Snake Gulch to Kanab Creek!  

September 09-12, 1997        Mike Mahanay

Snake Gulch Wilderness is located due west of Jacob Lake, just off the Kaibab Plateau. It is out of the big forest and empties into Kanab Creek. A nice hike would be to go down Snake Gulch, down Kanab Creek and out Jumpup and then along the road back to the car. I was glad to see only one car at the trailhead even though permits aren't necessary here. At one time there was a jeep road all the way to the Kanab junction and beyond, but now it is mostly overgrown with brush in the upper canyon. Some find it easier to walk in the dry gravel bed. Even with the daily monsoons there was not a drop of water in the bed.

The trail is very gradual all the way to Kanab Creek, there are no downclimbs of any kind. About three miles in Pictographs start to appear on the north wall. there are some really good ones. There are springs at Wildband, Willow, Rock, and Slide Canyon. I also found water at the Kanab Creek junction. There was plenty of water but it was very hot. The monsoons didn't reach  west of the Kaibab Plateau, and shade was rare. Still it was a peaceful and plentiful wilderness. Swapp Trail 50 comes in from the north between Willow and Rock Spring. It is an old cattle trail and is two miles to the road. I camped at the junction of Snake and Slide on a hill with a good view down canyon. Two hikers appeared from below and I went to visit them. They showed me the tank at the bottom of Slide. They had originally planed to do the Paria but high water and monsoons had forced them to change their plans. The night was so hot, I hardly used the sleeping bag.

At first light I hiked down to the Kanab Creek confluence to check it out and verify the water. It was hard to find in all the tamarisks but I found a big pool that tasted good although it was a little stagnant. For someone heading up or down Kanab Creek this would be an important water source. There is an old cabin and related cowboy stuff complete with a plow, fences, walls and corrals.

Back to Slide Canyon I met up with Curt and Rick and we visited for a time  below Slide Spring.  The spring is a big waterfall with a couple of pipes stuck in it for the tanks below, but none of the water reaches the bed! It goes back under immediately! Here there are two possibilities. One is to climb out above the spring like I did or continue up Slide Canyon like Rick and Curt did. Time wise they are about the same and both get you back to the road where the long walk awaits unless you have a shuttle arranged like we didn't. Two miles from the car my feet were hurting and I was almost out of water. I heard a truck, and it was Rick and Curt!


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