Great Western Trail Hiking

Near Bryce, an 85 mile stretch of the Great Western Trail passes north-south through the Dixie National Forest. It is easily accessed just south of Rubys Inn. The Great Western Trail is a route currently under construction running from Canada to Mexico.

The 5 mile Deer Creek Section begins at the Escalante-Teasdale District Boundary fence north of Deer Creek Lake Trailhead and continues west to the Kings Pasture Trailhead. The hiking trail joins the Deer Creek Trail 0.25 miles after the fence and they continue together for about a mile until the Western Trail splits off to the west through a meadow and past Gresham Spring and a samll lake. Three miles west of the Chriss Lake Junction, the trail reaches FS 508. Follow this road for about 0.25 miles to the Kings Pasture Trailhead.

The 6.4 mile Bear Creek Section begins at the Kings Pasture Trailhead on FS 165 and ends at the Boulder Swale ATV Trail at the north end of FS 566. The trail loops to the southwest around private property before returning to FS 165. Follow the road for 1 mile and drop into the Boulder Creek Drainage. Continue out of the drainage, along a road an dinto the Bear Creek Drainage. About 0.5 miles after crossing Bear Creek, youll reach FS 473 which will take you 1 mile to the Boulder Swale ATV Trailhead.

The 9.5 mile McGath Lake section begins at Boulder Swale ATV Trailhead an dends on FS 0145 just north of Cowpuncher Guard Station. The trail follows the Boulder Swale Trail to Black Lake and then continues on to McGath Lake. Past McGath Lake the trail climbs and descends steeply several times before passing the Roger Peak Trail. The trail continues west past the Burr Top Trail junction, over an old logging road, and follows another road about a mile before reaching FS 0145.

The 15.7 mile North Creek-Pine Creek Section begins on FS 0145 north of the Cowpuncher Guard Station and ends at The Gap Trial junction 1.5 miles northeast of Upper Barker Reservoir.

The trails crosses several old logging roads as it heads southwest 2.5 miles to Nettle Springs Ranch. The trail continues southwest 0.5 mile to the Blue Springs Trail junction. Continue southwest, crossing several streams and a major water pipeline, to FS 154 above Posy Lake. Cross the road and follow an old road 0.5 mile to the 1.2 mile Posy Lake Spur Trail. Continue southwest through a series of uphill and downhill climbs. 4 miles past Posy Lake Trail you will reach the Hogs Ranch Trail junction. Go northwest for another 5.8 miles to The Gap Trail junction.

The 4.5 mile Barker Complex Section begins at The Gap Trail and ends on FS 140 at the North Lakes Trail sign. The trail runs west past Yellow Lake and passes just south of Flat Lake. The trail continues southwest past the west side of Upper Barker Reservoir and crosses the trail to Dougherty Basin. You will then pass along the south and west side of Long Willow Bottom Reservoir to a trail junction. The western trail goes southwest around a large meadow and climbs steeply to FS 469 for 0.7 miles to FS 140 and the North Creek Lake sign.

The 5.6 mile Griffin Top Section begins on FS 140 (Davis Flat Rd) acros form the North Creek Lake sign and ends on FS 140 at the Horse Creek Trailhead. The trail follows and old road for about a mile where it passes through a fence and continues along the road another 0.5 miles to the Birch Creek Trail junction. The trail leaves the road here and continues through thick trees, occasionally crossing old roads. The trail runs next to FS 140 and eventually joins it for a short distance before turning back onto the Horse Lake Trail. Continue past Horse Lake before returning to and following FS 140 for about 1 mile to the Horse Creek Trailhead.

The 7.2 mile Horse Creek Section begins on FS 140 and ends on FS Hwy 17 (Main Canyon Rd) approx. 4 miles west of the Escalante Summit. The trail descends steeply down an old road to a meadow.It continues northwest for 3.5 miles before turning south. The trail moves on and off old roads and must be followed carefully by looking for blazes and rock cairns. The trail dips into an old streambed and then climbs out a steep hill for about 1 mile. It finally descends off a ridge onto FS 153 and follows the road about 0.5 miles south to FS Hwy 17.

The 9.3 mile Sweetwater Section begins on FS Hwy 17 about 4 miles west of the Escalante Summit and ends on FS 132 near Pine Lake Campground. The trail follows old roads and stock trails south and west then heads southeast through Mud Springs Draw to red cliffs and sagebrush flats before reaching FS 132 near Pine Lake CG.

The 15.8 mile Cameron Wash Section begins on FS 132 north of Pine Lkae CG and ends on FS Hwy 16. The trail follows east along FS 132 about 1 mile before turning southwest and passing by the east side of Pine Lake. The trail follows FS 282 south before turning west on FS 131. The section is completely drivable and follows various old roads through Cameron Wash and passed Dipping Vat Spring to FS Hwy 16.

Great Western Trail Hiking Map



Local Contact(s):  DNF (801) 676-8815; Bryce Tourism (800) 444-6689; Utah Tourism (800) UTAH-FUN.

Recommended Book:  "Hiking Utah" from Bill Schneider

Best Season:  Apr. - Oct.

Average Difficulty:  Moderate

Base Camp:  NFS Red Canyon Campground; Red Canyon Lodge, Parowan (435) 477-1200

Luxury Loding:  Cedar Breaks Lodge (888) AT-CEDAR; Lodge At Brians Head (800) FUN-LODGE; Bryce Canyon Lodge

Breakfast Restaurant:  Rubys Diner, Bryce

Date Published:  

Date Updated:  8/16/2016

Great Western Trail Hiking Map


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