|Fall color everywhere on this wet hike|
|John and Kay McCraney at Muddy Creek Falls, our goal|
|The Muddy Creek Canyon in color|
That’s why the unsettled weather and drizzle didn’t dampen our trip Saturday.
The hike is about 4 miles roundtrip with little elevation gain.
The hardest part is finding the starting point on the Blackleaf Wildlife Management Area at the base of touring limestone cliffs below Mount Werner. Muddy Creek Falls is in the canyon immediately south of Blackleaf Canyon.
The hike involves finding the tracks of an old road that leads to a pipe that marks an old oil well. Then, it’s just following the creek bottom back and forth to a slot canyon that leads to the falls.
The old well pipe is a stark reminder to what could happen to this area without vigilance. Adjacent to the north are what remains of an active natural gas field with several wells. I was both surprised and delighted to see that the natural gas sweetening plant has been removed in the past year from its place on the Blackleaf road a couple miles from the mouth of the Blackleaf Canyon.
We were fortunate Saturday to be hiking at the height of autumn color. The groundcover glowed yellow, gold, orange and red. The aspen groves on the hillsides and cottonwoods along the bottom were a brilliant orange.
Until we reached the Muddy Creek canyon slot there wasn’t any water in the creek, which had obviously dived under ground.
There was plenty of water coming over this falls that sits at the back of the slot’s box canyon.
This area reminds me of what I’ve seen at Zion National Park.
Because there is no trail in here and the difficulty in finding where to start there are only faint trails along the creek bottom.
I wonder if it would be better to build a trail into here to avoid braiding. An interpretive sign on the oil and gas development here would also be instructive.
This area is too spectacular not to be discovered.