It’s time to start thinking about some desert hikes, don’t you think? The area that Zion National Park calls the Southwest Desert offers some dandy fall hikes, particularly if you’re wanting to get away from the crowds that sometimes jam up Zion Canyon.
There are 6 backcountry campsites in the Coalpits Wash area, and a couple of ways to access them. The longest hike in – I think it’s about 8 1/2 miles – is to follow Chinle Wash. I’d like to try that option next time, but on this trip we opted for the shorter route up Coalpits Wash.
About two miles up the wash you meet Scoggins Wash coming in from the right. We decided to follow it, since we’d reserved Campsite 3, which is on the mesa top above Scoggins.
Actually, it’s way above Scoggins…up and over a steep hill.
I think Campsite #3 is the best of the six, although there’s no water anywhere near. The views, however, make up for that.
I of course had my usual post-hike reward of bourbon and cashews while enjoying the view. A horny toad kept me company.
It was an overcast day, with flat light, but the skies cleared overnight. Coffee and the sunrise the next morning couldn’t be better.
The hike out follows the mesa top, then down to Coalpits Wash. Campsite #5 is near both a perennial spring and the wash – which I think is usually flowing – but the burned trees make it not as picturesque as Campsite #3.
Water, though, really is a big plus.
The Park Service has updated info on the water conditions for each hike, which you can check when you pick up your permit. They also have a link on their website: http://www.nps.gov/zion/planyourvisit/watersourceconditions.htm
Ready to go?