Exiting Lower Lee Canyon Narrows

Upper Lee Canyon Narrows

Hiking down Champion Road

Descending into Lee Canyon

The weather finally got cool enough to take a hike that is a little lower in elevation. Nineteen hikers arrived at the Sawmill Trailhead on Lee Canyon Road. Our route started by crossing Lee Canyon Road and descending into Lee Canyon by way of Champion Road. This is a dirt road that circles down, around and up to Deer Creek Road. There are several primitive and private campsites on this road. The road seems to be in better condition than it has been in the last few years. We crossed the wash and followed the dirt road up among the yellow rabbitbrush that is blooming as it does during September of every year.

Following Champion Road

The large group of hikers were conversing and having fun as we made our way up the road for around 1.7 miles toward Deer Creek Road.

Descending Trail to Wash

We only saw one camper who had come out to mark the driveway with a ribbon where others would know to join her. It was a very quiet morning … except for us!

Wide Lee Canyon Wash

Down the Wash between Fallen Trees

When we reached Deer Creek Road, we started down alongside either inside or outside the guard rail. The trail outside the guard rail is all but gone but hiking inside the guard rail is slightly dangerous because of the curve in the road. Also, the small trail to look for is somewhat vague at the top and being outside the rails helps in locating it approximately .05 miles from the start of the rail. The small trail turns right then turns left to go down the hill in a diagonal direction. This trail has become more worn and less slippery than it used to be. The Lee Canyon wash is waiting for you at the bottom.

Carrying Out Large Bags of Trash

A few of us had taken out our packed trash bags and the trash pick-up began. (Shout out to Larry Dunn!) For some reason, this section of Lee Canyon wash is always littered with trash of all sorts.

Deep in Conversation

We didn't pick up some of the larger and heavier pieces since our bags would not hold it all but we picked up a lot of broken plastic sleds, water bottles, and numerous "what nots."

Entering Upper Lee Canyon Narrows

First of Three Antique Cars

We filled our bags to capacity as we hiked down the gravelly wash. One hiker was cutting her hike short so she took the largest bag with her when we reached the Champion Road crossing. There is a trash dumpster up at the Sawmill Trailhead. (Thanks Marg.) Soon, after that, we entered into the Upper Lee Canyon Narrows section. This section has tall conglomerate walls. One of the walls has a double arch at the top. Then we came to the first of three antique cars. This one has been sitting in the wash for many years and every time we see it, it is filled with more and more wash debris from flooding.

Above Lower Narrows

Next, we entered into the top of the Lower Narrows section. The walls started getting higher and we came to a twenty foot cliff drop. We noted that someone has tied a strap to a tree above to aide in climbing down into the Lower Narrows. We passed on the strap today!

Climbing to Up and Around Trail

Instead, after we all got a look-see at the narrow cliff, we returned through the top of the narrows and climbed up to the trail on the left as you are facing down.

Entering Lower Narrows from Bottom

Linda at Obstacle Rock (Someone coming thru gap!)

This trail is part of the Blue/Orange Trail of Lee Canyon. It took us up and around the Lower Lee Canyon Narrows below then we turned right at a newly placed cairn to start hiking up the chaotic wash to the entrance between the walls. A few of today's hikers had not been in these narrows before. They are fairly impressive! Inside, there is a carved out shelf in the wall. An obstacle rock blocks the passage and every year the level of gravel below the rabbithole is different. This year, the passage was clear enough for most of us to get through the hole by bending at the waist and knees. The entire group took their break inside the narrows either in front or behind the obstacle rock. It was nice and cool here where the sun seldom reaches. Sometimes, in the spring, we see cave wrens nesting on the walls. After our break, we returned to the trail the same way we had come and climbed up and over the hill in rising temperatures. A cool breeze came along occasionally. Staying on the trail, we paralleled the wash and eventually came upon the second of the three antique cars. This car, as the others, has filled with debris from flooding. Also in the area, a very large construction vehicle tire rests along with many rusted tin cans of all sorts.

Richard takes the Spotlight leaving Lower Narrows (Others Watch)

The shaded trail continues up to an embankment of an old road. In the embankment, the third antique car resides to the right. A chrome bumper is separated from its owner by this time.

Narrows to Left; Trail to Right; Mummy's Nose in Distance

When you get onto the "road," you really don't realize that it is an old road until you follow it to the right through the weeds and old rusted cans and start climbing the hill out of the canyon.

Trail lined with Rabbitbrush

Second of Three Antique Cars

At the top of the hill, we crossed Lee Canyon Road again and connected with Cardamine Road, another dirt road that runs parallel to Lee Canyon. Our left turn onto this road led us up to the lower end of the large Sawmill Trailhead picnic area. On the hot asphalt, we only had a little way to go to get to our cars. The smell of picnic food was in the air and families were gathered around the tables. It was a very enjoyable and excellent, well-received, moderate hike today.
5 miles; 800 feet elevation gain; 3.25 hours

Climbing up to Lee Canyon Road

Arriving at Top before Road Crossing

Hiking through Sawmill Picnic Area Roadway