Reflection Canyon - Overnight Hike Solo: Beta, Tips, HELP!


Original Post
Roman G · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 45

Has anyone done Reflection canyon by foot? Overnight?

Looking to do this overnight hike solo in early April.

Has anyone done this? Have you done this solo? Anything to watch out for? My only real concern is wildlife (ehm...how's the mountain lion danger in that territory?)

I was able to gather some beta from the limited information available:

Plenty of water - no where to refill.
GPS coordinates for the parking on the Hole in Wall road
4WD is a must
DO NOT ATTEMPT WITH ANY CHANCE OF RAIN
travel by GPS only as no trails exist.
so on.....

Any tips on wildlife danger? Solo hike advice? I will desperately try to get a permit for Havasu Falls in early February(the only time to call for a permit), but if I cant, I'm looking to do this instead/as well.

Reflection Canyon:

Reflection Canyon

fossana · · leeds, ut · Joined Apr 2006 · Points: 12,086

Did you try contacting this person? Kelsey (page 258-9) covers Cottonwood Gulch (slightly NE). It looks like Ranier used the Cottonwood approach before veering off to SW.

Adding that many of the areas around Lake Powell are super remote with no cell reception. I would find out about road conditions from BLM, and bring a shovel (for the road) and a PLB for the hike in addition to your GPS.

Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 12,639
Roman G wrote:My only real concern is wildlife (ehm...how's the mountain lion danger in that territory?)
To my knowledge, there's never been a documented case of anyone ever getting attacked by a mountain lion anywhere even near this location. Unreasonable and unwarranted.

Better chance that you'll be abducted by aliens and anal probed. You don't want that.

Its rough, remote country. Count on no help for any emergency. No cell signal. Even an activated spot or PLB won't have the cavalry coming for a loooong time.

Read up on Everett Ruess. He was a solo hiker. They still haven't figured out what happened to him.

Unless you're a very experienced hiker who's done overnight backpacking trips into very remote, rugged areas, I wouldn't suggest this as a venue for you. Get some experience in the desert first, preferably with a mentor.

Plenty of unprepared folks die in the Escalante area every year. Don't be one of them. Get some experience first. Then you wan't feel inclined to ask for help on a climbing website about how to backpack in the desert.
Roman G · · Brooklyn, NY · Joined Aug 2013 · Points: 45
Brian in SLC wrote: To my knowledge, there's never been a documented case of anyone ever getting attacked by a mountain lion anywhere even near this location. Unreasonable and unwarranted. Better chance that you'll be abducted by aliens and anal probed. You don't want that. Its rough, remote country. Count on no help for any emergency. No cell signal. Even an activated spot or PLB won't have the cavalry coming for a loooong time. Read up on Everett Ruess. He was a solo hiker. They still haven't figured out what happened to him. Unless you're a very experienced hiker who's done overnight backpacking trips into very remote, rugged areas, I wouldn't suggest this as a venue for you. Get some experience in the desert first, preferably with a mentor. Plenty of unprepared folks die in the Escalante area every year. Don't be one of them. Get some experience first. Then you wan't feel inclined to ask for help on a climbing website about how to backpack in the desert.
Brian with respect, I am not asking how to backpack in the desert...im asking about SPECIFICALLY the said location. I am fully aware of being completely alone and that is what I am aiming for to begin with and counting on no one but on self reliance. I am fully aware of how rugged the terrain is and how desolate the overnight hike to the said place is (can be done in a day I want to do it overnight)

As far as a big cat worry...im 5'5 135lb going SOLO! I would basically stand no chance, can you blame me for being concerned? lol
Brian in SLC · · Sandy, Utah · Joined Oct 2003 · Points: 12,639
Roman G wrote: Brian with respect, I am not asking how to backpack in the desert...im asking about SPECIFICALLY the said location. I am fully aware of being completely alone and that is what I am aiming for to begin with and counting on no one but on self reliance. I am fully aware of how rugged the terrain is and how desolate the overnight hike to the said place is (can be done in a day I want to do it overnight) As far as a big cat worry...im 5'5 135lb going SOLO! I would basically stand no chance, can you blame me for being concerned? lol
Said location is remote, there's no real maintained trail to speak of and water sources are non-existent.

