Owl Creek Canyon to Nevills Arch

Page Type
Canyon
Location:
Utah, United States, North America
Season:
Spring, Fall
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Owl Creek Canyon to Nevills Arch
Created On: Apr 29, 2017
Last Edited On: Apr 30, 2017

Overview

Owl Creek Canyon sits in southeastern Utah’s Cedar Mesa Plateau. The magnificent Nevills Arch is the most prominent feature of the canyon. Owl Creek Canyon is usually hiked as a 2 day loop backpacking trip in combination with the nearby Fish Creek Canyon. An 11 mile day hike to Nevills Arch and back is also popular.

Getting There

From the junction of Routes 95 and 261 in southeastern Utah, follow Route 261 five miles south to County Road 253 (between mile markers 27 and 28). Drive 5.2 miles on 253 to its end at the trailhead. Route 253 is unpaved. When I was in the area, I found it well graded and passable by most/any car. It is said to become impassable when wet.




Route Description

Trailhead Elevation: 6180 ft
Elevation at Nevills Arch viewpoint: 4950 ft
Roundtrip Hiking Distance: 11.2 miles






At the trailhead, head east until you reach a dry wash. Turn right and follow the wash a few hundred feet south to reach the edge of the canyon.

Start of the descent into the canyonEdge of canyon


Pay close attention to cairns that take you down slickrock and boulder covered slopes.

Down into the canyon
Descending into Owl Creek Canyon


Under an alcove on the right side, you will find some ruins.

Ruin in Owl Creek CanyonNative American ruin


Follow the cairns onto a slickrock pathway on the right side, down a steep slickrock slope to reach the bottom of the canyon.

Ledge walkway on the descent into the canyonSlickrock walkway
Floor of the canyonFloor of the canyon


You will find yourself at the junction of two branches of the canyon. Follow the bottom of the canyon beyond another junction. For the return trip, make sure you follow the correct branch (both times on right).

Owl Creek Canyon
Owl Creek Canyon
Owl Creek Canyon
Owl Creek Canyon


After 2.5 miles you will reach a big slickrock pour-off.

The big slickrock pour-offPour-off


Turn left and follow a slickrock pathway north into a side canyon far above the bottom of the canyon.

Slickrock pathway in the side canyonSlickrock pathway into side canyon


Again pay attention to cairns to find the spot where you will make a switch back going down a boulder filled slope to reach the bottom of the side canyon.

Descending into the side canyonSwitchback
Floor of the side canyonSide canyon floor
Floor of the side canyonSide canyon floor
Floor of the side canyonSide canyon floor


A mile after the big pour-off, you will find yourself at the bottom of the main canyon again where you will reach another pour-off with a water pool below it.

Pool and second Pour-offPool and second pour-off
Pool and second Pour-offPool and second pour-off


Follow the cairns again on the left side on another boulder covered slope for some time a few tens of feet above the bottom of the canyon.

Path on the wall of the canyon below the second pour-offAbove the canyon floor


The path will eventually bring you down to the bottom of the canyon. Remember this spot for the return trip. The going will now be easy at the bottom of the wide canyon.

Owl Creek Canyon
Owl Creek Canyon
Owl Creek Canyon
Owl Creek Canyon
Owl Creek Canyon
Owl Creek Canyon
Owl Creek Canyon
Owl Creek Canyon
Owl Creek Canyon
Owl Creek Canyon


Nevills Arch will then come to view.

Nevills ArchNevills Arch
Nevills ArchNevills Arch


Red Tape

You must pay at the self pay station at the trailhead. In 2017, the fee was $2.00 a day.






Owl Creek Canyon to Nevills Arch

Canyon
32 Images 2 Climber's Log Entries 0 Comments 0 Additions & Corrections

Geography

MyTopo Map Nearby Canyons Interactive Map Canyons in Utah

Parents

Cedar Mesa, UtahCanyons