Overview

This intriguing Lake Powell hike takes visitors to a large sandstone cave once inhabited by prehistoric Mammoths more than 13,000 years ago. This canyon is seldom visited and has no marked trail making it a great adventure for more experienced hikers. Good navigation and route-finding skills are required. This hike is only recommended for older children and hikers in good physical condition.

Trailhead

Bechan Cave is a Lake Powell-accessed hike that typically requires a boat to access. Whether you own or rent a boat, it is important that you have the skills and equipment to navigate and anchor your boat safely and properly before attempting this hike. If you do not have access to a boat, a shuttle may be available from the nearest marina.

Check the Glen Canyon National Recreation area website for more information.

  1. Drive your boat down lake (south) from Bullfrog Marina for approximately 26.0 miles to the mouth of Long Canyon on the right.
  2. Turn right into Long Canyon, then immediately left into Bowns Canyon.

The hike begins at the bottom of the talus slope on the right just inside of Bowns Canyon (37.355996, -110.862990). At low water levels there may be some sandy beaches nearby, but usually there is only a talus slope to anchor to. Find a suitable place to secure your boat before beginning the hike.

The Hike

Start hiking up the talus slope toward the notch in the canyon wall above you. Near the high water mark, locate an old mining trail through the rocks and continue on it. Keep hiking to the notch in the cliffs where a path has been excavated through a small dryfall. Beyond this point, there is no longer any kind of visible trail. Keep hiking up the small side canyon you are in until it is possible to climb out on the left side. From here, hike back along the rim south and then east, generally heading further into Bowns Canyon.

Continue hiking into the canyon on the north rim. At first it appears difficult to access the canyon bottom, which is now past the lake. Keep hiking until you find an easy way down into the watercourse. At times, water may be flowing, creating idyllic waterfalls and pools. After approximately 1.8 miles of hiking, the canyon splits at a fork. Turn right and continue up the east fork.

Keep hiking up the east fork for almost three quarters of a mile to Bechan Cave, which you will discover on the right (37.37587, -110.87610). The giant cave opening is hard to miss. It’s best to approach the cave from the watercourse in order to avoid disturbing the abundant cryptobiotic soil in the area. A final, short, and somewhat steep climb provides access into the cavernous alcove. It may be hard to believe while looking out at the dry desert landscape that scientists discovered a layer of mammoth dung about a meter below the surface of this cave, estimated to be more than 13,000 years old. After exploring the cave and taking in the incredible view, return the way you came. Total round trip hiking distance is approximately 5.0 miles.

Rules and Regulations

  • Do not disturb artifacts.
  • Dogs must be on a leash.
  • Pick up after pets.
  • No littering.
  • Do not carve or draw on rocks.

Special Considerations

This area can be extremely hot during spring, summer and fall. Carry plenty of water and wear appropriate clothing.

Credits

This trail guide is provided by Backcountry Post.