Adams Canyon hike

heading up the canyon

Date: April 4, 2012

Distance: 3 miles

Time: almost 2 hours

Our first hike of the season caught me a bit off guard.

The other day I was looking for local hikes and stumbled upon a description of the Adams Canyon hike. The post and other reader comments indicated “fun for the whole family,” “dog-friendly,” and “easily accessible” with a beautiful, forty-foot waterfall at the end. The summary indicates that the hike is “moderate” in difficulty with trail in good condition with only “a few difficult spots.”  The trail head is about half an hour from our house and the website made it sound like the perfect spring break hike for our family of teenagers and our dog.

about a mile in

The entrance to the trail was easy to find and the two dozen other cars in the parking lot indicated that lots of other people had the same idea we did. We had perfect, mid-60-degree weather and a windless, clear sky. The first half mile of the trail was wide, covered with sand, and clearly marked. We were off to a great start and were treated to beautiful views right from the beginning.

After the first portion, the trail became much more wooded and we followed a stream the rest of the way up the canyon. There were several places where multiple trails branched out and it wasn’t always clear which trail to follow. We managed to figure it out, however, and hikers coming back down the trail every few minutes served to assure us we were still on the right track. Earthy pine smells and the sound of the running water provided the ideal hiking experience. Dog was happy, kids were happy, husband was happy. We were looking forward to the promised forty-foot waterfall as we made good progress.

along the creek

Here’s where it gets hairy.

Just over a mile in, the “trail” became almost non-existent, muddy, and very rocky. The sound and quantity of the water increased and even our dog was starting to have a difficult time deciding which route to pursue. The steepening route forced us to grab onto random tree branches to keep our footing and be especially careful about our foot placement on the unstable rocks. We continued our way up the canyon this way until our dog slipped on a large rock slab and fell backwards and down a couple of feet. Not a big deal, but it could have been. The trail was becoming increasingly treacherous and outright dangerous, as far as I was concerned. “How were these people hiking with small children?” I thought repeatedly. I couldn’t believe the number of little kids–some as young as three our four–who were on this hike.

I would not have called this hike “family friendly”. I could easily imagine small kids getting easily hurt at several points along the trail. I was even worried about my teenagers in some places.

heading back--Great Salt Lake and Antelope Island in the distance

About a mile-and-a-half in, as we reached a portion of the route where the deafening, rushing creek was to our left, about ten feet down from a steep drop off and all possible routes ahead of us would require literal rock climbing, we made the decision to turn around and head back.

Even though we did not reach the falls, we enjoyed the hike and still put in about three miles of hard-core cross-training. My quads, glutes, and hamstrings will probably feel quite sore in the morning. That’s a good thing.

Burgers, Anyone?

We rewarded ourselves with a trip to the Burger Bar in Roy, Utah–just ten miles away from our hiking spot. This family owned diner, open since 1954, was featured in an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and we had it on our “must check out” list for the past few months. The boys ordered the standard “Big Ben” burgers and I tried the elk burger. We were not disappointed. The homemade buns and ample fry sauce really made the burgers great and were a great repast following our harrowing hike.

All-in-all, a fun way to spend a day of spring break. Now I’m off to give our dog a much-needed bath.

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