Phipps Wash - Utah

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Location Southwestern Utah
Access National Forest. Access from Route 12 via the Escalante River (the short way) or from Old Sheffield Rd.
Hiking 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.
Details 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 and insects.

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 main canyon.

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.