Canyonlands National Park

“Candylands Sampler” and “Candyland-8”

Forrest McCarthy put together a great week-long trip he calls the “Candyland-8”, a trip suitable for those who don’t want any whitewater. Three couples in three Dory sized boats made the trip during late October. We started with a great walk down Indian Creek (yes, that Indian Creek of climbing fame) to the Meander Canyon of the Colorado. Lots of wildlife sign and even a desert bighorn sighting made the canyon walk interesting as did the archaelogical sites en route. We floated the Colrado to Spanish Bottom, below the confluence with the Green River, camped, then climbed up to the Doll House and hiked through the Maze District, descending down to the Green River and paddling its Stillwater Canyon back to Spanish Bottom. We then hiked up the Red Lake Canyon Trail to Elephant Hill and drove back to Indian Creek to get our car. Peggy and I paddled our big boat using one paddle each; Tom and Madeline and Forrest and Amy squeezed everything into their Dories and paddled with one paddle. Maybe Forrest can comment on that.

“Candylands Sampler” is the same trip up to the second visit to Spanish Bottom, where instead of climbing out, paddle Cataract Canyon, then climb out below Imperial Canyon (above Rapid 28) and walk back to Squaw Flat Campground via Imperial Valley, south entrance of Canyonlands Park, Chesler Park, and the Needles. The Canyon was running at 6600 cfs and was good fun. I ran 27 rapids in 14 miles and 3.5 hours of river time, mostly all down the middle, including the Big Three Drops and the Mile Long Rapids. Everything is scoutable and portageable and well worthg doing. It’s a bit like Grand Canyon (GC) Lite, with big wave trains and pool drop architecture. Catarcat Canyon is much more open and sunny, however, and easier to get to a shore that is not sheer walls. There are more mid-river rocks than the GC, so I was happy to have a helmet. By the way, both GC and Cataract permits require spare paddles and that’s where the 5-piece Alapcak paddle rally shines. It’s light and compact and makes a great backup. For big water itself, however, I like a Werner paddle.


Fancy carrying a bike up Red Lake? :wink:

“…carrying up Red Lake?”

Yes, just make sure you do it with someone else: one person carry only wheels, the other person only frames. Then you are not in “posession of a mountain bike”.

Crossing at Spanish Bottom with bikes in boats is easy and short.

Great loop: Moab - Potash - White Rim – Queen Anne’s Bottom – down Golden Stairs – Maze District – up Red Lake – jeep trail out to Elephant Hill – Lockhart Basin Road back toward Moab.


End of March next year!!

The Candyland 8 route that Roman describes sounds intriguing. The one part of the route I’m not clear on is the part from the Maze down to Stillwater Canyon. I understand, there aren’t many options and I’m wondering what the best options is. Thanks.