WILLIS CREEK NARROWS
ALERT: Don't even attempt the drive to the trailhead without 4/AWD. The VERY STEEP sand roads absolutely require it. We have an AWD Mazda CX-5 and white knuckled it. Got your off-road adventure mobile? Lesssgo.
Nestled between Grand Staircase Escalante and Bryce Canyon, Willis Creek Narrows is a can't miss. This hike is an easy stroll, but could pose more of a challenge with higher water levels. We were able to jump the foot wide stream of water that ran down the center of the canyons and never encountered water that was more than a few inches deep. The dogs were able to drink from the stream as we sipped from our camelbak so we made quick work of this 3.9 mile out and back. We did enjoyed climbing up the walls of the canyons and the shade they provided was splendid. Seriously, I can't stress this enough. Superb. Gentle. Hike.
I believe we only encountered six other people over the few hours we were exploring Willis. There was evidence that this trail is frequented by horses so keep that in mind when considering whether or not to keep Fido on a leash. We opted for off-leash because I love to take advantage of the high canyon walls. I find hiking in narrows to be much less stressful than wide open terrain because there are only two directions the dogs can run and one is towards Mama.
If you're up for it, there is a small waterfall about a mile in. The trail will take you down the right of the fall, but if you circle back around you will find a shallow 3ft pool (photo below). It looked perfectly Kelsey-size for a back country shower so, of course, I climbed in. It was an ideal pick-me-up needed to recover from three too many beers the evening before and a weekend of sleeping on the dusty ground.