Lower Muley Twist Route, Unmaintained Routes, Capitol Reef National Park, Utah

Lower Muley Twist Route - 23.8 miles

Unmaintained Routes

The high sandstone walls of Lower Muley Canyon reveal millions of years of geology

The high sandstone walls of Lower Muley Canyon reveal millions of years of geology

Round-Trip Length: 23.8 miles
Start-End Elevation: 5,900' - 5,900'
Skill Level: Moderate-Strenuous
Dogs Allowed: No
Bikes Allowed: No
Horses Allowed: No
Related Trails:

Lower Muley Twist Route - 23.8 Miles Round-Trip

From the trailhead located on the Burr Trail Road (very small area to park), the route drops quickly and easily into Lower Muley Twist Canyon. To begin the Lower Muley Twist route, after dropping down about 50 feet into the wash, be sure to follow the twisting drainage down canyon (turn left). The canyon forms a short section of narrows midway between the trailhead and The Post cutoff trail which you will reach in about 4 miles.

The slickrock canyon walls are white Navajo sandstone colored by streaks of desert varnish. The red sandstones are the Kayenta and Wingate formations.

Four miles south of the Lower Muley Twist trailhead is The Post cutoff trail which is marked by a sign. **At this point, day hikers should either backtrack to the Lower Muley Twist trailhead or continue 2 miles to The Post parking area via the cutoff trail, depending where you are parked. The Post cutoff trail climbs up and over the Waterpocket Fold, providing dramatic vistas. The trail traverses steep slickrock with loose footing and is exposed in several places. Use caution, especially if wet or icy conditions exist.

Continuing south through Lower Muley Twist Canyon, it is eight more miles to Halls Creek Canyon and then 5 miles north to The Post. Large, dramatic alcoves highlight the lower portion of the canyon. Here the Wingate sandstone has been undercut forming high overhangs and sandstone caves.

Near the end of Lower Muley Twist, the canyon turns toward the east and becomes narrow with high walls. At this point, the tall red cliffs of the Strike Valley rim are visible ahead.

As you exit the canyon, cairns on the north (left) side of the wash will mark a route out of the drainage and across a low ridge to the northeast. This route connects with Halls Creek and saves hiking time. If you stay in the Lower Muley Twist drainage, the route connects with Halls Creek in approximately a half mile.

If you are hiking south from The Post, it is easy to miss the route into Lower Muley Twist Canyon. Track your location on a map and scan the steep slickrock slopes of the Fold for the upper portion of the north-facing wall of Lower Muley Twist Canyon. The wall is stained with desert varnish and is visible a good distance up Halls Creek. When you are due east of this landmark, look for a way over the low ridge separating Lower Muley Twist and Halls Creek to enter the canyon via the short cut or stay in Halls Creek until you encounter the Lower Muley Twist drainage further downstream.

Between Lower Muley Twist Canyon and The Post there is a section of Halls Creek that cuts a meandering channel into the Navajo Sandstone. This is a longer but more scenic route, or you can bypass this section of Halls Creek by following an old jeep road.

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Interactive GPS Topo Map

Key GPS Coordinates - DATUM WGS84

  • N37 50.885 W111 01.705 — Lower Muley Twist Trailhead (unmarked)

Worth Noting

  • Lower Muley Twist is an unmaintained route - topographic maps are highly suggested.

  • The Lower Muley Twist Route is entirely exposed to the elements - there is little to no water on this route, so bring your own water.

  • After 12 miles the Lower Muley Twist route dead ends into a towering slick rock wall. This unmarked junction is Halls Creek Canyon and also acts as the loop's halfway point. Turn left (north) to continue the loop another 12 miles back to the Lower Muley Twist Trailhead

  • During inclement weather, flash floods can occur in the Lower Muley Twist - never sleep in a wash.

Camping and Backpacking Information

Backcountry camping is available 'at large' along the unmaintained Lower Muley Twist Route. Permits are required for all backcountry camping in Capitol Reef National Park.

Permits are free and can be obtained at the capitol Reef National Park Visitor Center. Call (435) 425-3791 for more information.

Group size cannot exceed 12 people

  • Never Collect firewood or build ground fires. Instead, use portable stoves for cooking.

  • Never pollute water sources by washing or bathing. You should always carry water away from the source to clean dishes or bathe then strain out food particles and disperse dirty water.

  • Always use biodegradable soap. Never swim in waterpockets; lotion, sunscreen, and residue on skin can quickly pollute water sources that are not free-flowing.

  • Do not camp within 0.5 mile (0.8 km) or in sight of roads or trails. In narrow canyons, try to camp as far away from the hiking route as possible and out of sight.

  • Carry firearms.

  • Never disturb or deface natural features, historic, or archeological sites.

  • Never Collect items of any kind, including rocks, plants, animals, or artifacts.

Fishing Information

There is no fishing available along the Lower Muley Twist Route.

Directions to Trailhead

The Trailhead is located at the top of the Burr Trail Road switchbacks, 35 miles south of Utah Highway 24 and 2 miles west of the Notom/Bullfrog Road and Burr Trail Road junction. The Notom-Bullfrog Road is hard-packed dirt and is usually passable to passenger cars. At times, the Burr Trail Road may require a high clearance vehicle.

Contact Information

Capitol Reef National Park - Visitor Center
52 Scenic Drive
Torrey UT 84775

Visitor Information


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