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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Fun at Maple Canyon

Maple Canyon is another place that's been on my radar for a while.  We got out there this past weekend and had a blast.  I sometimes wonder why it takes me so long to go to some of these places!  Maple Canyon is no exception- especially since I went to school at Snow College for a semester or two.  I'm almost ashamed to admit that I never made it to Maple Canyon when I was at Snow.  What's the draw?  Rock climbing, hiking, an arch, a cave, and the closest slot canyon to Salt Lake City.  If you're into camping, there's both a pay campground ($8/night) or primitive (free) camping.  Finally, if you visit in the fall, the leaves are changing colors and it makes a fantastic place even more beautiful. 
After spending the night at a primitive campsite, we woke up with the sun and after a delicious breakfast, headed out to find the Box Canyon.   The Box Canyon of Maple Canyon is a small slot canyon located about halfway between the mouth of the canyon and the campground on the north side of the canyon.  It's unmarked, but not hard to find. 
The unique thing is that it's a slot canyon in conglomerate instead of sandstone or limestone.  It's a very unique experience.  There's a few handlines and other scrambles to get up, but it's generally not very difficult.  Most of the canyon is about 20 feet wide, but it gets down to about 6 feet wide in the upper end. 
All told, it's not more than a half mile long, so it's pretty short as far as slot canyons go, but at the same time a slot is a slot and it's hard to go wrong with slot canyons. 
We climbed up to this small waterfall then turned around.  There is a rope on the right side for the more adventurous, but since we couldn't get the kids up, I climbed part way up before climbing back down. 

We then went hiking up the Middle Fork Trail to find the arch.  The leaves were really colorful along the trail.  It's about a 3/4 mile hike from the trailhead to the arch, the last 150 feet being very steep. 
The arch was pretty cool, with the large rocks and boulders of the conglomerate cemented together a pretty amazing site.  It's easier for me to visualize a sandstone arch, but the conglomerate arch seemed so fragile and apt to tumble even though the rock is very solid. 
 After seeing the arch, we wandered back down for lunch and to let the kids run around for a while. 
After lunch and the break, we took another hike, this one up the Right Fork Trail.   We went to the Pipedream Climbing area to take a look at the cave. 
 The cave is actually a grotto because it isn't deep enough to get completely dark, but it's pretty neat to see.  There's a 15 foot climb at the entrance to get inside. 
Outside, we watched several climbers climbing on the cliffs.  After finishing a route, this climber had a free-hanging belay down to the ground. 
More fall leaves.  It was a great time to visit Maple Canyon!

*We also saw several wild raspberry plants and thimbleberry plants while we were hiking.  Earlier in the year would be a good time to visit if you're interested in picking wild berries.

Nearest City: Freedom, UT
Location: N° W°
Time Needed: Lots!
Difficulty: Varies
Kid Friendly: Yes
Additional Info:  There is a $3 day use fee.


  1. This looks so cool. I definitely want to go!

  2. Awesome. That stuff must be tougher than it looks if people are climbing on it!