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Birch Hollow (Zion) exit information

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ratagonia, Sep 5, 2017.

  1. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I am revising the info on Birch Hollow for the website, and have it in the queue to get on the website, but as there have been questions asked lately, I thought it would be good to put it on here first.

    Intro

    Birch Hollow terminates in Orderville Canyon, near the top of the Orderville route. There are four normal exits from Birch:

    1. The Wild Wind Hollow exit has developed a pretty good trail of late, and has become popular. Hike up Orderville to Wild Wind Hollow, then up WWH a few feet, then steeply up to the ridge between WWH and Birch, then steeply up a pretty good trail back to the starting point. A LOT less driving, but it does involve hiking steeply up hill.

    2. With two capable vehicles, spot a car at the Orderville Trailhead, and hike up Orderville from the Junction. The carspot from the starting trailhead takes at least 45 minutes. The Jeep Trail down to the Trailhead from the Orderville Corral varies widely in its condition, and CAN require HC 4WD to get back up it. The least walking, the most driving.

    3. With two less-capable vehicles, spot a car at the Orderville Corral. Less driving, more hiking.

    4. Most parties will be sated with Birch Hollow, but a fast group can exit down Orderville Canyon to The Narrows and the Temple of Sinawava. It makes for a long day. A couple swims in Orderville suggest bringing a wetsuit in all but hot weather. The most hiking, and the most driving.

    EXIT
    Turn right to exit up Orderville Gulch and back to the North Fork Road; or turn left to descend Orderville Canyon to The Zion Narrows.

    Wild Wind Hollow Exit
    This used to be a horrendous bushwhack, but people found a decent route, and a pretty good trail is now established. Hike UP Orderville Canyon 0.4 miles (15 minutes) to where a canyon comes in from the east (on your right) as a steep V in a pile of dirt or mud. Scramble up the dirt V for a minute or so until a reasonable escape can be made up the right side to the bench above. Follow a trail on the bench at first paralleling the dirt V, but eventually climbing steeply away from it up onto a ridge. Follow the trail up as it winds through the trees. As the brush thickens, the trail may become more obscure. Follow it up, then to the right over to the edge of Birch Hollow. Follow the now clearly defined trail east along the crest of the ridge to the North Fork road. Turn right and follow the road 0.2 miles to where Birch Hollow crosses, or a further 0.3 miles to the Gifford – EZ Acres parking spot.

    Orderville Trailhead and Corral Exit
    Hike UP Orderville 0.4 miles (15 minutes) to Wild Wind Hollow. Continue up the main drainage, and look for a trail cutting up the slope on the right. Scramble up this to a bench, then up another steep slope to the top of another bench. Another 0.8 miles of hiking on a good trail beside the wash (and exposed to the sun) will bring you to the end of the road at the Orderville Trailhead. Hop in your vehicle, if parked here.

    If not, follow the road as it meanders up the flat Orderville Gulch. After a bit, the road turns right and climbs steeply up the hillside to the Orderville Corral. 2.1 miles, 600 feet of elevation.

    Times: about 45 minutes to the end of the jeep road; an additional 45 minutes up to the Corral.

    Out Orderville and The Narrows
    Hike DOWN Orderville, to the Narrows. There is usually one short rappel or handline and several swims. It is quite a long ways.

    2017BirchHollowWalkerMap.
  2. Tom Collins

    Tom Collins

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    Personally I don't think 3 is really a good option. Yes it is less strenuous than 1, but it will probably take a lot longer. The last time I did Birch Hollow we had good HC 4wd vehicles, but only two and we couldn't fit everyone in the one we left at the lower Orderville TH so the fast hikers took WWH exit and the others hiked to the shuttle vehicle and the fast hikers beat the shuttle vehicle back to the Birch TH (only by 2 min, but we did beat them). The time setting up the shuttle for #3 plus the extra distance hiked means that even with slower hikers it would still probably be faster to just go with 1.
    ratagonia likes this.
  3. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    I agree. And I also think that the WWH exit is the fastest overall. Although, if I was guiding it with clients or not-hearty friends and resources available, we would walk up to the cul de sac. But in general, not spotting a car saves SO MUCH time.

    Tom (J)
  4. Scott Patterson

    Scott Patterson

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    Tom, when is the 2nd edition of your guidebook coming out?
    Pictish likes this.
  5. ratagonia

    ratagonia

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    Next spring. March 2018. For sure.

    T
  6. Yellow Dart

    Yellow Dart It's only hubris if I fail.

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    After spotting a vehicle at lower Orderville, and parking back up at Gifford Ranch, a group of 6 (3 noobs) were car-to-car through Englestead in just under 4 hours. Were in no particular hurry, and it was mid-July, midday, meaning it was hot and thus we weren't steam-machining the hike out.

    4 hours is a pretty short day; like a Pipe Springs. Short enough that I may never do Birch again, knowing that Englestead is right there. Permits and guiding and stuff, I get it. Just not for me.
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