||Phipps Wash - Utah
Click the image for enlarged views
||National Forest. Access from Route
12 via the Escalante River (the short way) or from
Old Sheffield Rd.
||Phipps Wash is a tributary of the Escalante
River entering about 1.5 miles downstream from the
Route 12 crossing. There is a trail from the highway
along the Escalante and up Phipps Wash. There is a
natural bridge and an arch about 1 mile up Phipps
Wash. We hiked in from the top which is a long, strenuous
hike but we saw the beautiful upper parts of this
drainage which don't get much traffic.
||Our hike started down a long, steep
slickrock slope (1200' vertical) and then entered
a tributary wash. He hiked in the dry bottom of the
wash on pristine white sand (it had been quite rainy
and windy for three days before we got there). The
only tracks we saw were lizard, centipede, bobcat,
coyote, snake, hawk(?), and innumerable small birds
Every 200 yards or so we came to a waterfall of
4 to 20 feet, most with a pool at the bottom. We
had no problem getting around these since the wash
is quite broad and we could go around the waterfalls
on the slickrock. There were hundreds of potholes
in the rock, some filled with water and some with
white sand. As we aproached the main canyon of Phipps
wash, we came to a dry waterfall of more than 100'.
Cairns led us up onto the slickrock to the west
and then down a steep slope eventually joining the
We never did find Phipps Arch. It was off the topo
map we had and up a side canyon. If you want to
see the Arch, make sure you get directions for locating
it since it is not visible from the trail. But there
is plenty on this hike even it you don't find it.
By the way, Phipps was a rancher who got into an
argument (over a woman) with his partner of twenty
years and shot and killed him. Phipps escaped from
jail and was never seen again.
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Last modified: 10/24/2005