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USA Bighorn Canyon

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Very colorful canyon of swirling rock striations reminiscent of those found at “The Wave” in North Coyote Buttes. No permit is required for this area though. The canyon floor is primarily a shallow slot with a few sections where the walls are higher and the narrows darker. There are a few boulder obstacles in the slot that must be negotiated but if you are unable to crawl over or under them, you can backtrack and climb out of the slot and drop back down further up canyon. The main draw of this canyon though is the multi-colored slick rock above the canyon floor.

Photography Tips

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Travel Information

From the intersection of Utah Highway 12 and Hole in the Rock Road, turn on Hole in the Rock and drive 4.5 miles (7.2 Km) to a short dirt road on the left. The last time I was there, a large blue container that resembled a train freight car (probably water) was parked just next to the road. Turn left and drive about 40 yards (36.6 meters) to the parking area large enough for 5 or 6 vehicles. There are no facilities there. Practice pack in, pack out. Take snacks and plenty of water. Temperatures frequently hover around 110° F (43.3° C) during the summer. Follow the trail roughly southeast parallel to or crossing Harris Wash multiple times until you get to the remnants of a barb wire fence. Along the way, use the shortcuts across the branches of the wash whenever possible to shave steps off your hike. When you get to the fence, turn left, following the wash about 100 yards (90 meters) where you’ll see a hanging cattle fence. Walk through the fence and turn left. Walk another 300 yards (274 meters). Turn left at the confluence of Bighorn Canyon West Fork and the main branch of Bighorn. Walk through deep sand for about 10 minutes to get to the short slot canyon of the West Fork. Both times I explored Bighorn was during Feb/Mar when the first couple hundred yards of Harris Wash was filled with snow. We therefore took an alternate route a couple of miles further down Hole in the Rock road (37.6702700, -111.4729624) and followed a cow path cross country down to Harris Wash. The wash was completely dry at that point. This route was a bit shorter but required a steeper hike down to the wash (and back up on the way back).
Crowd Factor Nearly no other people
Best Timing Winter
Sunrise & Sunset 07:17 - 19:16 | current local time: 22:32
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Thank you Gary Leverett for creating this photo spot.
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