Parowan Canyon Wildlife Management Area
The plan for today is to beat up the AWD on Second Left Hand Canyon with a few stops for little hikes. The first stop is a large gravel parking lot with a mysterious sign reading "Parowan Canyon Wildlife Management Area" and no other information, although it adds, "We manage this property to benefit wildlife and wildlife enthusiasts." A designed hole in the fence has a trail through it that proceeds downstream. Geocaches in the area mention a waterfall, so I figure I will simply poke around for a bit, see a waterfall, and head out again. The trail wanders at first beside the creek.
|The creek below is a little bit muddy, but less than a few days ago.|
|A few flowers are along the side.|
|The singing is quite loud in the morning heat.|
The trail splits at a bridge and I choose to cross. On the far side it splits again into three more trails and I grab the first one to the right. This climbs a bit to a ridge and is undoubtedly not the way to the waterfall. There are numbers along the route as if this was once an interpretive trail. Now they are falling over and decaying.
|One number with a sign, "Mrs. Lister's Listening Post", whatever that means.|
|The waterfall is over there by where things look steep.|
At a mysterious "listening post", which is undoubtedly explained on stop number 6 of the interpretive brochure, the trail splits again. I expect the numbers will continue to the left, but I go right again. This climbs to even better views of the canyon, but does so sometimes quite steeply. The trail looks like a use trail sometimes, but a few large trees and trail structures also exist.
|The view down Parowan Canyon with Second and First Left Hand Canyons clearly visible coming in from the right. High peaks to the north still have snow.|
The trail finishes at an old road high on the ridge. The road is rather overgrown and hard to identify as such at first. I head right again, but decide to turn around at a spot with a pretty good view as the road starts to drop back into trees. None of this is on my map so I have no idea how far it goes, and I should probably get closer to the waterfall. I only expected a short hike and my water may not be sufficient on this hot day.
|Looking up Parowan Canyon.|
|Looking into the Left Hand Canyons again, but from a little higher.|
|A bit of the track along this old road.|
The old road continues for a while, then seems to vanish, but use trail continues. This is the trail that people use to rappel the waterfall, which is really four tiers in a tiny slot of a canyon.
|Benson Creek as it prepares for the big plunge.|
|On the bank and things just seem to disappear below.|
The approach is rocky and I have no equipment for going down, so I head for some high ground to look down on the waterfall. This top tier is supposed to be the largest, so should be the most impressive. All I really get to do renew a healthy fear of heights. There seems to be no place to check out the water in this narrow canyon. It really is a slot.
|Trying to see something looking downstream along the slot.|
|Likewise, trying to see something looking upstream along the slot.|
I eventually stop trying to scare everything out of me and get down off the high, exposed rock beside the slot to find a new way back up to the old road. When it starts to look like a bit of old road too, I know I am just about there. Around the corner, there is the track. Back along its flat route, then turn and continue down the sometimes too steep trail I came up until hitting the old interpretive trail. Now I turn toward the waterfall, but take a short spur signed "Mineral Ridge" to some sandstone benches and a view of the rock I was atop.
|Another view of the slot. I was up on the rocks to the right of it, particularly the little bump sticking out near where it flattens out.|
Continuing down the trail again, there is another junction with trail coming up from the bridge. I turn right again to get to the waterfall. There are a number of picnic tables along the way as well as some cute benches with tree stump shaped concrete for legs. The tables in the sun have grass growing up all around them, but those in the shade look to get plenty of use. The trail gets up to the creek and crosses it a couple times in its climb through the bottom of the slot to the waterfall and I finally can see water tumbling over a rock ledge.
|That reddish rock is about where I was feeling a little exposed.|
|First look at the whole waterfall.|
|The waterfall from a scree pile to the east, along with a look up the slot canyon.|
Heading back, it is a pretty short route back to the bridge and then the car. It is less than a mile to the bottom of the waterfall and about three miles to the top. It felt a little more rewarding to see it after the hike to the top, although my fears of running out of water are quite founded. There is more in the car at the finish.
©2015 Valerie Norton
Posted 26 July 2015