Exploring the Staircase – BLM Road 500

With our closeness to hoodoos achieved, it was time to follow 12 even further East, towards the Grand Staircase National Monument.  We wanted to visit Zebra Canyon, but we were sure that there were other things in store for us on the way.  There sure were.

Camping on BLM 500

Before we even made it ot the turn down the road for Grand Staircase proper, some rangers informed us about good canyon hikes down BLM500, so we figured why not and found a campsite close to Willis Creek, which was their top recommendation.

Dispersed camping was allowed down this road, so we drove as close to the trailhead as possible and looked for a spot, eventually finding one across the valley from Bryce, giving us superb views for sunsets.

Willis Creek

We really didn’t know what to expect, save that the rangers said it was a good hike and easy for kids.  Willis Creek simply blew our mind.

It started out as a creek, but the trail soon dropped down, passing in and out of canyons that ranged as high as 5-stories above us.  We’d walk through open expanse, then find the next quarter mile ran through some narrows that seemed to appear from out of the blue.

It never became so narrow that walking was a pain, but the river did makes some crossing difficult for Fin.

Lick Wash

Invigorated by how enjoyable we found WIllis Creek, we decided to go for one more canyon, Lick Wash.  The problem was that I didn’t get as good of directions to Lick Wash as I did to Willis Creek, so we drove down a really bumpy, teeth-rattling road knowing that the trailhead was around there somewhere.

Shiz likes knowing what is happening at all times, so she grew more visibly uncomfortable by the mile as we searched for the trailhead.  We had just gotten to the point of “Honey, let’s try one more mile and if we don’t see then we’ll turn around”, the trailhead appeared and we were off to hike.

As it’s in the same area as Willis Creek, they share many aspects, but Lick Wash had a different feel.  It felt more spacious and the rocks seemed to be more fragile and scarred.

Shiz and I could hike canyons all day and we hiked LIck wash with smiles on our faces.  Right about this point was when we started talking about how we could come back some day and spend a month just in the Grand Staircase alone.

Kodachrome State Park

After the dispersed camping and hiking, we desperately need showers, so we went to try to stay at Kodachrome State Park.  They were full, but you can pay for day showers.  After seeing the sights of the park, we went to clean ourselves in by far the best campground showers we have ever experienced.  Seriously it was far better than the shower in our house.  Oh, if they could all be like that.

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