This is the story of a trip through the mysterious Crescent Creek Narrows, (also known as Conundrum Canyon or the Lecleed Narrows) in the Henry Mountains and Robbers Roost areas of Utah. Trip participants were my wife Kimberly, my nine year old son Kessler and my seven year old daughter Shaylee.
A certain mystique surrounds the Henry Mountains and Robbers Roost area, so it’s always an interesting place to visit. The Henry Mountains were the last range in the United States to be “discovered” (1869) by John Wesley Powell and didn’t appear on any maps until 1872. The mountains are surrounded by legends of lost gold mines, notorious outlaws and hard luck. The Crecent Creek area itself is rich in gold mining history (dating to the 1890’s) and it sounded like an interesting place to visit.
It was an exciting trip and the photos will do much of the telling of the story.
Kessler rappelling through the waterfall in the Crescent Creek Narrows.
June 4 2011, The Lecleed Narrows
I was bummed that I couldn’t find anyone to do some technical canyons or river running over Memorial Day weekend, so I had hoped to remedy the situation the weekend after.
This time, Kim would come along so we could do something technical. The Crescent Creek Narrows was chosen since I hadn’t been there yet, it should be a technically easy canyon for the kids and since the weather was supposed to be hot. Since the Crescent Creek Narrows are in the Henry Mountains, we could also climb a peak as well.
Unfortunately, I had wanted to leave Thursday night, but a meeting at work that lasted until early evening Friday out an end to those plans. We did not get to camp until very late Friday.
While driving to the trailhead, another mishap occurred. We got a flat tire. The road was soft and it took a while to change the tire. By the time the tire was changed, it was already 11 AM! Since we were almost at the trailhead, we decided to hike the canyon anyway.
The Henry Mountains rise straight out of the desert. Mount Ellen is in the center of the photo and Bull Mountain is to the right. The day when this photo was taken was around 100F degrees (28C) at the location from where the photo was taken, so this is a land of contrast.
One of the old and historic Gold Miner's Cabins near Crescent Creek.
We walked to the canyon and headed down. The wading started right away and there was some minor bushwhacking as well. The creek was not clear and full of rocks, so the walking was more challenging than expected.
Shaylee and Kessler starting into the Crescent Creek Narrows. The canyon would get more challenging as we followed the creek downstream.
The canyon got more and more interesting as we headed down and there was an old and mostly collapsed bridge along the way.
The first of the old historic gold mining bridges over the Crescent Creek Narrows.
After passing through several narrows and slots (with knee deep wading), we found ourselves at the rappel in the canyon. Interestingly, this one is man-made and over an old log dam that has long silted in. It now forms a nice waterfall. I dug up the old anchor and re-rigged a new one.
Kessler, Shaylee and Kim in the Crescent Creek Narrows.
Looking down the waterfall in the Crescent Creek Narrows.
Kessler starting the wet rappel in the Lecleed Narrows. Interestingly, this one is man-made and over an old log dam (1890's?) that has long silted in. It now forms a nice waterfall.
Kessler was a little intimidated looking down the waterfall, but he felt better after Kim rappelled down. I lowered both kids through the water (Shaylee didn’t like the cold water) and they both mostly enjoyed it.
Kim, Shaylee and Kessler in the Crescent Creek Narrows. To get through you must rappel over the old dam in the background.
After completing the waterfall rappel, we found a dry ledge to eat lunch at. After lunch we continued down canyon, it was more challenging than expected with several waist deep pools and one chest deep pools and several downclimbs down little waterfalls. Kim lost her shoe in one of the swirling pools and we spent some time looking for it. While we were looking for it, Kessler found it down canyon and shouted up to us that he had found it. The kids made it through OK and there were several very nice slot sections.
Boulder obstacle in the Crescent Creek Narrows.
Helping each other through the Crescent Creek Narrows.
Wading through the slot of the Crescent Creek Narrows.
Kim, Kessler and Shaylee deep in the Crescent Creek Narrows.
Wading through the Lecleed Narrows.
Deep in the Crescent Creek Narrows.
There were more gold mining relics including mostly collapsed bridges spanning the gorge and at one location there were huge spikes hammered into the cliff face.
What remains of a very old bridge over the Crescent Creek Narrows. It was built in the 1890's during the minor gold rush of Eagle City.
Wading through a slot section in the Crescent Creek Narrows.
The Crescent Creek Narrows start to open up in this photo.
One of the deep slots in the Crescent Creek Narrows.
These metal spikes in the Crescent Creek Narrows were hammered into the cliff face during the gold mining era of the 1890's.
More slots and wading followed and when the canyon opened up there was some minor bushwhacking once we got out of the nice slots and we looked for a way out and up to the rim. We found a steep scramble and climbed up to the rim and back to the road where the others waited while I walked back to get the car.
This is the view from the rim after exiting the Crescent Creek Narrows. Mount Ellen is in the background.
I had really hoped to climb The Horn on this trip, but the flat tire put an end to those plans since we were driving with a spare tire. The nearest place to get the tire fixed was in Green River which was about 80 miles away. We headed straight for Green River after completing the Crescent Creek Narrows. It was a nice trip even though we only got to see the narrows.
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