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Capitol Reef National Park Lower Muley Twist


A hike through Lower Muley Twist Canyon can be done as a long day hike by starting and ending at The Post parking area. Starting the hike from the trailhead on the Burr Trail Road and hiking down canyon to The Post cutoff trail is also a nice day hike, especially if you have the ability to leave a vehicle at each end. Hiking the entire canyon from the trailhead on the Burr Trail Road is best done as an overnight trip.


At the top of the Burr Trail Road switchbacks, 35 miles south of Utah Hwy 24 and two miles west of the Notom/Bullfrog Road and Burr Trail Road junction. The Notom/Bullfrog Road is hard packed dirt and is usually passable to passenger cars. At The Post, which is located at the end of a short spur road three miles south of the Notom/Bullfrog Road and Burr Trail Road junction. MAPS USGS 7.5 Minute Series: Wagon Box Mesa and The Post, or Earth Walk Press, Capitol Reef National Park. Available from the CRNHA at the park Visitor Center.


Spring and Fall.


From 1881 through 1884, the canyon heard the rumble of wheels and the braying of mules as Mormon pioneers traveled by wagon through the narrow gorge and on to a new life in San Juan County.


From the trailhead located on the Burr Trail Road, the route drops quickly and easily into Lower Muley Twist Canyon. Follow the twisting drainage down canyon. The canyon forms a short section of narrows midway between the trailhead and The Post cutoff trail. The slickrock canyon walls are white Navajo sandstone colored by streaks of desert varnish. The red sandstones are the Kayenta and Wingate formations.

Four miles south of the trailhead is The Post cutoff trail which is marked by a sign. At this point, day hikers should either backtrack to the trailhead or continue 2 miles to The Post parking area via the cutoff trail. The cutoff trail climbs up and over the Waterpocket Fold, providing dramatic vistas. The trail traverses steep slickrock with loose footing and is exposed in several places. Use caution, especially if wet or icy conditions exist.

Continuing south through Lower Muley Twist Canyon, it is eight more miles to Halls Creek Canyon and then 5 miles north to The Post. Large, dramatic alcoves highlight the lower portion of the canyon. Here the Wingate sandstone has been undercut forming high overhangs and sandstone caves. Near the end of Lower Muley Twist, the canyon turns toward the east and becomes narrow with high walls. At this point, the tall red cliffs of the Strike Valley rim are visible ahead. As you exit the canyon, cairns on the north (left) side of the wash will mark a route out of the drainage and across a low ridge to the northeast. This route connects with Halls Creek and saves hiking time. If you stay in the Lower Muley Twist drainage, the route connects with Halls Creek in approximately a half mile.

If you are hiking south from The Post, it is easy to miss the route into Lower Muley Twist Canyon. Track your location on a map and scan the steep slickrock slopes of the Fold for the upper portion of the north-facing wall of Lower Muley Twist Canyon. The wall is stained with desert varnish and is visible a good distance up Halls Creek. When you are due east of this landmark, look for a way over the low ridge separating Lower Muley Twist and Halls Creek to enter the canyon via the short cut or stay in Halls Creek until you encounter the Lower Muley Twist drainage further downstream.

Between Lower Muley Twist Canyon and The Post there is a section of Halls Creek that cuts a meandering channel into the Navajo Sandstone. This is a longer but more scenic route, or you can bypass this section of Halls Creek by following an old jeep road.

At The Post, the road runs south to Bullfrog Marina or north to the junction of the Burr Trail Road and on to Utah Hwy 24. If you left a vehicle at The Post, your hike is over. If your vehicle is parked at the Burr Trail Road trailhead, you can either walk the Notom/Bullfrog Road north and then up the Burr Trail Road switchbacks (4.25 miles), or return to the trailhead via The Post cutoff trail and Lower Muley Twist Canyon (6.4 miles).

MILEAGES (approximate) Burr Trail Road trailhead to The Post cutoff trail 4 The Post cutoff trail 2 Burr Trail Road trailhead to Halls Creek 12 Halls Creek to The Post 5 Total mileage for upper loop (Burr trailhead to cutoff trail and back via road) 10.25 Total mileage for lower loop (The Post back to The Post) 15 Total mileage for entire loop: Burr trailhead to Halls Creek and back via road 21.25 Total mileage for entire loop: Burr trailhead to Halls Creek and back via cutoff 23.4 miles.

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