Today we did a hike that we can’t recommend for families with really small children. But if you have kids age 6 and up or so, you will love this one. It is a beautiful Box Canyon in Sanpete County. The reason you may want to avoid Box Canyon is that there is a lot of scrambling, climbing and scaling. There is a lot of potential for injury if you’re not capable and careful.
Box Canyon is rocky and narrow and leads about half a mile to a trickling waterfall. The canyon is a popular place for climbers because of its steep rocky walls, and we passed several. Large round river rocks litter the bottom of the canyon, and they can move or roll if you’re not careful. The canyon varies in width from about 25 feet down to 8 feet. The canyon walls are perpendicular for the entire hike and reach 80 feet above you.
What makes this hike exciting is that huge boulders have fallen blocking the canyon. You’ll have to scramble under a few, climb around a few, and even scale one or two. The trail is appropriate for anyone for the first half, and there is a large open cave that you can climb up and check out. This can be a tricky one for little kids, though.
In the second half of the canyon the scrambling begins. There is one particularly nasty part right toward the end that has you scaling about 12 feet over some overhanging rocks. Someone has placed a rope that will help you with this part, but please don’t attempt it unless you’re certain you can do it safely.
Beyond the rope, the canyon narrows out and you come to a small grotto where you’ll find the waterfall. There are ropes leading up this one, too, and a long time ago, when Dad was younger, he scaled it. The canyon continues up that way for a long time, eventually climbing out to the top of the mountain. Or course, the waterfall, which is really just a trickle, is very wet and slippery. Climbing it is for the very experienced, or the very insane. Our boys loved the waterfall, and they climbed around the walls of the grotto a bit while we rested. Of course the trail is an out-and-back, and it took us about 90 minutes roundtrip. From the start of the canyon to the waterfall, you will walk about 1/2 mile, which makes this trail 1 mile roundtrip.
You may have noticed that we are telling you this hike is not for small children while we hauled our 3, 6, and 9 year-old along. You may attempt this hike, and you can certainly do the first half no matter your skill level. But please remember as you go up, that whatever you climb is twice as hard to come down. It is also this unique level of difficulty that led to our boys proclaiming Box Canyon to be one of their favorite new hikes.
To reach Box Canyon, you have to go to the tiny town of Fountain Green. From there, the signage is great, with the first sign sending you west toward the mountains on 400 South. As you leave town, the road curves left and takes you out to the tiny town of Jerusalem and Freedom (Didn’t know there was a Jerusalem in Utah, did you?) The distance is 6 miles from Fountain Green to the turn-off. There’s a sign in Freedom that turns you west (right), and then you turn right again after 1/2 mile. This road leads you up Maple Canyon. It is a short ride to the end of the pavement. Then it’s .8 miles to the pullout for Box Canyon. There is a wide spot on the right (north) side of the road to park, and you can see the trail that leads into Box Canyon. There is no sign that says Box Canyon, so watch carefully.