Hiking in the Off Season

Sun Lakes Hiking Club members DeEtte Faith, Diane Alessi, and Henry Silberblatt, with guest Rocio Smith at Wire Pass Slot Canyon in Utah (Photo by Henry Silberblatt)

Warren Wasescha

Our Sun Lakes Hiking Club hikes officially November through April. But what do club members do for the other six months of the year? If you are lucky enough to summer in Colorado or other points north, the options are easy. If you stay in the Valley where temps often prevent rigorous hiking, you get creative in your planning.

Northern Arizona is an obvious destination, but it requires more planning than signing up for a club hike. If you want to visit Arizona’s hiking gem, Grand Canyon National Park, you definitely need to do advance planning, given the distance. While it offers spectacular and challenging hikes, the South Rim is four hours away (via Flagstaff and Williams) and the North Rim is six and a half hours away (via Cameron and Jacob Lake). As part of your advance planning, you’ll need to secure overnight accommodations in the Park, which can require reservations made up to a year in advance due to high demand. And it’s no different for North Rim reservations.

This past June, several club members and a guest enjoyed three nights at the North Rim. The reservations were made the previous February, with hikes on the Widforss Trail, the North Kaibab Trail down to Roaring Springs (and then back up!), and along several areas near Cape Royal Road. The advance planning was worth it—and the experience incredible.

This group also participated in a lottery held by the Bureau of Land Management for access to Coyote Buttes North, known as “the Wave,” a controlled-access area about 47 miles east of Kanab, Utah. Many thousands apply each month for access, but only 64 people are allowed access each day. This lucky group of Sun Lakes hikers received a permit in the February lottery and hiked to the Wave after their North Rim adventures.

Like the idea of hiking and socializing with others? Find out more about our club by searching “Sun Lakes Hiking Club” in your web browser and visit our “Meetup” site to see descriptions and pictures of the hikes the club has done in the past. We are a friendly, inclusive group that welcomes all able-bodied hiking enthusiasts.

The club hikes November through April, but off-calendar hikes happen throughout the year. Contact Stu Frost for more details if you are interested at [email protected].

For additional questions about our club not found on our website, please contact our president DeEtte Faith at [email protected] for more information.