Water Canyon Is Located on Another Planet!
Water Canyon Is Located on Another Planet and we got there by heading through Utah.. Last Sunday (a week ago), we were not sure where we were going to end up hiking. We were originally supposed to head to Water Canyon (we had postponed it the week before due to weather) and were about to postpone it due to weather again. But, when we woke up at 6:30a.m. to start getting ready, weather was showing less than a 20% chance of rain in the small town of Hildale, where the trailhead to Water Canyon begins. Charity Faith & Wendy met me and UFC Fighter, Liz Phillips at my house, and we all piled into my car on a mission!
A quick stop to Einstein’s Bagels, and then we headed out on the road. As we were passing Valley of Fire, we decided to take an hour detour through there because our hike that day was a short one (little did we know!) Valley of Fire is definitely a favorite spot for me for local hikes so I knew the girls would get a kick out of it too. While our detour was short, we got a few cellphone selfies in while we were there.
It was almost exactly an hour by the time we got back to the 15 and were headed into Utah. The drive took us through the Virgin River Gorge and up to St George where we turned off on the 9 into the small town of Hurricane. We turned right onto the 57 right before 9 heads up the hill towards Zion and followed the 59 Southeast until it brought us to Hildale. The Subway on the corner of Utah Rd, and HWY 59 was our destination for lunch before heading to the trailhead. Let me not forget to mention that the drive through the gorge is always beautiful, but the entire drive including the 59 really blew our minds. At that point, we could have been satisfied with our day based on the beauty of the drive alone! But we still had quite the adventure ahead of us, so it was onward and upward!
Earlier that morning, I had read a paragraph from a blog about the residents of the town of Hildale. According to the passage, it was inhabited by a group of Polygamists so we shouldn’t be surprised when we see the women and children in the traditional long dresses. What we noticed first were the large, fenced in compounds around the town. Then we saw a truckload of women and children; the kids hanging off the open tailgate, a single man driving. It was like a different world completely to us and try as we might, we couldn’t help but stare.
We followed the directions we had gotten and although got a little confused, knew we had found the trailhead by all the Zion Adventure Tour vehicles parked around. Apparently the road was out to the actual trailhead from the storms the couple days before so we had to walk the rest of the way in. We made sure to grab our sweatshirts, our sandwiches, and me all my camera equipment and set off in what we assumed was the right direction. We passed a small group that confirmed our thoughts and we happily marched on. It was already noon by this time.
The trail wound it’s way around through trees and rocks, all the while staying up and to the left of the creek. We passed many people hiking out wearing canyoneering equipment; some day I plan on rappelling some of these canyons! After a steady climb up, we finally reached the beginning of Water Canyon. The girls descended down so that I could take a photo of them from a distance to truly show the size of where we were at, as well as the incredible beauty. They stepped on to the wet sand and seemed to start having issues a bit; I would find out shortly that it was quicksand. The climbed a rock I had designated and I got my photos and then scrambled down to join them. I stepped onto the wet sand and immediately started sinking; not quickly but it didn’t take long till the sand was covering the sides of my shoes. As long as I kept moving, it was fine.
We scaled up a small series of cascades and this was where things really started getting fun. Waterfalls, cascades, slot canyons, this hike had it all. We spent the next couple hours climbing up and through all the obstacles we came across and took side detours from the route to take photos as well as stop for a picnic lunch of subway sandwiches. We were hot from the hike itself but in the canyon there was a lack of direct sunlight so we were very happy to have brought our sweatshirts along with.
The full hike roundtrip including hiking up the neighboring Canaan Mountain is 9 miles roundtrip. If you hike only Water Canyon, it’s 3 miles roundtrip. We believe with the road out the entire hike is closer to 4 but we were having issues comprehending the actual distance because it felt like we hiked way more than 3-4 miles. Between 4:30 and 5, I turned us around at the time I had designated in my head to leave by and we headed back out of the canyon. I didn’t want it get dark before we made it out of the area and wanted to make sure we left ourselves a big enough window to get out. Looking back on the info for the hike, and the distance it said it was, I don’t think we made it the full hike. On the way out, we passed another large family, and saw many in traditional garb in the streets of the town. The Arizona border was 2 blocks over from the Subway, so I stopped to grab some photos (of course) as the sun was setting and the rain clouds were decorating the colorful sky.
I hope you enjoy our photos from that day. I will be taking the longer version of this hike this Sunday I hope! It’s crazy to think we have these amazing places so close to Vegas because they truly feel like they are from another world!