Obstacle along Professor Creek
This is a wet hike, so be sure to stop and pack everything in dry bags. There is much wading. There is one bolted rap and several natural water-slides you must slide down and into pools. Prepare to get completely soaked! The final obstacle, and the crux of the trip is a 30 foot rap through through the waterfall. You will get soaked, and setting up the rap is very tricky. Make sure you learn natural anchors, and please don't leave and slings or bolts that are visible from below.
Bolted anchor (not needed)
Drive along State Highway 128 north from Moab or south from Cisco to the Professor Creek Road between mile markers 18 and 19. The gravel road branches south from the highway and is marked "Ranch Road-Dead End". Drive the Professor Creek Road to its end and park. The gravel road is about two miles long and is good for all vehicles.
Plan on getting soaked if completing the route
Crossing the desert in the heat of the day is not pleasant in warm weather. The best plan of action is to cross the desert and climb the mesa in the cool of the morning and then descend the refreshingly wet Professor Creek in the heat of the afternoon.
Getting to the head of Professor Creek requires route finding, and there are many more drainages to cross than show on the topo map. Much route finding is required even though you can't get too lost as you can see the objective in front of you the whole way. There are several routes to choose from and the description will be intentionally brief. You must have and know how to use a topo map to follow this route.
From the trailhead, follow Professor Creek. Eventually, you will have to get your feet wet. Carefully follow the map and continue up Professor Creek until you are south of the I+223 mark on the topo map. Climb up to the rim to the south.
Head towards Pont 5105T, using a map and compass. There is much route finding and many small drainages to cross.
From Point 5105T, head towards 5290T, once again crossing several minor drainages. It is possible to scramble down to Professor Creek not far north of 5290T.
Once at the creek, follow it downstream. Make sure to stop and pack everything in dry bags. There are some reeds and brush at first until the drainage narrows. There is much wading. Eventually, you will reach a bolted rap off a chockstone. If the bolt is missing, a natural anchor can be set up.
Not far below the bolted rap are several natural water-slides you must slide down and into pools. Prepare to get completely soaked!
Make sure to visit Hell Roaring Canyon along the way, which contains a spectacular narrow gorge. Passage is blocked by a huge chockstone, but a really good climber can climb up behind the boulder (assuming the hole behind it doesn't get plugged by flashflood debris) and to the rim. After visiting Hell Roaring, return to Professor Creek and follow it downstream.
The final obstacle and the crux of the trip is a 30 foot rap through the waterfall. You will get soaked, and setting up the rap is very tricky. Make sure you learn natural anchors, and please don't leave and slings or bolts that are visible from below. The waterfall is much photographed from below, and a bunch of slings and bolts will mess up the scene for some ones photograph of the falls.
The gorge below the waterfall is impressive. From the bottom of the falls, simply follow the creek down to the trailhead. Expect to spend half a day to all day on the route.
Make sure to take dry bags to keep gear dry
If you plan on taking the alternate technical descent of Professor Creek, take a climbing harness, rack, several various lengths of slings, a 100 foot rope, and dry bags.