Gravel Canyon - Cedar Mesa

Gravel Canyon
Cedar Mesa
Technical Canyoneering

          The Narrows of Gravel Canyon are a fun adventure into a remote wilderness. The route snakes through a long section of beautifully sculpted narrows and ends with a great view of some well preserved Anasazi cliff dwellings.

Circle of Friends:
          Gravel Canyon is part of the "Circle of Friends" program. Members of the "Circle of Friends" have access to more specific information, explicit route information, GPS waypoints, trailhead location and detailed maps. If you would like more information on joining the "Circle of Friends" visit the sign up page.

"Circle of Friends"

Gravel Canyon - Cedar Mesa Gravel Canyon - Cedar Mesa

General Information:
Gravel Canyon is a technical canyoneering adventure that requires complete technical gear. The technical portion of the canyon consists of several swims, wading, rappels and plenty of fun. This is not a difficult route for a technical canyon, but solid skills are required. Gravel Canyon is rated 3B III using the Canyon Rating System.

           A GPS is extremely useful. Good map reading skills are essential. Navigation for this route is difficult and requires several miles of route finding across open desert. This canyon has a high flash flood danger. Check the local weather report before entering this canyon.

Gravel Canyon - Cedar Mesa Gravel Canyon - Cedar Mesa

Trailhead Information:
          A high clearance vehicle is required for accessing this trailhead. The road is suitable for two wheel drives during normal conditions. A vehicle shuttle is not required for this route.

Gravel Canyon - Cedar Mesa Cliff Dwelling

The Soldier's Grave:
          In 1884 several cowboys got into a dispute with some Paiute Indians concerning the ownership of a horse. The cowboys called in the U.S. Cavalry to help them with the dispute. A chase ensued during which the Paiutes ambushed the soldiers and killed two of them. The Soldiers are buried at the marked grave just off highway 95. The Paiutes were never captured.

Anasazi Cliff Dwelling in Gravel Canyon

Cliff Dwellings:
          This route includes a short visit to several Anasazi cliff dwellings. Please take only pictures and leave only footprints.

Anasazi Cliff Dwelling in Gravel Canyon

Cryptobiotic Soil:
          This route crosses large areas of cryptobiotic soil. Please avoid disturbing all cryptobiotic crust. Stay on existing trails, walk in wash bottoms or on slickrock. Go out of your way, literally, to avoid cryptobiotic soil. Cryptobiotic crust requires five to ten years of undisturbed growth before it even becomes visible as an irregular, blackish mat on the soil surface. A single footprint by a careless hiker can destroy decades of growth.

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