The darn screen saver is drawing folks to this area like moths to a flame. I think most have no idear what they're getting into.

If you're super worried about big cats (irrational, I think), then pack a huge gun or pepper spray and have it in your hands at all times. They'll spring on you when you're not expecting, so, have that hammer cocked back and your finger on that trigger...

Kidding. Don't worry about cats, their largest prey is desert bighorn. You'd be super lucky to see one. You're not their food source.

A bigger concern would be the terrain, falling or tripping and getting hurt, dehydration, getting lost, kicking a cactus, eating too much jimsom weed, or getting bit by a rattlesnake (early morning sunny spots - watch your step).

Watch the weather. The area is prone to flash floods. The road can get washed out and become impassible. Driving solo has its own risks: no spotter, no one to help if you get stuck. So, be conservative driving the road.

Also, if it has rained, the cross country travel can sometimes be treacherous. Sandstone shelves can collapse under body weight. When in doubt, back up and look for an alternate route. Easy to get cliffed out and over your head. Be prepared to backtrack.

So, besides your irrational fear of a large preditor, with huge fangs, a stealthy approach and you'll never see it coming, what else are you looking for?

Its a great area. Have fun!
Ryan Hill · · Oakland, CA · Joined Dec 2009 · Points: 0
Roman G wrote: Brian with respect, I am not asking how to backpack in the desert...im asking about SPECIFICALLY the said location. I am fully aware of being completely alone and that is what I am aiming for to begin with and counting on no one but on self reliance. I am fully aware of how rugged the terrain is and how desolate the overnight hike to the said place is (can be done in a day I want to do it overnight) As far as a big cat worry...im 5'5 135lb going SOLO! I would basically stand no chance, can you blame me for being concerned? lol
Roman, I think the red flags that got Brian to speak up are your question about "solo hike advice", the largely unwarranted concern about mountain lions (you are more likely to be killed by your own stupidity than a mountain lion), and the alternative of Havasu Falls which is basically Disneyland compared to the area you are researching.

I have not done a trip in the area you are asking about, but I've been on plenty of solo and group trips throughout the canyons of southern Utah. That said:

Wildlife: be aware of your surroundings. Mountain lions and snakes are the biggest concern, know where they spend time and how to spot signs that they have been in the area. 7+ years of desert travel and I have been "surprised" by one mountain lion and never had any real danger from snakes. I'm usually more worried about local humans than animals.

Solo hike advice: have fun, prepare to be bored at times, know your limits and practice more caution than you normally would.

Otherwise; talk with the local ranger station and gear shops for beta, figure out the conditions of the roads in and out. Be prepared to self-rescue yourself if anything goes wrong and have water and food for extra days. Watch the weather. Be self-aware and be honest with you and your vehicle's abilities. Over-exerting yourself on a hike like this can have serious consequences.

Otherwise, have fun. If you have the vehicle and the know-how for this type of route you'll have a blast. I love solo hiking in the desert and gain a lot from the sense of solitude and accomplishment.
Kevin MP · · Redmond, OR · Joined Nov 2013 · Points: 178
Roman G wrote:Any tips on wildlife danger? Solo hike advice?
Beware of the snafflehounds, they are merciless. Bring lots of drugs.
greggrylls · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0

Have you considered coyote gulch? I would feel comfortable soloing that since it gets more traffic and it's beautiful if you haven't done it. I haven't done reflection but from what I've heard it's a lot of walking over meh terrain for that view. No water to speak or. You can get more than enough solitude in the gulch especially this time of year.

That road is seriously dangerous. I've almost gotten stuck (in a Volvo not recommended). And have had to help a guy whose car slide off a cattle guard. If we didn't come through he likely wouldn't have seen another soul until the next weekend or if the rangers happened to come out.

I didn't see if you've been in this area but that road is remote and there's not much water. If you insist on this carry at least 5 gallons of water in the car and food and a means other than cellphone of getting help.

Best of luck.

greggrylls · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2016 · Points: 0

I just saw your from NY so coyote gulch and the spooky and peekaboo slots. Much better overall experience. I know the picture is cool... but look into what I've said. Gorgeous views. One of utahs premiere hikes.

Feel free to PM if you have more questions

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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