9.9 miles (plus 38 miles by car)
5 1/2 hours
1,080 ft. loss
Upper Fish Creek Trailhead (start): 8,780
Lower Fish Creek Trailhead: 7,700 ft.
This trail has been designated as a National Recreation
Trail. It is a gentle, downhill walk along a small mountain
stream, usually well maintained and easy to follow.
Summer through mid-fall. The road to the upper trailhead
is generally closed each year from the end of November
until mid-June, and the upper reaches of the trail are
very muddy until the end of June. For current conditions
call the Price Ranger District, Manti-La Sal National
Forest, at (801) 637-2817.
Fifty miles southeast of Spanish Fork, near Scofield
Creek runs down a wide, gently sloping canyon from a point
near Skyline Drive to the Scofield Reservoir. The canyon
is popular with hunters because of the abundance of deer
and elk in the area. Deer are everywhere, but the elk
seem to prefer grazing in the large, open meadows high
above the south bank of the creek. Take along a pair of
binoculars and stop occasionally to scan these grassy
meadows. If you are attentive you are almost certain to
see at least a few of the magnificent animals.
The creek runs from west
to east, and you will notice a tremendous difference in
vegetation between the north and south facing sides of
the canyon. The north facing side is covered with aspens
and conifers, interspaced with lush green meadows. The
south facing side, on the other hand, is sage brush country
with scarcely a tree to be found. Unfortunately the trail
spends most of its time on the shadeless south facing
side of the canyon.
Upper Fish Creek Trailhead the path winds down Straight
Fork a distance of 1.9 miles before reaching the confluence
with Fish Creek. Occasionally you may see other faint
trails coming into the canyon, including one where Straight
Fork joins Fish Creek. If you are confused just take the
path that follows closest to the creek; the route never
strays far from the bottom of the valley. Over the length
of the hike the path crosses the creek four times, but
for the most part it stays on the north side of the streambed.
After walking 4.0 miles
you will encounter the first of three Forest Service signs:
a sign marking the bottom of C Canyon Ridge. C Canyon
Ridge is also a popular access route into Fish Creek Canyon,
and it was once possible to get to within a mile of the
creek on a jeep road that follows the ridge. For several
reasons, however, including the fact that Fish Creek is
an important part of Scofield Reservoirs watershed
area, the road is now closed.
As you continue down the
canyon the volume of water in Fish Creek gradually increases,
but for most of its length the stream isnt deep
enough for good fishing. There would be more fish if the
canyons beaver population could make more permanent
ponds in the streambed. The trail passes by numerous beaver
dams, but virtually all of them have been breached. The
dams rarely survive the spring floods. Only after Gooseberry
Creek joins Fish Creek, 2.6 miles above the campground,
does fishing really become feasible.
At French Creek, 0.7 miles
from the end, the trail finally crosses to the shady south
side of the canyon. Then, fifteen minutes later, it emerges
from the forest at the lower trailhead in Fish Creek Campground.
provided by David
Day of utahtrails.com. Click here to order his book
Favorite Hiking Trails.