Kane Creek Canyon Trail
1 Day Trail – Rated 3 1/2
The trail follows Kane Creek along the bottom of its canyon (officially named Kane Springs Canyon on the maps) between its mouth at the Colorado River and Highway 191. It runs in and out of the creek — more than 60 crossings — but in one area, climbs high on the canyon wall. The latter section merits the 3½ rating, but the creek bottom parts are a real puzzle to rate for difficulty in advance. When the creek is wet, as it is likely to be in springtime, there is mud and really nasty quicksand. After a storm, which is possible, it can be impassably deep.
The lower portion of the canyon is narrow, tortuous, and one of our most beautiful. Farther upstream, it becomes wider, straighter, and deeper (1000 feet), but it changes character again above the junction with Hatch Wash. There, the water is clear, the bottom is gravelly rather than sandy, and the canyon is more intimate.
The lower canyon road has a 2WD gravel surface as far as the first creek ford, at which point an amphibian is sometimes needed. The next few miles upstream are on a silt bench with many “gotcha” gullies eroded across the trail. When it reaches the section that crisscrosses the creek, the bottom is sandy — sometimes with quicksand. The upper part of the trail has rocky creek bottom and rocky steps on the narrow shelf road above the creek.
Other than the possibility of mud and quicksand, the major obstacle is the eroded, rocky climb along a shelf above the creek. A major rock ledge at Muleshoe Canyon once required a rock pile to ascend, but after being blasted, it is only a “3½.”