Zion – Still Searching for Shelf Canyon

Virgin, UT

A few days ago we mentioned that we were looking for a hike going up what is called Shelf Canyon on the east side of Zion NP .  After exploring a number of canyons in that area, Shelf Canyon continued to elude us.  Although this hike is fairly short and supposedly not tremendously exiting, we are determine to find it.  So after some more research, we headed back to the area today confident that we knew where it was.

A web site that claimed to have located the canyon posted a picture of the beginning of the hike showing the parking area just east of the Zion-Mt. Carmel Tunnel.  We found that spot and were confident we were headed into Shelf Canyon.

The sandy wash soon turned a bit rocky, but nothing we didn’t expect.

But this trail as many downed trees and bushes, something we did not expect.

At times we had to crawl through the bushes, lowering our confidence that this was Shelf Canyon.

Although we hiked through some interesting terrain, after a bit it was obvious we were again in  the wrong canyon.

So we turned around and headed back down  the wash, sliding down some large rocks we had just climbed up.

Crawling back under some of the trees provided some interesting moments.  Is the hiker below resting or did he catch his pack on the trees and fall down?  He’s probably just resting!

Returning to the highway, we scampered up the rocks to gain some altitude, looking for a good spot for lunch.  We found one on a flat rock pile overlooking the parking area.

Our lunch perch was on the red rocks at the top of the picture

On the ride back out of the park we stopped at the Visitor’s Center to ask a ranger about the location of this elusive canyon.  The ranger we spoke with knew the canyon and showed its location on a park map.  It turns out that it is the canyon we hiked on our very first attempt to find it, but we must not have gone far enough up the canyon.  Guess where we’re going tomorrow?

Pam has been following a blog written by Amanda and Tim, a young couple living full time in their Airstream travel trailer.  They had written that they were going to visit Zion and hoped to stay in one of the campgrounds inside the park.  So as we drove through the park, we kept an  eye out for an Airstream in case they were able to find an open site.  Amanda had mentioned in her blog that they might stay in the same park we are in if no site was available in Zion.  When we returned to our motorhome, we were surprised to see their Airstream just a few sites down from us.

Tim and Amanda in the Airstream on the left, we are the second motorhome on the right

Pam sent them an email and within minutes they were headed our way.  We invited them in and had a nice visit sharing experiences about life on the road.  Both of us are headed to Moab soon, so we may cross paths again there.  Check out their blog, Watson’s Wander.

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15 Responses to Zion – Still Searching for Shelf Canyon

  1. Amanda says:

    It was great to meet you both! We’re determined to get a spot at the national park campground tomorrow and we’ll let you know where we end up and maybe we can meet up again. If not, hopefully we’ll cross paths in Moab. Good luck on your Shelf Canyon search- sounds like the next attempt will be a sure thing 🙂

  2. Nan and John says:

    Looks to me like tomorrow is the big day! Enjoy!………………. and this time tomorrow…..MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!

  3. Sue says:

    Love the pictures of you guys scrambling under the bushes! You’re getting pretty risque showing us your naked feet! Keep those great pictures coming, we love them and your delightful sense of humor…Sue

  4. Marsha says:

    That picture of John on all fours climbing under the brush should have been your THE END photo…hehe

    Oh dear Pam. Hopefully after you slid down that boulder, you didn’t tear your shorts or scrape your knees. You look spent!

    John doesn’t rest! Must be the old limb trick…they jump out at people for no apparent reason. Have had it happen to us on many an occasion.

    I like the contrast…boots vs bare feet. I vote for the bare feet.

    What a nice way to meet new friends. I clicked on their link and am going to read a few of their posts. Who knows, maybe I will add them to our list and you and I will have another thing in common. I think we are becoming close to being sisters…lol

    Good luck with that next hike. I am starting to think the place really doesn’t exist.

  5. Leigh says:

    I love it when 2 blogs meet!

  6. libertatemamo says:

    GREAT that you’ve gotten to meet Watson’s Wonder. We’ve crossed paths w/ them a few times on the road. Great couple and lovely doggie too!
    Totally enjoying your Zion posts. You two are definitely getting “out there” on the hikes!
    Nina

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, we really enjoyed visiting with Amanda and Tim. We’re meeting again tomorrow. Finally met Phin today…so cute! He got to play in the river.

      Thanks for following.

      We are heading to Moab April 1 for at least two weeks probably three. Amanda said you were headed that way. When?

  7. Gay and Joe Taylor says:

    It is really neat when bloggers cross paths!

    By now you have no doubt made it to Shelf Canyon as I am way late commenting. Crawling through the bushes looks fun…just so long as no snakes we hiding there!

    • placestheygo says:

      Yes, it was such a coincidence to have Amanda and Tim across from us. They are so nice.

      We had just finished hiking the Shelf Canyon when I read your comment!! Great timing!

  8. I’d say your are the most determined hiker I have known. Persistence and Determination….by this time you may have found that elusive trail. If i were on your shoes, I would comment and say that trail better be good !

  9. LuAnn says:

    I absolutely love reading about your hiking adventures in Zion. Keep ’em coming! 🙂

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