Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

Old Apr 4th, 2017, 07:15 PM
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Bears Ears National Monument, Utah

Has anyone been here? I just watched this a short Patagonia video about it and it looks amazing:
http://bearsears.patagonia.com/
Made me curious, so I found this site
https://www.visitutah.com/places-to-...onal-monument/
It said, "Don’t expect the same level of infrastructure as Arches, Canyonlands or Zion national parks. Much of the land in Bears Ears National Monument is rugged, wild and remote, requiring greater preparation, fitness and respect on the part of the visitor." So is there no easy access, or relatively easy trails?
It also said it's a 75-minute drive from Moab, which doesn't seem too bad.
I've been to Arches, Canyonlands, Zion, Bryce. Loved them. How would Bears Ears compare?
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Old Apr 4th, 2017, 09:45 PM
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Bears Ears is a lesser known hiking area that attracts locals from SW Colorado and SE Utah. It was designated a National Monument last fall to protect the area from exploitation. It is not a National Park like the other areas that you mentioned and does not have lodges, motels, shuttles and the other things that have become commonplace in National Parks
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Old Apr 4th, 2017, 09:57 PM
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It is next to Bridges National Monument
As bailer notes. It is a hiking area. I've been there wandering, but not hiking. Hiking the bridges is very interesting if you hike at the canyon bottom - not the rim. Insure you visit Horseshoe ruin.

Bear Mountain profile resembles the ears of a bear created by two buttes. One ear is at 8,930-feet (2,717 m) while the other at 9,058-feet (2,756 m). They can be seen from Monument Valley in northern Arizona.

It was made a National Monument by urging of local Indian tribes to protect their sacred site as explained below.
One of the more popular Navajo stories is that of Changing-Bear-Maiden, who was very beautiful and desired by many men. She would have nothing to do with them. However, Coyote (Áłtsé hashké (Coyote looks like a coyote in animal form, but he looks like a man with a mustache in human form), the trickster, persuaded Changing-Bear-Maiden to marry him in spite of her brothers’ warning that the union would bring evil.
She began to change and by winter’s end her transformation into a mischievous bear was complete. Realizing that the only way to save her was to change her into another form, her brothers killed Changing-Bear-Maiden, cutting off her ears and throwing them away. They became the buttes seen today.

Vaga
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Old Apr 5th, 2017, 07:49 PM
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Thanks for your responses, bailey123 and RVvagabond. I get why it's called 'bears ears" now and appreciated hearing about the ancestral story tied to the landscape ("Changing-Bear-Maiden"). It sounds like one of those special places where locals go, that's off the tourist radar. That it surrounds Bridges National Monument makes it more attractive. But it does sounds like it requires a lot of planning to get there, and that one must be fairly self-sufficient as the area is so large and rugged. I read more about it this morning, that there are no camp grounds (or even water). But 100,000 archaeological sites and that stunning landscape! The cliff paintings and petroglyphs are particularly impressive. It amazes that it was only designated a national monument last year. I hope it continues to be protected from exploitation.
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Old Apr 6th, 2017, 07:29 PM
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No planning is required. Spend more time on 'doing' than planning. The road is paved and easy to drive.

There are two campgrounds at Bridges one of which is open all year. They have water of limited quantity per day, but sufficient for normal camping.

At the junction of roads 95 and 261, just before Bridges, is a large open area for dry camping. Anywhere south on 261 is BLM where camping at-large is allowed at previously used CGs.

Grand Gulch is a 'bucket list', but I'll probably never do that hike as it is for the younger generation with strong knees. THIS is the best, and only, map of that canyon ;
Trails Illustrated Grand Gulch Plateau # 706
Browser search: Youtube Grand Gulch. Do the hike now while knees are still cooperative.

Vaga
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Old Apr 6th, 2017, 08:00 PM
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Good to know, RVvagabond, thanks. And about Bridges NM as well. I'm building up my knowledge bank on the region.

Yes, strong knees, I remember those! In my 60s now, and living in New Zealand so a trip to the Southwest does take planning for me. Ironically when I lived and worked in New Mexico for a year (back in the times of really "strong knees"), I was working all the time, and didn't have much time to get out and about, except on my few days off.
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Old Apr 6th, 2017, 09:26 PM
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The Bridges I'm referring is in Utah.
https://www.nps.gov/nabr/index.htm

New Zealand.
Been to the south island, but not the north

Vaga
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Old Apr 7th, 2017, 04:56 AM
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Vaga, I knew what you meant, Bridges National Monument in Utah, which seems to be surrounded by Bears Ears. I meant it was much easier to explore Utah's natural beauty when I lived in New Mexico (as opposed to New Zealand), but I never had much free time. Now I have more free time, but I'm far away, and not nearly as young or fit.

You visited the best part of New Zealand, in my humble opinion. I hope you enjoyed it.
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Old Apr 7th, 2017, 05:03 AM
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I looked at a link for Grand Gulch. It sounds like it's home to some amazing Anasazi rock art, but it looks too rugged for me. I hope you get to tick it off your bucket list.
https://utah.com/grand-gulch
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Old Apr 9th, 2017, 03:19 PM
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Search my user name for a trip report on Bluff, Utah. There are some short, easy hikes near there--Butler Wash has many sites within a mile of a dirt road. Blanding, Utah has a great museum on the area. Natural Bridges National Monument is part of the Bears Ears. The top of Cedar Mesa has amazing hiking--all rugged and remote. I have backpacked and hiked this area extensively for 20+ years. It is truly unique. Try searching for BLM Kane Gulch Ranger station--check out the newsletter they print. It has lots of great info.
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Old Apr 15th, 2017, 06:14 AM
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If you want to check out Bears Ears but concerned about logistics, you might want to check out O.A.R.S rafting company, they are now running rafting and hiking trips @ Bears Ears. It's all inclusive and reasonably priced 3 or 6 day trips
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Old Apr 16th, 2017, 08:51 AM
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If you want an excellent hiking guide for the region, check out Vaughn at
http://faroutexpeditions.net

I backpacked through Slickhorn Canyon with him and saw things I never would have noticed had I gone by myself.
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