Hiker: Tiff Maple - Water Level 3636
June 2012 -
The Waterpocket Fold in Halls Bay boasts some beautiful and challenging terrain. There are three natural bridges, all up in various drainages that come off the Fold. One of them is the Baker Ranch Bridge. This is named for the historical Baker Ranch, which existed at the head of Halls Bay well before Lake Powell. Depending on where the water level is, you will want to boat into the back of Halls Bay as far as you can go. On the day of this hike, June 8, 2012, the water level was at 3636.57. You will see many dead cottonwood trees, and some will have Great Blue Heron nests in them. It will be shallow with tamarisks that will be quite thick. Park on the left bank, or south side of the bay. You will want to hike on shore and head north. You'll have to bushwhack through tamarisks and cactus. There will be several drainages that you will have to cross. There are two large ones and a few smaller ones. Soon you'll come to a large sandstone "monolith". You will pass on the left side of the monolith, DON'T cross the drainage. Stay on the left bank and head left up the Fold.
Soon enough, you will come to what appears to be an opening, but it's really just a cave:
Stay on the left side, and continue on up the rim beyond the "cave." Now get on the right side of the drainage, which you can do on top of the cave. The slick rock is manageable, but you'll need to wear shoes with good traction and friction. Soon you'll see the arch in the distance.
In the drainage is a 15-foot pour-off. You can stay on the right side of the drainage and go up and around it. Here is a view of the bridge from the top of the pour-off.
You can get back down into the drainage by finding these small footholds in the slick rock. This will put you at the top of the pour-off:
If you look up the rock from where you are at the top of the pour-off in the drainage, you can also come down to the drainage from further up. This route is smooth and steep, so be careful if you choose this route.
Finally, walk up the left side of the drainage to get up under the bridge. The rock has good friction, but go slow and be careful.
To get directly under the bridge, the slick rock is indeed slick from years of water running over it. You may need help getting up, and then back down. Or plan to slide back down. Here's the view looking back toward Halls Bay. If the lake were full, the tamarisk flat in the background would have water in it.
There are many "waterpockets" that will still have water in them. Some are quite deep. Don't fall in! (Unless someone has a rope to get you out!)
When leaving the bridge, stay on the right side of the drainage doing down. The rock has good traction, but take your time.
Finally, when hiking out, walk out the drainage. When you get to the pour-off, scramble back up the footholds in the slick rock to the left.
Then back to your waiting boat, head south. You"ll have to cross various drainages again.