This section of Grand Gulch is 11.6 miles long. You can access it via four routes; Kane Gulch, Todie Canyon, Sheiks Canyon, and Bullet Canyon. For the sake of this route page, the description will begin at the confluence of Kane Gulch and Grand Gulch. If coming down Kane Gulch
, it is 3.8 miles each was to the beginning of this route. Grand Gulch itself above the confluence is blocked by a dryfall, so it can’t be used as a rope-less access route.
As mentioned, there are four access routes for visiting this section of Grand Gulch. Kane Gulch is the most popular access route.
This area can be reached from the east from Blanding and along Highway 95, from the west and Hite along Highway 95, or from the south via Highway 261 and Mexican Hat, or Highway 47 north from Bluff. Make sure to have a good roadmap before heading into this area. The closest town with gas is Blanding, about 40 miles away from the upper trailheads.
Kane Gulch is located four miles south of the Highway 95/Highway 261 junction and is right near mile marker 29. Kane Gulch is also where the ranger station for the Grand Gulch Primitive area is, so just about everyone stops here for information. It is also necessary to stop here for overnight permits for the high season.
To drive to the head of Todie Canyon, drive south from the Kane Gulch Ranger station to just north (before) of mile marker 25. Turn west (right) on a gravel road (labeled CR #2361) and follow it for 1.1 miles.
To reach Sheiks Canyon, drive south along Highway 261 from the Kane Gulch Ranger station to just north of mile marker 25. Turn west (right) here on a gravel road (labeled CR #250) and follow it to a junction, which is reached after 3.1 miles from the highway. Turn right, staying on CR #250 and follow the gravel road to its end. The end of the road is 4.9 miles from the highway.
From the Kane Gulch Ranger Station, drive south along Highway 261 to just south of mile marker 22. Turn west (right) and drive to the trailhead which is reached after 1.1 miles.
Split Level Ruin
This route begins at Junction Ruin. Junction is one of the largest ruins in the canyon, and there are many potsherds and other artifacts lying about. After enjoying the ruin, continue down Grand Gulch, seeing Stimper Arch along the way. Turkey Pen Ruin, one of the more interesting ruins in Grand Gulch, is 0.7 miles below Junction Ruin. The ruin has the remains of an ancient pen used to keep turkeys, thus the name.
Continue down Grand Gulch for another 2.5 miles. Todie Canyon (which is also a rugged access route to the rim) comes in from the left. If you hike a ways up Todie Canyon you will find a small stream over the slickrock. There are some nice campsites down canyon from the small stream. The water taste rather “swampy”, but this is a reliable water source. Observe the ruins high on the wall above the small stream. Todie Canyon is a good place to camp if you began the journey at the Kane Gulch Ranger Station, since it is seven miles from the trailhead.
From Todie Canyon, continue down Grand Gulch. There are many ruins along the way. Split Level Ruin is the most impressive of the ruins in this section, and is among the best ruins anywhere in Grand Gulch. This one has two levels, and a well preserved kiva (ancient ceremonial site).
Split Level Ruin
There will be at least 11 ruins along the way to Sheiks Canyon, and you might find more if you look for them. Sheiks Canyon comes in from the left 7.0 miles below Todie Canyon. There are some nice pictographs up Sheiks Canyon, and Sheiks Canyon is also a rugged access route to the rim. After visiting Sheiks Canyon, continue down Grand Gulch. Bullet Canyon is reached after 1.4 miles from Sheiks Canyon, and there is usually some water here.
This route description ends here, but you can either return the same way up Kane Gulch, return via Todie or Sheiks Canyon, or exit via Bullet Canyon, or continue down Grand Gulch. There are many possibilities. See the main page on Grand Gulch
for more ideas and details. One suggestion is to hike down Kane Gulch, Grand Gulch, and exit Bullet Canyon. This route is 22.8 miles plus side trips, and is a good three day trip requiring a 8.3 mile car shuttle (or bike ride).
A good pair of boots and a camera is required.