Cliff Hanger Trail

 

This trail is the only vehicle route onto Amasa Back, a rather high isolated area bounded by Kane Springs Canyon, Hurrah Pass, Jackson Hole, and a big loop of the Colorado River. The views are unusual and spectacular, and there is some tough four-wheeling at the start — real tough if Kane Creek is full. Farther along, there is a cliff-side ledge that gives the trail its name. There are some petroglyphs and other evidence of early visitation. We ask your cooperation in keeping long-wheelbase vehicles off this trail on Big Saturday; the climb out of the creek requires a sharp turn to avoid tipping or high-centering, and it is a waste of everyone’s time to wrestle the long ones over.

 

Scenery

As you climb along the base of the sheer cliff walls of Kane Springs Canyon, the Behind-the-Rocks fins and La Sal Mountains come into view. The cliff edge looks into Jackson Hole, an abandoned river course with a central butte. A spur leads to a spectacular Colorado River view toward Moab. The farthest viewpoint, atop a sheer cliff, has a long vista down the river and is a great cliff-edge picture point.

 

Road Surface

Most of the road surface is rock. It crosses various sandstone layers that create difficult stair-step ledges. There is some sand, some dirt amid the rock layers, and some fairly level slickrock.

 

Obstacles

The most difficult sections are the descent from the graveled Kane Creek Road to the creek and the climb out the other side. The creek crossing can range from dry sand through quicksand to deep water, depending on recent weather. The steep, irregular ledges require good clearance and maneuverability. A switchback farther along leads to a rocky climb that asks for good wheel placement or a flexible suspension — or both. On the cliff-edge section, one eroded grade is attention-getting on the return trip.