Local Hikes

Hiking the Serene Skunk Canyon

Skunk Canyon is a relatively short hike, but is one of the best the area has to offer. While it may prove difficult to reach by vehicle, as it is on the east side of Short Creek with no clear road, it can be reached on foot with relative ease.

To reach the hike, follow Utah Avenue in Hildale until it makes a bend and becomes Canyon Street. There is a dirt road to the right which leads to the creek. Take that road and turn left. There is an access point into the creek bed with prime parking.

After crossing the creek, the trail leads up to a road alongside a canal that heads north. Walk along this trail until you reach a creek bed on the right. There is an old fence without a gate that serves as a trailhead. Follow the creek bed until you see an ATV trail go up the right side of the bank. While you can follow the creek bed all the way up, I found the ATV trail more challenging and enjoyable.

The trail meanders up and across the creek several times. As you proceed, the canyon begins to narrow, and there is much foliage along the creek to give it a secluded feel. It is as if one lands in the middle of a private wilderness, and the canyon is still, seemingly just for you.

The hike terminates beneath an impressive amphitheater feature pictured above. If you feel inclined, scramble up the rocks; there are many large boulders that are fun to climb on. A couple promising routes along the way look as though they lead to the top of the canyon, but explore these routes with caution.

Keep an eye out for wildlife; on one excursion I spotted a herd of Desert Bighorn Sheep up on the cliff. After watching me for a moment, they bolted. There is a small spring that feeds a stream nearly year round, and serves as a secluded spot for wildlife, both benign and dangerous, and huge cottonwood trees offer shade during the summer months.

The trek back offers impressive views of Canaan Mountain. The trail is a unique vantage point that looks directly up Maxwell and Water Canyons. It never ceases to amaze me how much the landscape has to offer. The sheer cliffs always have some new unappreciated feature.

One final note: most of the canyon itself is on BLM property. I assume much of the property on the way in is private. While there are no signs indicating that it is private property, and people frequently travel through, be respectful of the area. Leave only footprints, and take only pictures.

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