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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Listen to the call of the canyons and head to southern Utah

By Nick Rosenberger, Staff Writer

Well, folks, here comes Fall Break, and it’s time to head south to the magnificent canyon country where the temperature is beautiful during the day this time of year, and the majority of the tourists are gone. There are many places to visit, but here are a few prominent spots you can head to: Moab, Glen Canyon National Recreation Area and Zion National Park.


Located between two of Utah’s most famous national parks and a mecca for mountain bikers with awesome trails on Slickrock, making it a wonderful play land.

The opportunities to explore these areas seem almost endless. Unfortunately the oil and gas development in this area is being pushed on a grand scale, so I suggest you go and explore the beauty just outside of town before it is destroyed.

There is a place called Indian Creek, a favorite place of many rock climbers, that offers incredible sandstone crack climbing. This area will most likely be crowded because it is very popular.

If you go into Arches National Park, you might find completely unimaginable beauty. Containing a little more than 2,000 arches, it includes classics such as Delicate Arch and Double O Arch.

There are also many other different hikes that offer many opportunities to see magnificent beauty. This is the place where Edward Abbey found the inspiration to write Desert Solitaire, which is excellent Fall Break reading when down south.

Not far from Moab is Canyonlands National Park, through which the Colorado River and the Green River both flow and eventually meet together. There is The Island in the Sky District and Needles District with many radically different areas. If you go to the Needles district, there is excellent camping and many opportunities to hike.

There are also many arches you can see in this area that are quite beautiful. If you get up early or decide to backpack, you can make your way toward Druid Arch, which is much more secluded and subsequently less crowded and more peaceful.

Glen Canyon National Recreation Area

This is a popular place among many motorboaters, as is the Lake Powell Reservoir.

This is where the Colorado River system once flowed with other major tributaries such as the San Juan River and the Escalante River. There are many opportunities to sea kayak or motorboat if you choose and backpacking on the outskirts of the reservoir.

The water temperature this time of year is in the mid 70s but varies with the time of day and weather of that week.

A popular location to backpack in GCNRA is in Coyote Gulch. A place of outstanding beauty that it is often difficult for the mind to comprehend, with its mysterious sandstone walls, how something naturally made can be so beautiful. This desert landscape is abundant in water, so it is easy to do any backcountry hiking and camping.

Before the reservoir, the area was abundant in springs and oases, but most of that landscape is backed over with water. There are also more side canyons located in the different parts in GCNRA. If you go up toward Hite, you can see the bottom part of Cataract Canyon, which is part of Canyonlands National Park. If you head down to the Glen Canyon Dam, you can see the huge 710-foot wall inside the old river channel.


Located close to St. George, Utah, Zion National Park is a magnificent area with towering sandstone walls.

The classics such as the Virgin Narrows, a magnificent canyon where the walls are about 2,000 feet high and at one point the canyon is 20 feet wide, the Virgin River typically flows at a low level, so you can hike through it. However, check with a ranger just to make sure the conditions aren’t dangerous.

If you go, make sure you have a wetsuit to keep warm, and canyoneering boots can be rented in the town, right outside of the park.

Another classic hike is Angel’s Landing, where you hike up 1,500 feet over a short period of time and which involves sheer cliffs on each side while heading to the summit. There, hikers are rewarded with an incredible view of the whole canyon and the Virgin River below.

There is also an incredible hike down the Subway, which is a narrow tube shaped canyon that is unique. You will need some repelling experience as the area calls for it in a few spots. Zion also has an excellent bus system, so you can easily go inside the park and leave your vehicle at the visitor’s center and head up the canyon.

For your information: The desert is a dry place, so water is a big issue. You will often not be able to find it, so you will need to pack it with you. It is recommended you drink at least a gallon a day.

Pay attention to weather because flash floods can happen even when there is not a cloud in the sky, so if you hear a sound like a train derailing heading toward you, get to higher ground! Because of the exotic landscape of the canyon country it is important to have maps of where you plan to be. It is important to have a compass and know your plan.

Please also keep in mind Leave No Trace ethics. Plan ahead and prepare. Respect wildlife. Respect other visitors. Leave what you find. Camp and travel on durable surfaces. Dispose of human waste properly and use fire responsibly.

For more information, visit Please, follow these ethics, as these places are everybody’s land. Leave it how you would want other people to see it. Have fun, be safe and have a wonderful Fall Break.

[email protected]

Nick Rosenberger

Waiting at the end of Zion?s classic Angel?s Landing hike is an incredible view of the canyon and Virgin River.

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