Winter Camp Slot
Arches National Park
Winter Camp Slot is an entertaining route that explores a beautifully sculpted slot canyon. As technical routes go they don't get much easier than this one. The obstacles are all easy to defeat and the scenery is outstanding. The route is beginner friendly with competent leadership.
Winter Camp Slot is a technical canyoneering route that is suitable for beginners with competent leadership. Total time required from trailhead to trailhead is approximately 3 hours. Winter Camp Slot requires complete technical gear. Winter Camp Slot is rated 3A II using the Canyon Rating System. This canyon is accessible year round. This is an excellent winter and cold weather route.
This canyon should be dry in almost all weather conditions. No wading or swimming is required. The route contains one rappel of 190-feet. Two 200-foot ropes are required, or you can use one 200-foot rope and retrieve it after you complete the route, which is what I recommend. Additional gear should consist of several shoulder length slings, a couple double length slings, 25-feet of webbing, several rapid links, and a prusik system.
Navigation for this route is easy. A GPS is useful. Good map reading skills and the USGS 7.5' Map titled "Cisco SW" are essential. All waypoints and maps use the WGS84 datum.
While this route is located just outside of Arches National Park it's a long drive to the trailhead because the route is located on the backside of Arches National Park. A four wheel drive is recommended as the roads are often covered with blow sand. The roads are not hardcore four wheeling, but you might encounter short sandy sections in normal driving conditions. The area is criss-crossed with roads. Stay on the road described until told to turn off of it.
From Green River, Utah: Travel east for 18 miles to Crescent Junction (where I-70 meets Highway 191).
From Moab, Utah: Travel north on Highway 191 for 30 miles to Crescent Junction (where I-70 meets Highway 191).
From Crescent Junction: Follow I-70 east for 11 miles to Exit 193 (N38° 56' 32", W109° 36' 53"), signed Yellow Cat. Exit I-70 and turn south. Follow the graded Yellow Cat Road southeast for 6.2 miles to a fork (N38° 52' 04", W109° 33' 00"). Take the east (left) fork. Continue following the road for 2.1 miles to the Yellow Cat Mine Ruins (N38° 50' 53", W109° 31' 42"). The ruins are located on the east side of the road.
From The Yellow Cat Mine Ruins follow the road east for 1.0 mile to a fork (N38° 51' 01", W109° 30' 38"). Take the south (right) fork and follow the road 2.6 miles to a fork (N38° 49' 27", W109° 29' 48"). Take the east (left) fork and follow the road 3.1 miles to a junction (N38° 48' 31", W109° 26' 53"). Take the south (right) fork and follow the road 1.2 miles to a junction (N38° 47' 51", W109° 26' 06"), with a less traveled road heading west (right). Carefully driven passenger vehicles and high clearance vehicles can normally reach this junction without problems; beyond this point the roads might contain sections of sand.
Follow the less traveled road west for 0.5 miles to where you can pull off the road next to a cedar tree. This is the Winter Camp Slot Trailhead.
From the Winter Camp Slot Trailhead (N38° 47' 37", W109° 26' 36"), hike east on the road you drove in on for 1/4 mile to just past a bend (N38° 47' 41", W109° 26' 17"), at which time you leave the road and head directly south. Hike south for 250-yards into the bottom of a wash, follow the wash downstream (west) a very short distance and you will encounter the only rappel on the route (N38° 47' 34", W109° 26' 19").
This rappel is 190-feet from the canyon rim to the canyon floor. The rappel is anchored by webbing around a large tree just to the north (right) of the watercourse. The rappel drops approximately 70-feet into a large sand filled pothole and than continues an additional 120-feet to the canyon floor. It is suggested that you leave your rope and retrieve it when you leave, as the rope pull from the bottom could be problematic.
Once at the bottom of the rappel hike downstream and enjoy the splendor. Most of the time you will be walking in a narrow slot canyon that is completely void of any obstacles. In fact, the compete lack of obstacles will be one of the points of interest to experienced canyoneers who are accustomed to fighting their way through similar slot canyons. The highlight of this route is the deep slot and swirling sandstone sculptures.
From the base of the rappel hike downstream for approximately one mile to where the canyon begins to open up and a small grove of cottonwood trees is located (N38° 47' 02", W109° 26' 57"), this is your exit.
Climb out of the canyon to the north (right) and hike 1/2 mile north to a dirt road (N38° 47' 27", W109° 27' 06"). Once you intersect the dirt road follow it 1/2 mile east (right) back to the trailhead.
Hikers can explore a large portion of this slot canyon by reversing the route described. This route is an outstanding opportunity for hikers to visit a beautiful slot canyon.