Neilson Wash |

Factory Butte

Canyoneering Neilson Wash - Factory ButteHiking Neilson Wash - Factory Butte Canyoneering Neilson Wash
Factory Butte

Overview | Getting There | Route | Photos | Maps | Comments

Overview

RATING: Easy / Moderate
LENGTH: 1-2 hours
MAPS: FACTORY BUTTE, UT

Thu

40 | 23

Fri

41 | 23

Sat

37 | 21

Sun

41 | 23

Mon

38 | 23

View Full Weather Details
SEASON: Fall, Winter, Spring (Hot in summer)
GEAR: Standard hiking gear for out and back. Sandtrap/Advanced Anchors for loop.
RAPPELS: 0-1 to 3 m ( 10 ft. )
WATER: Generally a few shallows pools.

Thu

40 | 23

Fri

41 | 23

Sat

37 | 21

Sun

41 | 23

Mon

38 | 23

View Full Weather Details
Diane and Ruby avoiding water in Neilson Wash

Diane and Ruby avoiding water in Neilson Wash

Neilson Wash does not look like much on the map, just an open wash in the lunar-like landscape that surrounds Factory Butte. One cold early winter day, however, we were looking for something short to check out and Neilson Wash seemed like an interesting place to wander. It turned out to be quite a stunning hike! The gray-walled wash becomes a narrow rock bottomed canyon with intricate pocketed walls and clear shallow pools lining its floor. Unfortunately for us, not all pools were avoidable on our trip, and we ended up doing one very cold thigh deep wade!

There are a couple of ways to visit Neilson Wash. The first is as an out and back. Wander down from the trailhead and return the same way. This is what I recommend for the biggest bang-for-your-buck. The out-and-back is suitable for most, and our preschooler had an absolute blast playing in the numerous small overhangs and running along the canyon floor.

The second approach is to make a loop down Neilson Wash, then circle back north to the dirt road. This is a lovely outing but has one major obstacle. As the slot section opens to the wash below there is a short drop, about 3 m on our visit. This drop is vertical and into a shallow pool. A strong group can use a rope for most of the group, then partner-catch the last person down. There is not much to work with at the drop, so if wanting to setup an anchor a sandtrap or bringing rocks down from above are likely the best options. The drop changes with floods but is generally shorter on the left (looking down canyon).

Hole people!  Neilson Wash

Hole people! Neilson Wash

Getting There

From Hanksville, go west on UT-24 toward Torrey/Captiol Reef about 10.5 miles to between mile post 105 and 106. Turn north here, on the well maintained Factory Butte Road (labeled 6650 East). Reset your odometer. ( 12S 509406mE 4246550mN / N38° 22' 02" W110° 53' 32" )

0.7 miles - Parking area on the left with pit toilet. Stay on main road. ( 12S 508753mE 4247613mN / N38° 22' 36" W110° 53' 59" )
1.8 miles - The road is about to cross Neilson Wash. Park here off the side of the road.

Note: If you are doing the loop and have 2 cars, you can spot a car 0.6 miles further down the road at the next wash crossing.
Diane and Abby enjoying the scenery.

Diane and Abby enjoying the scenery.

Route

From the trailhead, scramble down to the wash bottom and head southeast down it. The wide bottomed wash has a few car sized boulders, and quickly begins to deepen with walls that are dotted with large holes. The walking is easy, with small shallow pools (after recent precipitation) dotting the canyon floor. These are all easy to skirt around with some persistence if you ware wanting to keep your feet dry.

You may notice an easy exit on the right, the canyon deepens right after this exit. If you need to gather rocks for a rappel anchor, this might be the best spot. Just after this exit there are two pools, with the second being a large one that is difficult to avoid. We waded to mid-thigh on our trip, and it did not appear it would ever be much deeper than this. A minute or two past this large pool is the drop and obstacle.

Optional Loop
If the obstacle looks surmountable by your group and skills, continue down past the drop to the first side canyon coming in on the left. Go left, up this side canyon. It has a contrasting character being wide, dirt bottomed, and lined with huge boulders. Follow it up, staying in the main canyon bottom (left) at all junctions. Once the wash intersects the Factory Butte Road, it is 0.6 miles left down the Factory Butte Road to the trailhead.


Maps

Out and Back / 0.57 miles / Elevation Range 4,565 - 4,608 ft.
Loop with shuttle / 1.63 miles / Elevation Range 4,539 - 4,608 ft.
Printable Maps:
Trailhead

12S 509309mE 4249077mN

N38° 23' 23" W110° 53' 36"

Obstacle

12S 509460mE 4248722mN

N38° 23' 12" W110° 53' 30"

Loop Jct

12S 509695mE 4248424mN

N38° 23' 02" W110° 53' 20"

Alt Trailhead

12S 509669mE 4249921mN

N38° 23' 51" W110° 53' 21"

Jct - Left

12S 509734mE 4249582mN

N38° 23' 40" W110° 53' 19"

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