Approximately 6 miles to the northwest of the famous Bears Ears Buttes sit another pair of rock formations known as the Woodenshoe Buttes. They separate Hideout Canyon to the Southwest and Woodenshoe Canyon to the northeast. The summits provide some of the best views of the region from Shiprock, New Mexico to the Henry Mountains in South central Utah. The Toe is the shorter of the buttes.
From Blanding, Utah, take US Highway 191 south and turn right on Utah Highway 95 and drive approximately 30 miles. Turn right onto Utah Highway 275 toward Natural Bridges. In 0.7 miles, turn right on Elk Mountain Road/FR0088. Drive 4.6 miles then continue on Forest Rd 092, which should get you to the saddle between the Bears Ears. Drive an additional 1.5 miles past the Bears Ears. Take a left onto FR0108 and drive straight for 6 miles.
From the gully directly east of the summit, follow any of the cattle/game trails up the hillside. Veer slightly left to avoid the cliff faces by staying on the north-facing aspect of whatever gully you work your way up.
Round-trip Distance: 1 mile
Elevation Gain: 676 feet
The US Forest Service manages this portion of Bears Ears National Monument. No permit is required to hike the Bears Ears though permits are often required for overnight trips into the surrounding canyons.
The Bears Ears are now part of Bears Ears National Monument, which was created on December 28, 2016 at the behest of Native American tribes to protect 1.35 million acres from further drilling, mining, fracking, and other extraction industries. Hiking, climbing, cattle grazing, firewood cutting, medicinal plant gathering are all still preserved as part of the cultural aspect of the area that deserves protection.
When to Climb
Year-round. Bring plenty of water in the summer and chances are you'll need snowshoes in the winter.
Check forecasts ahead of time and be aware of rain while driving on the dirt roads in the region as they are often impassable due to the mud and also flashfloods.
The closest camp site is at Comb Wash about 15 miles east of the Natural Bridges turnoff. More camping areas will likely specified as the management plan for the monument is developed.
There are hotels in Blanding, Bluff, and Mexican Hat for those less fond of camping.
US Forest Service - Bears Ears National Monument
Utah Dine Bikeyah - A Native American-led "501(c)3 nonprofit organization that works toward healing of people and the Earth by supporting indigenous communities in protecting their culturally significant, ancestral lands."
Bears Ears Inter-tribal Coalition - "A historic consortium of sovereign tribal nations united in the effort to conserve the Bears Ears cultural landscape."
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