Fish & Owl Canyons

First backpacking trip of the season!  This weekend, we busted out to Grand Gulch and did an overnight trip in Fish and Owl Canyons.  It was a great spring hike -- the weather cooperated and all the plants were greening up.

looking down into Fish Canyon

Grand Gulch is a BLM Primitive Area that protects some amazing natural and cultural resources.  A classic Grand Gulch hike is full of Anasazi ruins, and you can definitely imagine people living here 700-1500 year ago -- there's lots of water and plants.  Fish/Owl doesn't have as many ruins as some other Grand Gulch hikes, but we did spot a couple granaries tucked away into alcoves.  The hike ends with a really beautiful kiva as you climb out of Owl Canyon.

A trip down in Grand Gulch takes a little planning.  The BLM uses a permit system to limit the number of people who can spend the night in the canyons.  (They do save some walk-up permits, and you can day hike without any paperwork.)  The day of your hike, you stop by the Kane Gulch ranger station, watch a Leave-No-Trace movie, and grab your permit.

Fish/Owl is a loop hike, and I definitely recommend heading down into Fish Canyon first.   The decent is steep and there's one spot where a rope might come in handy for lowering a heavy pack.  I liked getting that over with first!  I also liked saving the best for last -- Owl Canyon is a little more scenic/interesting with an arch and a really cool ruin.  The whole hike is 16 miles round-trip, although it would have been great to spend another night down there and explore upper Fish Canyon.

Owl Canyon Ruin