The exact coordinates for the Willis Creek Trailhead are 37.483062, –112.096760.
From Kanab drive east on Hwy 89 then north on Johnson Canyon Road, then right onto BLM 500 which is also Skutumpah Road. From Cannonville you would head south on Kodachrome Road, which becomes Cottonwood Road. Before reaching Kodachrome State Park, turn right on BLM 500, which is also Skutumpah Road. (Scoot-um-pah).
The road is gravel and is usually in fair condition with washboard. Most cars can handle it when it’s in good shape but always check with the BLM first especially after heavy rains. This road can become impassable even for 4×4 when wet. If you plan to come in from Kanab, you have much more dirt road to travel, and also have to go through some sections that are rather rough, steep, narrow and windy. There is one section of the road that crosses Bull Valley Gorge. When you peer into Bull Valley Gorge, you can see a vehicle wedged between the canyon walls under the earthen bridge that spans the gorge.
Above, the beginning of the canyon if you start at the slick rock area at the very beginning of this slot. It’s easy to find because the creek crosses the road at this point.
Willis Creek is short and fun. It is about 3-miles round-trip, and usually has a little trickle of water in it, and it’s convoluted walls are truly beautiful. If you start your walk at the slick rock just south of the trail (where the creek crosses the road) you will find several small waterfalls that are the beginning of this canyon. I love to sit here with a cup of tea in the morning and a beer at the end of the day. It used to be that I would be alone in this beautiful little sanctuary at those times, but with so many visitors trying to cram in as many hikes as they can in a day, the time I have alone near these pools and waterfalls has shortened considerably. People are arriving earlier and later to hike, some even starting the canyon as the sun is sinking, and they really have to rush.
The canyon starts out fairly shallow but deepens the further down you go.
Can you spot the person in the image above?
(Above) Looking down into the narrows from the canyon rim.
At the end of the day. Sitting on the slick rock, the sun on my face, the sound of water falling into tiny pools and echoing back to me. A good cooling beer, and when the sun goes down and the darkness brings a chill, a campfire chases the cold away. Ahhhhhhhh.
Although it would be possible to do this hike and Lick Wash and probably even Kodachrome State Park all in one day, I don’t believe in rushing like that. Since I’m not normally in a hurry to be somewhere else, I just do one hike each day, and camp near the trailhead. This way I can take as much time as I like to enjoy the beauty of the canyon, take pictures, admire the curvy undulations of the walls and the layers of time in the rock, the change of lighting, the different colors of sandstone. I can pause and listen to the trickle of water, the echo of voices, and the trill of the canyon wren ringing through the narrows as though it was singing for Mother Nature Herself.
I think it is truly sad that so many people have so little time fully appreciate and enjoy such places; A day, a weekend, or perhaps ten-days in a whole year. They fly down the road as fast as possible and see nothing more than the dust from the car in front of them, and all going way over the speed limit and creating horrible washboard for other travelers. They hurry down the canyon, take a few snapshots with their cell phones, and say “been there, done that.” If you ask them whether they heard the canyon wren, they look at you with a blank face that implies; “Sorry, I’ve got to go, no time to listen to you or nature, byee….”
I believe in quality instead of quantity. Next time you go on a trip somewhere, please consider having a few Quality Experiences, instead of just a Lot of Experiences, especially when in nature. Nature can be a truly healing experience, but like all good things, it takes time to heal, and nature needs time.
I hope you have enjoyed this post.
Until next time, enjoy the trail and if you can, allow yourself enough time to truly experience your surroundings. Breathe, relax, heal.
Until next time, bye for now, OH, and if you’re using a phone to read this keep on scrolling down and look for the MORE TO EXPLORE link which will guide you to a huge array of categories and posts from the past that include How-To’s, Tips, Travel, Places to Visit, Tales, Travel, Philosophy, Safety, Poetry and more.
Roxy ~ A Nomad for Nature
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