At the end of April we were able to make a quick weekend trip to the southern Swell before the temperatures rose into the 80s. We had a Saturday morning commitment, so we didn’t leave Salt Lake until close to 1pm. It wasn’t exactly ideal, but Zach and I intended to stay through Monday morning. Our friends Ryan and Lisa joined us as well to make a nice group of four humans with three dogs. Since we wouldn’t arrive at the Swell until late afternoon, we decided to camp at Temple Mountain again in order to avoid wasting time looking for a spot – though there are many much better spots. Lisa and I wanted to squeeze in a nice hike before dark, so we chose nearby Crack Canyon.
From the parking area, we followed a wash for the first half mile or so until we reached the entrance to the canyon. In the wash we had to bear the full force of the late afternoon sun; once inside the shade of the canyon walls we could enjoy a evening stroll – sort of. The first obstacle we encountered was a series of pour offs. Though we could have bypassed them by following the ledge to the right, we decided to descend them. It was fun going down, but a little trickier getting back up (with the dogs) on our way out.
From what I’ve read Crack Canyon has three sections of narrows. We went through the first and turned around at the second. (We wanted to get back to set up camp and cook dinner before we lost all daylight.) The first section was simple, but enhanced by a short subway section. Once we emerged on the other side, the aerial view looked unassuming.
Even though we only went 1.5 (ish) miles before turning around, Crack Canyon was delightful. I would happily go back and finish the rest of the canyon. We were sheltered from the extreme gaze of the sun and in return, the canyon was illuminated in gorgeous hues. I marveled at the canyon walls the entire hike. I took WAY too many photos, and I’ve attempted to reign myself in on this post. But the canyon was simply magical.
The trailhead for Crack Canyon is located off Behind-the-Reef Road, stunning in its own right. It doesn’t seem very picturesque at first, but suddenly the car rounds a corner and the Reef is spread out in front of you. I didn’t get the best photos, but hopefully next time the lighting will be kinder. We had an equally stunning view of Temple Mountain and the surrounding canyon walls on our way out. It’s hard to beat the views in this part of the Swell.