard stuff, into cruiser hands.

go for it you got it brah


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By Brian in SLC
Feb 29, 2012
Climbing in Smuggler's Notch

Alan Ream wrote:
I think you can get into the maze district by hiking through the Needles District (Chessler park and the Joint trail). That might work for ya and it's really cool too. Alan-


Only if you swim the Colorado River...at high water during runoff...not recommended.


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By Alan Ream
From Lafayette CO
Feb 29, 2012
Breakfast of Champion slacker climbers.

Ok - I thought the Maze was on both sides of the river there. And it looks like Spanish Bottom is not an option for crossing either - Thanks Brian.


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Feb 29, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

we are a lot dumber than we are brave.

So far it seems our best option would be to hike the 15 miles into the overlook and then drop in from there, tearing up someone else's car would make me feel a little bit guilty. That is a lot of water to carry... probably 4 liters per person, is that a good estimate for 2nd week of may? The nice thing about canyonlands is not needing a tent. save weight in that department.

I can't wait to go back. I've done two river trips down the grand canyon, the last one we went all the way to lake mead. Incredibly beautiful area. I think I first heard of the maze as a little kid reading some will hobbs book (might've been called "The Maze", probably was). Swimming the colorado is not going to happen. thanks for the suicide tip though.


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Feb 29, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

hey man way to shit on my parade.

The more I look into it though it seems like it's not worth spending a week in there unless you end up going out a different way you came in. Might just cut that down to a 3 day hike and spend the rest of our time dodging the sun in indian creek.


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By mmcfarland
From Millcreek ,Ut
Feb 29, 2012

Heres a route I've done half a dozen times, often that time of the year.

Drive to the Hans Flat ranger station (45ish miles on dirt). There you can get your permits. You can call and reserve backpacker permits, but I've always gotten one w/out. A larger group should reserve though, to insure everybody gets one. From there you can drive several more miles, past French spring, to the turn off for Panorama Point and Cleopatra's chair. There is a large slab of rock on the SE corner of this intersection that serves as parking for 3-4 cars. From here it's about 1.5miles to the start of the North Trail Canyon, clearly marked on the left. This is a really scenic canyon thats descends through many layers of rock. In addition it has a few good camp spots down in the lower third of the canyon. Eventually you'll come out not far from the crossroads to the Maze overlook road. Roughly 2miles from there you can veer N on a trail which will drop you into horse canyon. You could head on down the road to the Overlook, but this is my prefered method for getting into the Maze. Horse canyon see's little traffic and has many good camping opportunities, as opposed to the overlook which only allows car camping w/in a half mile radius. Also ,it's more fun to climb up the overlook trail than down it with backpacks on.

Once your in horse canyon you have access to the entire Maze, easily days of exploring. That time of year waters not a problem, capacity to carry a gallon each is plenty adaquite. When your ready to head back exiting the Overlook trail is fun and looking back into the labarynth you just left is amazing. Hiking at a decent pace you can be back to your car in about 6hours from the overlook.

I drive there in my Subaru, so your Volvo should be just fine. I highly recomend this trip.


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Feb 29, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

JLP wrote:
Oh - you rock climb? I couldn't tell. Climb the whole trip - Moab, IC, towers, whatever. You'll go nuts. It's one of the planet's best climbing areas. Bring some running shoes or a mountain bike and do all this tourist crap on rest days. Backpacking is something climbers do to get to a climb or when you're about to pop the question to your girlfriend, not something you go do for the sake of it with another dude.


Yeah I'd like to but the guys I'mg going with don't really climb. Trying to rope my canadian buddy into going so I have someone to climb with. let the other guys hike around for a couple days while we send the gnar. btw how hard is it to get into moses? would two non climbing dudes get bored hiking around that area while I ditch them to go climbing?

this trip at the very least will give me a chance to scout out routes around there.


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Feb 29, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

