My backpacking trip that I went on with a friend from May 10, 2009 to May 15, 2009.
We decided to hike Sundance Trail
, which is a very strenuous hike with a 1200 ft. descent into, and out of, Dark Canyon. Yet it is also one of the most spectacular hikes, affording far-ranging vistas en route to the Grand Canyon-like gorge of Dark Canyon.
One of the best parts about this trail is that it is on BLM land, and no back country permit was required. All you have to do is show up, sign the register, and take off. There was only one other car when we arrived, but about 10 when we left (including a large van of high school kids on a field trip). The bad part was that the trail head was a little hard to find since the roads were not well marked, and if we didn't have the two maps that we did, we may not have found it (don't rely on the national geographic maps to get you there), and we got high centered a few times in our non 4-wheel drive Hundai
A year-round stream flows in the lower portion of Dark Canyon, which offered numerous water falls with swimming holes below them, and cliffs in which to jump into them from (check the depth first before you dive in though
). The water is almost completely spring fed, seeping through the sandstone walls of the canyon into the stream, and is some of the cleanest water that I have ever seen. The sand is red in color, but the majority of it (70 to 80 percent) is live soil called Cryptobiotic Soil that can take more than 50 years to grow, so it made things difficult at times when we were hiking.
The trip was amazing, and I will definitely be returning some time in the near future to explore another portion of Utah!