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668 Bills Canyon 2012-06-30

cottonwoods along the creek of the canyon

Years ago, while visiting Moab, I walked the Bills Canyon Trail. I remembered it as being an easy trail with oddly enough, poison ivy growing along the creek. Amy had never hiked the trail, but I was sure she would like it. By the way the canyon was actually named as a historical ethnic slur, we prefer to just call it, Bills Canyon.

It was cool as we left the trailhead on the morning of the hike. Taking light packs we entered the Canyon. The trail took it's position in the shade of the cottonwoods alongside the creek. The canyon was an easy grade. The sandstone bluffs soared high overhead as we weaved along the creek.

There were several creek crossings and small rises, but the trail mostly was an easy grade. The second side canyon on the right led to the Morning Glory Bridge. We were looking for the turn to the side canyon, but there really was not one. The most prominent trail led to the Bridge. The real question would be, where is the junction and trail that continues up Bills Canyon?

hikers in the canyon

Heading up the side canyon we saw poison ivy. The plant does not look like it does in the southeast. Instead of growing on a vine, it seemed to grow on a stalk. The rashes brought on from contacting the vine are potent whether it they grow on a vine or on a stem. In other words, make sure you can identify the cluster of three leaves and then do not touch it whether it grows on a vine or a stem.

rappelling from the canyon wall

At the end of the side canyon was the Morning Glory Bridge. The Bridge spans the canyon near one of the side walls. When we arrived at the head of the canyon, to our surprise, Meg (we met her after her descent), was rappelling from the wall behind the bridge. It was spectacular setting. She landed next to the spring which sprang from some rocks just a few feet further up the canyon.

Bills Canyon Trailhead is located just a few miles from Moab and is very accessible. The trail mostly follows an easy grade with the shade of the cottonwoods and the moisture from the creek combine to keep you much cooler than if you were exposed to the sun. The total distance to the Bridge and back is about 4 miles. There are numerous creek crossing, but the creek is not very deep. Even if you get your feet wet, they dry in just minutes!

We really liked the trail and thought it was a great introduction to hiking in canyons. Oh, dogs were also allowed on the trail. They seemed to enjoy the creek.

Happy Bills Canyon trails


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