Grand Gulch Primitive Area - Page 1

This is one of our favorites. Beginning just south of Natural Bridges National Monument, Grand Gulch cuts through 2,700 vertical feet of the Cedar Mesa Sandstone on its way to the San Juan River, a total of 52 miles from the main trailhead at the Kane Gulch ranger station. Access to Grand Gulch is gained through side canyons; the three main routes are Kane Gulch, Bullet Canyon, and Collins Canyon. Louise and I have been here several times, and have hiked into the canyon through all three access points.

Kane Gulch - the primary entry to the canyon is through Kane Gulch. The trail descends 500 feet over 4 miles to the main canyon.
Boulder Fall in Kane Gulch - this house-sized boulder is one of many that have peeled off of the canyon walls over the centuries. Louise is standing to the left of the boulder - which should give you some vague notion as to the scale of the thing.
Junction Ruin - at the junction of Kane Gulch with Grand Gulch, there are several good camping spots. Nearby is Junction Ruin, one of the largest of the many Anasazi villages that had once occupied the canyons. Various ruin sites date anywhere from AD 500 to AD 1300.
The Ruin with No Name - Grand Gulch is frankly choked with Anasazi ruins; it sometimes seems as though every crack and crevice in the north wall of the canyon displays some evidence of prior occupation. While the "Trails Illustrated" map of Grand Gulch indicates a large number of the more substantial sites, many others, such as the one seen here, are unmarked and unnamed.
Petrograffiti - wherever Anasazi ruins are found, so also are found the various figures with which they adorned the canyon walls. This petroglyph seems to represent a bighorn sheep, above a curious double spiral. Spiral motifs figure prominently in Anasazi rock art.
Stimper Arch - a mile below Junction Ruin, high up on the south wall of the canyon, a wind-worn hole sits like a titan's window, bearing a woefully unpoetic name. Gods only know who Stimper was.
Grand Arch - this arch is located nine miles below Collins Canyon, and is roughly 150 feet in width. Unlike Stimper Arch, it is located near the canyon floor, jutting into the bend of a meander. It resembles a natural bridge more than it does an arch, save that the stream bed does not cut beneath it. Several interesting petroglyphs and pictographs can be found on this formation.

Information is available from the BLM, 435 North Main, PO Box 7, Monticello, Utah 84535. The phone number is (801) 587-2141. Information can also be obtained at the BLM ranger station at the Kane Gulch trailhead, about 4 miles south of route 95 on route 261.