Anyone hiked in to Grand Gulch to the SJ? - Mountain Buzz
 



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Old 07-24-2013   #1
Kjirsten
 
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Durango, Colorado
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Anyone hiked in to Grand Gulch to the SJ?

We are looking for information for someone hiking in at Grand Gulch to join a rafting trip on the San Juan. Is this doable? Has anyone done it?

We know we need both a backcountry permit and a river permit- we have that covered.

It looks like someone can drive hwy 276 and take a 4 wheel drive road 260 to the trailhead. The hike is 16 miles from there.

Does that sound accurate? What is the hike like? Ropes, etc?

Anyone want to try it?

Thanks, Kjirsten

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Old 07-25-2013   #2
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In 2006 a friend and I hiked into the San Juan river to meet a raft trip via Slickhorn Canyon, which comes into the San Juan just a little ways upstream of Grand Gulch. It was an awesome hike. And I believe that it was less than 16 miles, perhaps 10 or 12, to the river.

I just took a look at my Utah Gazetteer to jog the memory. I think we drove south on 261 to 245 Road (Slickhorn Road), past a corral, and parked at a trail head near the very top of Slickhorn Canyon (or Gulch). Before the trip we were apprehensive because all the hiking maps we came across showed routes going into Slickhorn and out a tributary canyon, making the hikes a loop. Nothing showed a route to the river. We went for it, and it was one of the best hikes into a river I have ever done. There are a number of ruins in Slickhorn, but we didn't notice many because we were focused on cranking out the hike.

As Slickhorn drops towards the San Juan there are a few ledges or drop offs, but nothing without an easy route around. No ropes required. There were a few nice swimming holes.

I highly recommend the Slickhorn hike. Start early and plan for most of your day hiking the canyon, and make sure the river trip knows where to stop. Our friends walked up Slickhorn about a mile to meet us. It was rad. I don't think many people have hooked up with a multi-day river trip via this route.

Check out the Utah canyoneering guide books by Michael Kelsey.
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Old 07-25-2013   #3
Kjirsten
 
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Thanks for the info- that is really helpful!
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Old 07-25-2013   #4
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TakemetotheRiver View Post
We are looking for information for someone hiking in at Grand Gulch to join a rafting trip on the San Juan. Is this doable? Has anyone done it?
Have hiked in Grand Gulch, though not to the river (Kane to Collins, and Kane to Bullet). Took kids when they were younger, these were 5-ish days trips. To hike the full length would be 50+ miles, if I recall correctly. Definitely doable, but a long trip.

As noted, you can come in at Slickhorn (never done it). As a side note, it's possible to hike from John's Canyon to Slickhorn.

You can access the San Juan via the Honaker Trail. More than once we've hiked up from the Honaker river camp and just a couple hundred yards away from the rim is someone car-camping. I believe that area is accessed from John's Canyon Road.
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Old 07-25-2013   #5
 
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I've hiked Slickhorn, John's and Grand Gulch to the river. I would recommend Slickhorn from the the 6th acccess canyon for the shortest route. John's isn't bad either, but did require a bit more route finding in terms of climbing out (I did it as a loop backpack down Slickhorn and out John's). There was nothing technical in either canyon, but the route in Slickhorn is better used and easier to follow (and Slickhorn is the more scenic canyon). The last mile or so to the river in Slickhorn is spectacular. Grand Gulch is nice too, but I believe they require permits now (It's been over ten years since I've been in there) and it is a bit longer I believe.
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Old 07-26-2013   #6
 
Durango, Colorado
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Your doing this in the Fall? Right? 100 plus degrees out there now.. ugg
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