Canaan Mountain and Parunuweap Canyon WSAs Trails

MODERATE 1 reviews

Canaan Mountain and Parunuweap Canyon WSAs Trails is a 10 mile trail located near Hurricane, UT and is rated as moderate. The trail is primarily used for hiking and is accessible from April until October.

10.0 miles

hiking

hiking
3 years ago

My wife and I hiked near this trail in March of 2012. We started in Water Canyon near Hilldale/Colorado City, traversed Canaan Mountain and descended around the Eagle Crags into Rockville, which was approximately 17 miles. We camped on Canaan near Sawmill Springs.

There was still a great deal of snow on the mesa, even though temperatures were in the 80's and 90s in the valley. We started just above Hilldale in Water Canyon. Water Canyon is a beautiful slot canyon that is used by local adventure/touring companies to teach rappelling. As the name implies, there is a stream that has carved its way through making beautiful curves and arches throughout. The climb is steep and strenuous towards the NorthWest up to the top of the canyon, especially with overnight packs on. The views are spectacular once you get on top of the mountain. There is no clearly defined trail, but a little online research can lead you to some of the prominent landmarks to watch out for. The Trail heads in a general Northwesterly direction to several landmarks. Descriptions of these landmarks range from "large white domes" or "hoodoos" and the "black rocks." The trail will take you to a place called "the Notch" which is a fabulous overlook of Apple Valley and the 1000' drop. Pictures and words don't do the Notch justice. It is one of those near life-changing moments of realizing just how marvelous mother nature is. From the notch you continue on to the "The Windlass." This is a bit of a man-made winch that was used to lower timber from Mt. Canaan down to Apple Valley for use in Hurricane and the surrounding towns. it hasn't been used in years but the mechanism is still visible and sitting in the little notch they cut out of the rock is breathtaking. My wife and I sat there and rested for a bit, just enjoying the spectacular vista. From the Windlass you cut back to the north east and come to a little place called Sawmill springs. There does appear to be a spring here, but it had a high tannin content and was not flowing. We chose to melt snow instead, and it wasn't clear whether the "spring" was natural or just a pool of water at the base of the tree. There was a small structure there that could have been a cabin at some point. We made this our camp, due to the abundance of trees, and a pre-existing fire-pit. We were prepared for the snow and cold, so we slept quite comfortably. In the morning we continued North across the plateau. There was no path, and we essentially just followed the drainage (and a solitary pair of footprints going in the opposite driection) across the slick-rock for most of the way, and then back up the northwest arm of the mountain. There are spectacular views of Zion National Park once you get closer to the edge of the mesa again. If you choose to hike this way, instead of just re-tracing your steps to Water Canyon, you should be sure to stick to the Northeast side of the Mesa and avoid the temptation to push inland for an easier route. There are some technical climbs and scrambles, and the going is anything but easy. Ranchers used to run their cattle on the Mesa, and would bring them down via a steep and narrow chute towards the Northeast tip of the mountain. We found it after a couple hours of searching and pushing west toward the center of the mesa. In hindsight we could see where the easier trail was, but we made it regardless. Once you get to the chute, you can see why they stopped using it for cattle. I think they must have been a bit crazy to take cattle down it, but here the trail becomes well-defined again. You will wind down the benches of the mesa for awhile, going up and down through hills and valleys until you circle around the Eagle Crags and head back in towards Rockville where there is an established trailhead. We were picked up there, after approx. 17 miles. It was a beautiful and very rewarding hike.

I should also note, for those who like to feel like adventurous explores, we didn't see another human being after we climbed out of Water Canyon until we were picked up in Rockville. Trail markings are few and far between, and its easy to feel like you have left civilization and are discovering new territory in this wilderness area. In addition, the BLM has closed the mountain to any motorized vehicles. You will see some sign of horses up there, and some old abandoned ATV trails, but otherwise, there is a good chance you will have the mountain to yourselves.