Sunday, June 1, 2014

Third Left Hand in Late Spring (Monroe, Utah)

Monrovian Park has been a family favorite for years. My children have played in the stream, been to cookouts, and had pictures taken here many times over the years. 

When Sierra's boyfriend mentioned he would like to hike while visiting Utah for the first time, I decided if we headed east up Monroe Mountain, we wouldn't have to drive very far at all to escape the heat of the valley, and enjoy a beautiful canyon. It was 79 degrees when we drove through Monroe, and the temperature was a refreshing ten degrees cooler up the canyon.

To reach Monrovian Park, head south on Main Street in Monroe, Utah until the blacktop road curves left on Forest Road 78, heading up a long hill. The narrow road winds through the Fishlake National Forest less than 3 miles. You will pass "First Left Hand" before the creek crosses the road. A little further on, turn left just before the bridge that crosses Monroe Creek.  (Latitude: 38.594698   Longitude:-112.076671)

"On a scale of 1-10, how much of a flipflop trail is this going to be?" asked my 24-year-old daughter before we left. 

"If 10 is 'flipflop' perfect, I'd say about a four," I told her. She wisely chose her training shoes over flipflops, deciding if we had to get wet, she'd just slip her shoes off to cross the creek. Dylan later chided my flipflop rating. I'd forgotten how the rockslides have moved toward the creek. This hike can easily be done in lightweight hiking shoes or runners, but it is definitely not a flipflop trail.

We brought my tripod for family pictures, and spent a short time with the camera before we set off on our hike. The last time I'd been hiking here was my first time up Third Left Hand. Things were a little different this trip.

Monroe is a sleepy, little town, full of well-maintained homes, with nice yards. The rural town is reminiscent of Mayberry, with friendly neighbors. One thing you don't see is graffiti. Until you hike around Monrovian.

"I see the crime rate's increasing," Dylan remarked as we hiked past the shed. We took a few more pictures and headed on our way.

Picture taken February 2014

After parking our vehicles by the restrooms in the upper parking lot, we set off on the right side of the stream, passing the bridge, which we later learned would have been a good idea to take. Second Lefthand helps you avoid a water crossing, but we're all about adventure, so we were okay with starting the hike with a river crossing. 

Some of us plowed through the flowing water with shoes, some preferred removing shoes to enjoy dry feet for the rest of the hike. The water was cold, as you can see from Sierra's face. 

Dylan made his own cairn from the rocks sitting on the ledge. Many before us have done the same. After crossing Monroe Creek via a big log, we discovered the modern day petroglyphs that adorn the Graffiti Wall my friend Noelle had told me about when we hiked Third Left Hand in February. We enjoyed the shady spot, and spent a little time posing for pictures, and investigating the area.
The primitive lean-to comes complete with camp chairs.

When Dylan discovered this lid hanging on a tree, he said, "Ooh. Satan. This place is evil. We better get out of here." He's always providing witty repartée for our enjoyment.

Before we returned to the more obvious trail, we pushed through tree branches, and low-growing vegetation. "We'll be bushwhacking our own way out of here," I announced. There were snickers from the kids.

"I don't think bushwhacking means what you think it means," Dylan smiled. My kids love it when I use old-fashioned words with double entendres, knowing that I am unfamiliar with their new usages, explained later to me in the Urban Dictionary. You'll have to look that one up yourself, if you're curious.

"I don't think I mean what you think I mean. Let me rephrase; 'We will have to BLAZE OUR OWN TRAIL."

We had to cross the river once more, using a log with a primitive handrail someone lashed together utilizing a tall, skinny tree. Sierra re-enacted one of her favorite scenes from Dirty Dancing for us before we proceeded up the rock slide.

After we'd hiked a little over a mile and a half, there was a scream from the front of our line, and Dylan and Jamie rushed toward us from around the bend. "RATTLESNAKE!" I heard Dylan yell.

Everyone ran down the hill, and when we regrouped, we talked about whether we wanted to press on, or if we'd gone far enough.

"Was he sunning himself on a rock?" I wanted to know.

"He was sunning himself in Jamie's next footstep," Dylan answered. 

The snake had helped us decide; we were ready to call it a day. We headed back down the mountain, avoiding the first stream crossing by finishing our hike on the Second Left Hand Trail. We took a few more pictures at the bridge, and headed for home.

According to Runkeeper, we climbed 1906 feet in elevation, hiked 3.52 miles in an hour and 23 minutes. We could have increased our pace, but this trip was about enjoying the scenery, and spending time together. This is a good family trail, and suitable for children. Just don't wear flipflops!

For a good time, call...

Happy Anniversary to these two! Two years today.

Bridger likes to get creative with my camera, too.

Dylan's TRAIL BLAZING injury.


A new twist on posing for pics at the bridge.


  1. Oooooh, I'd love every bit of this. Except the snake. Thanks for taking us along!

    1. Deb, I have a guest room waiting for you, if you ever get this way.

  2. Wonderful to get to join your adventure and get to know your kids in the process.

    1. They are great kids! Thanks, Linda.

  3. Thanks for the hike ... what a fun time!

    1. Hike vicariously with us, any time!

  4. I love the, "for a good time call" photo. You should make that your dating profile photo.

    1. Thanks, Angie. I'll take that on advisement! ;-)


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