mmcfarland wrote:
Heres a route I've done half a dozen times, often that time of the year. Drive to the Hans Flat ranger station (45ish miles on dirt). There you can get your permits. You can call and reserve backpacker permits, but I've always gotten one w/out. A larger group should reserve though, to insure everybody gets one. From there you can drive several more miles, past French spring, to the turn off for Panorama Point and Cleopatra's chair. There is a large slab of rock on the SE corner of this intersection that serves as parking for 3-4 cars. From here it's about 1.5miles to the start of the North Trail Canyon, clearly marked on the left. This is a really scenic canyon thats descends through many layers of rock. In addition it has a few good camp spots down in the lower third of the canyon. Eventually you'll come out not far from the crossroads to the Maze overlook road. Roughly 2miles from there you can veer N on a trail which will drop you into horse canyon. You could head on down the road to the Overlook, but this is my prefered method for getting into the Maze. Horse canyon see's little traffic and has many good camping opportunities, as opposed to the overlook which only allows car camping w/in a half mile radius. Also ,it's more fun to climb up the overlook trail than down it with backpacks on. Once your in horse canyon you have access to the entire Maze, easily days of exploring. That time of year waters not a problem, capacity to carry a gallon each is plenty adaquite. When your ready to head back exiting the Overlook trail is fun and looking back into the labarynth you just left is amazing. Hiking at a decent pace you can be back to your car in about 6hours from the overlook. I drive there in my Subaru, so your Volvo should be just fine. I highly recomend this trip.


Perfect, exactly the beta I was looking for. thanks kind sir!


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By mmcfarland
From Millcreek ,Ut
Feb 29, 2012

I'm glad to help, thats long been a favorite desert hike of mine. I'll add that even though you could spend 5+ days down there, I've also done the most basic version of that loop in three days (two nights) car to car. Make sure you check out the Harvest scene. If you look in Kelseys guide book he also lists several pictographs and petroglyphs not found on topo maps.

Although thats a good time for water sources by desert standards, North canyon will most likely be dry. The two most reliable sources are a spring at the mouth of Horse canyon where it meets the main drainage, as well as just below the Maze overlook (possibly a little south of where the Overlook trail leaves the drainage). I have however found many other sources by poking around in the recessed canyon corners and "amphitheater" features. It doesn't hurt to have a little extra your first day out, in case you don't make it all the way down into the drainage bottom.

Also, filling up the gas tank in either Green River or Hanksville is key. Once you head off highway 24, your out there. You may even second guess yourself based on parts of the drive. Once you drop into North canyon though, you won't regret going.


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By Gregger Man
Feb 29, 2012
gg

I did a 5 day trip through the maze a few years ago by way of a boat ride to and from Spanish Bottom. The ride to/from Moab isn't the cheapest way to go, but I would do it that way again.


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By Alexander Nees
From Grand Junction, CO
Feb 29, 2012
Alex midway up TCT.  Photo by Kim Caovan

+1 for mmcfarland's advice! Exactly what I would have said, and glad I didn't have to write all that out (or remember all the place names). Surprised at some of the opinions expressed above; here's my opposing take on several of them.

The Maze is an incredible place, well suited to multi-day backpack trips, and with a minimum of motorheads.

Early May is potentially an ideal time to go, since the weather will probably be dry and stable but it won't be boiling hot yet.

Your Volvo ought to be fine for getting "close enough". It's more rewarding to walk the last few miles to the rim anyway, I think. Easy driving per mmcfarland's directions.

If you want to include some climbing, Cleopatra's Chair is supposed to be an okay and moderate climb with an AMAZING summit.

Bring lots of water... it can be very hard to find down there.


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By Keenan Waeschle
From Bozeman, MT
Mar 1, 2012
on top of the RNWF <br />June 2012

if anyone knows the USGS maps for the maze I'd be much obliged. My school has every map of the US in a room, super sweet to check stuff out but things go faster if you know exactly what to look for. Scoped out areas in alaska this evening, someone swiped Talkeetna D-2, the Ruth Gorge. fuckin' college students...


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By camhead
From Vandalia, Appalachia
Mar 1, 2012
You stay away from mah pig!

Keenan Waeschle wrote:
if anyone knows the USGS maps for the maze I'd be much obliged. My school has every map of the US in a room, super sweet to check stuff out but things go faster if you know exactly what to look for. Scoped out areas in alaska this evening, someone swiped Talkeetna D-2, the Ruth Gorge. fuckin' college students...


The Trails Illustrated map to the Maze District is excellent.

www.natgeomaps.com/ti_312


The 30x60 minute, 1/100,000 scale USGS topos unfortunately intersect right at the Maze area, so for those you would need something like both "Hite Crossing," and "Hanksville," but they are the best ones for road overviews.


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By Kevin Wolff
Feb 6, 2014

i'm headed there at the end of march with a buddy of mine for a 4 night backpack. going to park at the little parking lot and hike down through the north trail canyon to the overlook, and down in from there. gotta see the harvest scene, the dollhouse, etc. our best case scenario will get us out on that point overlooking the confluence, but we'll see about that. In reference to a previous comment, yes backpacking in and of itself is worth doing…but yeah if you don't go then there's more room for me.


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