Plan Ahead for Great Hiking Memories
By Dixie Brunner
Hundreds of trails are available for those wanting to hike in the beauty of this area's majestic surroundings. There are short hikes for novices and lengthy, overnight treks for the more-seasoned hikers.
Trail maps are available at the Kane County Tourist Information Center, BLM, Forest Service, Park Service and the Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument Visitor Centers.
While you're traveling in this beautiful country, please be aware that the geography and elements are unforgiving. Heat, flash floods, crumbling sandstone and slickrock are all things to be concerned about when hiking.
If you're going to take a hike, here are a few important safety tips to remember: " Dress sensibly. Temperatures can vary radically in the high desert plateau of southern Utah. Daytime temperatures can reach well into the 90]s, with night time temperatures as low as the 40's. " Take plenty of water! Experts recommend at least one gallon of water per person, per day. Heat exhaustion and dehydration take their toll on hikers. " Take sunscreen, Chapstick and matches for safety. " Make sure you tell someone where you're going! Should you get lost or injured, recovery time (and occasionally your life) can be saved if rescuers have a starting and ending point.
Southern Utah has many slot canyons that can offer hikers possibly their greatest adventure. A slot canyon is a narrow crevice slicing through a mesa by fast running water. Slots can be less than a yard across, but may drop hundreds of feet to the canyon floor. Their beauty lies in the intricate images of delicately carved sandstone, with varying degrees of light, creating shadows and etchings far beyond the imagination.
In Kane County, slot canyons normally form either in the massive cross-bedded sandstone of the Navajo formation or less frequently, in the reddish-brown stream and delta deposits of the Kayenta formation.
Slot canyons can be dangerous and are not for the inexperienced! During flash floods, the water level can rise almost instantly. Make sure that you always check with the appropriate land management agency before hiking about weather conditions.
Note: some BLM and NPS trails require hikers to register before they begin!