Biking, Hiking, and Canyoneering in Southern Utah

With the fall semester about to start, my brother and I decided that we needed one more trip to end the summer with. Southwest Utah is one of my favorite places to explore so we determined that would be our destination. I'm going to school in Utah so that shortens the drive from 8 hours to 4 hours, much more enjoyable in my opinion! And after talking with my Dad, he decided to come along with us on our two-night adventure.

The three of us drove down south on Thursday morning and found a campsite around lunchtime. Surprisingly we were the only ones in the entire campground that night which I thought was pretty great! After visiting so many places this summer that had been packed with people, solitude was a good change of pace. We went on an 11-mile bike ride that afternoon which had some great views, but lots of climbing, and when you're already at 10,000 feet any increase in elevation feels like a burden. There really is less air up there! After we got back to camp and chilled for a bit, we made pasta for dinner and rested the rest of the day.

Friday was our biggest day; we started by driving over to the Kolob Canyon section of Zion National Park (not to be confused with the Kolob Terrace section). We hiked up Taylor creek, a nice 3-mile trail up a wide canyon that ended at Double Arch Alcove. They weren't actually full arches, but it was still a beautiful area and a fun hike altogether. Once we had finished we hopped back in the car and drove over to a canyon in between Parowan and Brian Head called Benson Creek Canyon. We stuffed all our gear into backpacks and started the approach. While reading the beta beforehand I learned that there was a 2.5-mile approach with some steep sections. What I didn't know was that steep meant gaining over 1,000 feet in half a mile! We finally made it (barely), and started the descent into the canyon. It was a fun canyon with water flowing through the whole thing. This created small waterfalls on all four of the rappels which I thoroughly enjoyed. The water saturated our rope making it extra heavy, but it was totally worth it. These falls also provided an unexpected shower for the trip so I actually felt cleaner after going through the canyon!

After finishing the canyon we drove back to our campsite to find three other groups had taken spots at the campground. This was fewer than I had expected, so the campground still didn't feel crowded which I was grateful for. We had a late bratwurst dinner before wandering around the lake near our camp for a few minutes. The lake we were at is called Navajo Lake, a reservoir that was formed after a lava flow created a natural dam. There are several hiking and biking trails nearby, as well as opportunities to fish and boat on the lake itself.

With a long drive home, we left Saturday morning after eating and packing up. It was a great trip; we explored new places and had a good time with all of it!