If you like hiking on slickrock this is the place to go. This is truly a beautiful area just east of Gunlock, Utah. There are endless places to explore while there. If you like exploring you could easily spend all day here.
Overall rating = moderate
Distance: 5.5 miles return – moderate
Elevation gain: 700 feet – moderate
Terrain: slickrock and sandy trail – easy
Exposure: some steep drop-offs at the end – moderate
To see the trail rating system used here see Trail Rating System
If coming from Hurricane/St George head north on SR18 14.3 miles from the junction of the Red Hills Parkway to the Lower Sand Cove Road in the Dammeron Valley. This road is easy to miss but has a small sign on the road on the left. Follow the dirt Lower Sand Cove Road for 5.3 miles to a small road on the left which leads into the parking lot.
You will pass the Sand Cove Powerhouse along the Sand Cove Road. This powerhouse takes water from the Upper Sand Cove Reservoir through a penstock pipeline and discharges this water to a canal flowing to the Lower Sand Cove Reservoir. This water flow drives an 800 kilowatt generator providing low cost power to the region. This power plant was built about 1930. You will see this canal as you turn into the trail parking lot where it crosses under the road.
If travelling through Santa Clara and Ivins to Gunlock turn off SR18 at the W Sunset Blvd, Old Highway 91, and travel 10.9 miles to the Gunlock Road. Turn slightly right onto this road and travel 7.8 miles to the Gunlock bridge. Turn right onto the Lower Sand Cove Road just before the bridge and drive 2.9 miles to the trail parking lot.
From the parking lot walk west about 300 feet to the trail that descends into the Sand Cove Wash. This descent drops 80 feet in about 500 feet. Go west along the Sand Cove Wash for about 250 feet to a trail that leads up the south west bank of the wash. This exit is marked by a large boulder in the wash with white paint on it.
From here follow the trail through sand and across slickrock heading in a south westerly direction. In the distance you will see a large pyramidal red rock hill. The trail passes to the left of that hill.
The Large Wall Arch is located on the east face of this hill about 0.6 miles from the parking lot. If you look up inside of the arch you can see that the arch is actually open and in a few years will be fully open.
Continue in a south westerly direction to a large slickrock valley. Total ascent to this point is about 300 feet.
Camelback mountain is west of this location marked by the two large humps on top. The Camelback can be ascended directly from the west side of Slickrock Valley but this is a steep and tricky climb.
Continue across Slickrock Valley to a sandy treed area and continue westerly to the trail junction to Camelback mountain a distance of 1 mile from the parking lot. Total ascent to this point is about 380 feet.
If climbing Camelback Mountain, turn north and follow the ridge 1/3 mile to the camel humps. Along the way are two Giant waterpockets, one dry, and one filled with water. You can descend the dry waterpocket along a slight rock edge but this is tricky. This large waterpocket is known as the southern Utah vortex.
To travel to the Anasazi Alcove, hike further up the slope past the Camelback junction to the extreme north end of Knife Ridge. Here there is a sand trail around this Ridge between the Ridge and the deep Chasm to the north. Follow
the drainage south along the back side (west side) of this Ridge. You will see a window in the Ridge a short distance along this drainage. Keep to the drainage close to the ridge passing through some brush in the drainage. After about 1/4 mile you will come up out of the drainage to the Alcove. The trail then loops west and then north to form a loop back to the north end of Knife Ridge. This loop is just under 1 mile in length with a rise of about 160 feet.
Parking lot N37.2799 W113.73835
Large Wall Arch N37.2742 W113.74337
Slickrock Valley N37.272585, W113.744947
Junction of trail to Camelback Mountain N37.269931, W113.747728
Dry Giant Waterpocket N37.271248, W113.747523
Wet Giant waterpocket N37.271012, W113.747783
Southern Camel hump N37.272269, W113.74747
North end of Knife Ridge N37.269681, W113.748922
Anasazi Alcove N37.26623, W113.7496