Colorado: Moab Daily & Lower Salt Wash/ Arches NP

Heading to Arches? Don’t forget the packraft!

Connected the Moab Daily ( ) with a beautiful hike up a seldom visited canyon in Arches National Park last weekend (20 Apr 2014). The Salt Wash confluence with the Colorado river is just above the standard take-out on the Moab Daily and travels ~7 miles through the deepest canyon in Arches to the Delicate Arch trailhead ( ). Hiking up canyon is a geologic wonder as the canyon rises through layers of Chinle, Wingate, and Kayenta sandstone cliffs. Lower Salt Wash isn’t a wash, it’s a deep tight canyon with many twists and turns, a perennial steam, and an abundance of wildlife. Came across diving Peregrin falcons, mountain lion/ big horn/ deer tracks, hand-sized bull frogs, schools of minnows, and even a 3’ river otter which I first mistook for a wild black dog running and diving through the stream and pools.

When to go? Spring/ Fall
What to bring? 2L of water, the two springs I found were too salty to drink. River shoes; there’s no trail in the canyon, avoid the crypto by rock hopping in the stream bed.
Shuttle? Several outfitters in town run raft trips starting at Hittle Bottom and will take you up. Otherwise convince the family to drop you before hiking Negro Bill or Fisher Towers.
Warning! Hug the left/ west side of the wash as you exit the canyon to avoid the hellish tamarisk bushwhacking.
Do it again? Hell yes! Nice camping river right below Onion Creek rapid with reservations, so an overnighter starting at Dewey Bridge would be good.
Permits? Nada for a day trip.

Putin Hittle Bottom, 38.76011616, -109.32564318
Takeout Salt Wash, 38.67364, -109.49777
Bike stash at Delicate Arch TH, 38.733463, -109.524107
3hrs paddle @ 6k cfs, class I-III, 13 miles
4hr hike, 7.5 miles

Nice pics. Pretty cool where packrafts, creativity and imagination can lead.

Thanks! I think it worthwhile to list the small/ single day trips too.

Lots of good options for adding on a hike and float up the Doloras then finishing in Arches.

I hadn’t thought of this. What a good idea. I am still without a packraft though. I can’t decide which to buy.
But after I get one I think I will try hiking down lower salt wash to the river then on to the bridge. Thanks for posting this.