Horse & Pack Stock

Horse & Pack Stock

The Monument offers many opportunities to experience the backcountry by horse but please note that designated horse & pack stock routes have not been established on the Monument.Saddle (Artist's Sketch)

The varied landforms present a variety of challenging terrain for all skill levels. These lands are rugged and primitive, appealing to those looking for adventure. The area's remoteness, limited travel corridors, and low visitation have helped preserve this type of opportunity. Help us maintain these values by planning your trip well, being prepared, and camping light.

In the early days of settlement, horses and pack stock were important for survival and making a living in this rugged, arid, and immense landscape. Very few residents had vehicles; horses were the only transportation. Running cattle was a common livelihood, whether for producing beef or dairy products.

Today, when people take horses and other stock into this rugged landscape, they have the advantage of modern equipment and stock trailers to get to trailheads.

The purpose of the journey is typically to enjoy the scenery and the feeling of freedom that riding offers.

Before you go

Before you begin to explore this region, take time to plan and be prepared with the proper equipment, maps, knowledge, and a backcountry permit. Weed-free feed is required. Technology can make backcountry travel more comfortable, but be aware that cell phones, radios, and GPS units do not work in many areas. Rescues can take several days and are expensive. Most small towns lack veterinary services.

Grand Staircase Routes

Route: Deer Springs Point

7.5' Maps: Deer Springs Point

Distance: About 4 miles one way

Description: You can access this route from the Skutumpah Road at the jeep trail, which goes to Deer Springs Point, where you can enjoy views of No Mans Mesa and Kitchen Canyon

Water: No water is available, so bring your own

Important Info: Access into the area is by a gravel/dirt road suitable for trucks, trailers, and sedans in dry weather only


Route: No Mans Mesa Loop

7.5' Maps: Deer Range Point, Eight Mile Pass

Distance: About 15 miles one way

Description: Access this loop from the Kitchen Canyon Road #580, which starts at MM37 on Highway 89. Travel 9 miles to the intersection of the road to Nipple Lake. Starting at the intersection, follow the well maintained road for about 4 miles to the Swag. Heading northwest the Swag is a wide-open sagebrush flat with views of No Mans Mesa, a large white sandstone butte. Leaving the Swag, the route drops into Park Wash, a deep canyon offering views of sandstone cliffs and canyon walls

Water: No water is available, so bring your own

Important Info: Be careful when traversing the wash, as quicksand can develop after heavy rains


Route: Mollie’s Nipple

7.5' Maps: Calico Peak

Distance: About 6 miles one way

Description: Access this route via Kitchen Canyon Road. Riders can begin at the intersection of the road to Nipple Lake. A mile onto the road, a jeep trail heads east toward Mollie’s Nipple and continues for approximately 5 miles onto its back side. This route gives excellent views of the various rock formations that cap the Vermilion Cliffs portion of the Grand Staircase.

Water: No is water available, so bring your own.

Important Info: Nipple Lake is on private property.


Route: Bull Rush Hollow

7.5' Maps: Skutumpah, Deer Springs Point, Bull Rush Hollow, Slick Rock Bench
Distance: About 6 miles round trip

Description: Access this road from the Skutumpah Road, approximately 17 miles east of the junction with Johnson Canyon. From the Skutumpah Road, you can go up Bull Rush Hollow and see dramatic views of the pink cliff formation of Bryce Canyon. The route continues on to the Dixie National Forest where riders can connect with the Under the Rim trail

Water: Water in the area is scarce for livestock, so be prepared

Important Info: None


Route: Round Valley Draw to Rush Beds

7.5' Maps: Slick Rock Bench, Butler Valley
Distance: About 7 miles one way
Description: This route consists of a four-wheel-drive road from Round Valley Draw through a piñon-juniper woodland to Rush Beds, where it becomes less traveled. The route terminates on the cliff line above Cottonwood Creek. The terrain is a colorful combination of slickrock and varied vegetation

Water: Be prepared to carry water for livestock — none will be available

Important Info: None

 

Escalante Canyons Routes

Route: The Lower Gulch

7.5' Maps: King Bench

Distance: About 5.5 miles one way

Description: This route begins along the Burr Trail. It is a picturesque canyon ride that follows the streambed for approximately 5.5 miles downstream before it becomes impassable to horses. In several areas, the route narrows and you may encounter boggy conditions and quicksand

Water: Water is usually reliable in the upper end of the canyon but dries up in the lower end during the summer months

Important Info: Deerflies are a problem in late May, June, and July. Flash floods are possible.


Route: Deer Creek

7.5' Maps: King Bench

Distance: About 7 miles one way

Description: This route begins near the Deer Creek campground off the Burr Trail road. It traverses slickrock and deep sand, and some areas are quite steep. You can combine The Gulch and Deer Creek to make a longer ride

Water: Once you leave Deer Creek, there is no water, even in the Gulch, unless you ride early in the year (before late June)

Important Info: This ride is only for experienced riders and horses in good trail shape