OverviewNot to be confused with Canaan Mountain, which is located near Zion National Park, Canaan Peak is located between Bryce Canyon National Park and the town of Escalante Utah. Canaan Peak is quite visible on the eastern skyline when you are at Bryce Canyon looking east as you can see in the above picture.
Canaan Peak has a seldom visited summit but has attraction to those who are interested in peaks that have prominence. This peak comes in at #93 on the top 100 Utah list with 1880 feet of prominence. Originally this peak was called
Kaiparowits Peak due to its proximity to the Kaiparowits Plateau but the name was changed to Canaan Peak as it was originally called by a member of the Powell expedition, A.H. Thompson. When the name was changed is unknown by me although the name Kaiparowits Peak was shown on a 1884 map of Utah. The meaning of Kaiparowits itself comes from an indian origin and according to John Van Cotts book on Utah place names (p.211), it has three meanings depending on who is doing the interpretation.
From the summit of Canaan Peak, you get great views of the Grand Staircase country, with views to the Henry Mountain range, 50 mile plateau, Navajo Mountain and the Kaibab Plateau. Powell Point is visible to the northwest and Mollies Nipple almost directly south.
If visiting Canaan Peak, I recommend taking the time to stop at the Grand Staircase National Monument visitor center in the town of Escalante for information, maps and exhibits. There is so much to do in this area that
going there just to visit Canaan Peak would be depriving yourself of a great
Getting ThereFrom Bryce National Park, go east on highway 12 toward the town of Escalante, passing through the small towns of Tropic, Cannonville and Henrieville. Near milepost 45, watch for a turn off for South Hollow and Canaan Peak (signed). Turn south onto a dirt road that will take you up into the north side of the mountain area and drive about 5 miles to a small turn off which enters a meadow area. A sign for Canaan Peak was present but it was in poor condition.
turn right and drive a 150 feet and you'll see a sign for a trailhead. However, if you can continue up the road another quarter mile (in poor shape so you could walk it), you'll come to another sign that indicates the Canaan Mtn Loop trail, which is close to a large watering trough for cattle. If you were able to drive to this point, park away from the trough.
I parked at GPS (lat/long nad 27) 37.62735 111.80105 Elev 8530
Route and mapFrom the cattle trough area (see map), follow the road you came in on as it starts to head a bit downhill. The road will slowly change into a trail and head uphill. Stay on the main track until you come to a saddle and turn to the left as the trail heads uphill from the saddle. Follow this until you reach another saddle where the trail begins to drop downhill. At this point you have a choice, continue on the trail as it wraps its way around the southern portion of Canaan Peak or simply head uphill cross country and work your way to the summit that way. We chose to go cross country and using a GPS waypoint for the summit location, had a direct and shorter effort than staying on the trail after it dropped down from the saddle. I can only assume that you would leave that trail at some point to work your way up to the summit from the southeast side but a study of a topographical map would be recommended.
From the parking spot to the summit and back via the modified cross country route: 3 miles Elevation gain: 800 feet.
Waypoints: Cattle trough parking area 37.62735 111.80105 8530
Turn left at first saddle 37.6222 111.80470 8850
Left trail to XC uphill 37.6200 111.80545 8830
Summit 37.6090 111.8003 9293
All GPS data in lat/long nad 27
Helpful resources: Escalante Grandstaircase visitor center. The ranger
and her husband had just been up to Canaan Peak.
Michael Kelsey's book He has info on page 22-23
TRAIL HEAD PICS
Red TapeLocated within the Dixie national forest, Escalante District. There is a forest service office in Escalante, for more on the Escalante district,
Dixie National Forest
1789 North Wedgewood Lane
Cedar City, UT 84720
CampingThere are places that you could do dispersed camping near the trailhead but
there are plenty of other camping opportunities near Escalante, Bryce Canyon,
and Kodachrome State Park. As time permits, I will add links to these
camping areas but suffice it to say, a book such as Camping Utah is a worthwhile purchase.